Gold Humanism Honor Society Established | PCOM Georgia News
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Gold Humanism Honor Society Established

July 1, 2020

A photo of the Gold Humanisim Honor Society officersThe 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 the members.

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 residency.”

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 and advocates.” 

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.

Composite image of headshot photos of PCOM Georgia medical students inducted into the Gold Humanism Honor Society

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 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

    For more information, contact:
    Barbara Myers
    Senior Public Relations Manager
    Office: 678-225-7532 | Cell: 770-309-0613

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