Gold Humanism Honor Society EstablishedJuly 1, 2020
The executive board of the Gold Humanism Honor Society includes (clockwise from top
left) Kathleen Bridges (DO ’21), secretary; Annie Phung (DO ’21), vice president; Samir
Sarda (DO ’21), treasurer; and Akila Raja, (DO ’21), president.
A chapter of a nationally recognized society, the Gold Humanism Honor Society, was
recently established at PCOM Georgia. The society is a merit-based honor society which focuses on humanism and compassion
in medicine and recognizes students who prioritize patient care and advocacy.
Founding student Akila Raja (DO ’21), said, “I am personally very excited to see the
Gold Humanism Honor Society come to PCOM Georgia. (Establishing the society) took
a lot of work and collaboration with many individuals at PCOM and I am glad we were
all able to come together for this cause.”
Membership in the society is selective. Fellow class members nominate third year Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) students based on established criteria. Some of the criteria classmates consider
includes: the classmates they would like at their side in a medical emergency; the
classmates who best personify the quote “The secret of good patient care lies in caring
for the patient;” the classmates who have shown exceptional interest in service to
their communities; the classmates who would be the best choices for a highly desired
residency keeping in mind that residencies for future graduates will depend on their
performance; the classmates you would want as the doctor for yourself or a loved one;
and the classmates who have the best listening skills with patients.
Nominees then complete an application and chapter advisors, Ali Moradi, MD, MPH, DrPH,
assistant dean of clinical integration and director of primary care skills, and J. Renee Himmelbaum, DO ’13, clinical assistant professor of pediatrics, evaluate the applications and select
Dr. Himmelbaum explained that the society is one of only three honor societies available
to check off on the Electronic Residency Application Service®, the centralized online
service used to deliver applications and supporting documents to residency programs.
In addition, it is the only honor society not based solely on academic merit.
“It is very important that PCOM Georgia students have the opportunity to be a part
of it,” she said. “It will certainly help them in their future when applying for a
Dr. Moradi and Dr. Himmelbaum both congratulated Raja on her efforts. “I’m so proud
of Akila for the hard work it took to bring this to her class and those to come,”
Dr. Himmelbaum said. “I congratulate Akila on establishing such a great chapter,”
said Dr. Moradi.
He explained that humanism in medicine requires a combination of acquiring scientific
knowledge while learning skills of respectfulness, compassionate care, and recognition
of individual values and culture. Dr. Moradi said, “Academic medicine is striving
to build an environment that fosters strong and dedicated physicians who exhibit care
in our healthcare systems.”
“The practice of medicine, especially in today’s world, needs diverse, well-rounded
care providers who possess the great arts of listening, compassion and respect. Providing
humanistic value and connection with diverse patients is now more vital than ever,”
Dr. Moradi said.
Raja feels that humanism in medicine is difficult to practice. “In our day-to-day
lives, physicians are challenged to think quickly and remain stoic,” she said. “I
believe that compassion towards peers and patients makes for extraordinary physicians
The following students will be inducted in a May 2021 ceremony:
Akila Raja, (DO ’21), Alexandra Himes (DO ’21), Annie Phung (DO ’21), Dylan Krause
(DO ’21), Hunter Lively (DO ’21), Josh Hamilton (DO ’21), Kathleen Bridges (DO ’21),
Kayla Thomas (DO ’21), Kevin Lehane (DO ’21), Lauren Chew (DO ’21), Margeaux LaCavera
(DO ’21), Morgan Fuller (DO ’21), Patricia Lin (DO ’21), Robert Snyder (DO ’21), Samir
Sarda (DO ’21), Shelby Comeaux (DO ’21), Varun Yarabarla (DO ’21), Zachary Owens (DO
’21) and Zachary McConnell (DO ’21).
The executive board includes student doctors Raja, president; Phung, vice president;
Sarda, treasurer; and Bridges, secretary.
With more than 35,000 medical students and physicians as members, the society has
more than 160 chapters in medical schools and residency programs across the country,
according to the society.
“The Gold Humanism Honor Society is truly an additional opportunity to further enrich
our program,” Dr. Moradi said.
Raja said, “I look forward to working closely with the inaugural chapter and hope
to educate underclassmen on the importance of humanism, particularly in medicine.”
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About PCOM Georgia
Established in 2005, PCOM Georgia is a private, not-for-profit, accredited institute of higher education dedicated
to the healthcare professions. The Suwanee, Georgia, campus is affiliated with Philadelphia
College of Osteopathic Medicine, a premier osteopathic medical school with a storied
history. PCOM Georgia offers doctoral degrees in osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, and
physical therapy and graduate degrees in biomedical sciences, medical laboratory science,
and physician assistant studies. Emphasizing "a whole person approach to care," PCOM
Georgia focuses on educational excellence, interprofessional education and service
to the wider community. For more information, visit pcom.edu/georgia or call 678-225-7500. The campus is also home to the Georgia Osteopathic Care Center,
an osteopathic manipulative medicine clinic, which is open to the public by appointment.
For more information, visit pcomgeorgiahealth.org.
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