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Marshall and WVU schools of medicine team up to host Gold Educational Summit

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – In an effort to educate health professions students about the importance of compassionate care in medicine, the Marshall University and West Virginia University schools of medicine today hosted the inaugural Gold Humanism Educational Summit at the Cultural Center in Charleston.

The event kicked off a week-long observance of Gold Humanism Week recognized by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin in a proclamation issued at the State Capitol prior to the summit.

The event organizers say the educational summit allows medical, nursing, physical therapy and pharmacy students to learn the essentials of delivering compassionate and patient-centered care from practicing health professionals. For a complete listing of topics and speakers, please visit the event site at

20140210 Gold Humanism“Studies show that patients heal quickly when health care providers take time to know them,” said Darshana Shah, Ph.D., associate dean, Marshall Office of Faculty Affairs  and Professional Development, professor and academic section chief for the department of pathology and founding faculty advisor to the Gold Humanism Honor Society (GHHS) chapter at Marshall. “Keeping the balance between scientific knowledge and humanistic attitude is the key to providing quality care. This summit is intended to inspire participants and remind them of the value of humanism, while encouraging them to continue its promotion.”

“Our chapter was established in 2008 to recognize members of our learning community who are exemplars of humanistic qualities in rendering care for patients,” said Norman D. Ferrari III, M.D., vice dean for education and academic affairs, professor and chair of the WVU Department of Medical Education, and founding faculty member of the GHHS chapter at WVU. “We are most pleased to partner with our colleagues from Marshall University this year in having a statewide celebration and educational conference showcasing the ideals of the Gold Foundation and its support of humanism in medicine.”

Medical students at WVU and Marshall are selected for inclusion in GHHS based on practicing patient-centered medical care by modeling the qualities of integrity, excellence, compassion, altruism, respect and empathy. Medical residents, faculty, and administrators may also be recognized.

Rebecca “Becca” Hayes, a 4th-year medical student at Marshall and president of the Marshall chapter of the GHHS, said the event, funded by a Gold Foundation grant awarded to Marshall University, is a very beneficial interaction.

“I’m grateful to the Gold Foundation for its funding because without it this event wouldn’t have been possible,” she said.  “This conference allows our physician mentors a chance to step away from the usual teachings of diseases and treatments and into an environment where they can share their personal experiences on the importance of selflessness, respect and compassion in the practice of medicine.”

"My main vision for the Gold Humanism Educational Summit was to unite health care professionals across the state to recognize the importance of compassion when caring for patients,” said Kari Geronilla, MD candidate in the WVU School of Medicine Class of 2014 and Liaison for the WVU Chapter of the Gold Humanism Honor Society. “I wanted a session that can demonstrate how West Virginia’s health care providers value the connection with their patients and stories, because that is what can continually motivate us in our careers. At its essence, medicine is simply one human being caring for another. Because medicine is both a science and an art, to be effective health care professionals we have to not only practice cutting-edge medicine but also utilize skills of communication, empathy and compassion."

GHHS is an international initiative of The Arnold P. Gold Foundation, which works to improve healing and health care outcomes by restoring the balance between the cutting-edge science of medicine and compassionate, patient-centered care.

Date Posted: Monday, February 10, 2014