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Gold Humanism Honor Society

The University of Massachusetts medical school was granted a chapter of the Gold Humanism Honor Society (GHHS) in 2014.  Election to GHHS is an honor in medical schools. Although the framework is analogous to other honor organizations such as Phi Beta Kappa and Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA), election to GHHS is based on recognition of one’s humanism rather than academic performance or scholastic achievement.

Unlike other honors given out by the school at the time of graduation, election to GHHS is accomplished at the beginning of 4th year (i.e. Advanced Studies Year). This timing allows the GHHS Chapter sufficient time to design and complete projects focused on humanism during their senior year. This schedule also allows for a student’s election to GHHS to receive mention in the Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE), which is used to evaluate graduating medical students applying for residency programs.

A. Student Membership
Near the end of their CCE year, students in the third-year class are asked to fill out a form nominating up to 12 of their classmates based on very humanism for consideration of selection to the GHHS. In addition to voting, students may submit supplemental narratives explaining why a classmate is particularly deserving of this honor. The top 25% of those students nominated by their peers are then advanced to the next stage of the selection process. A list of the names of the top 25% of nominated students is forwarded to the clerkship directors and learning community mentors who are invited to submit narrative comments on any of the students under consideration.  The top 25% of nominated students are provided with the opportunity to submit an application, including their curriculum vitae (or, a listing of their community service in extracurricular activities) as well as a brief essay explaining how they would like to promote humanism at UMMS. Next, an ad hoc selection committee is formed, the membership of which is drawn from GHHS students/residents/faculty, clerkship directors, and deans. The selection committee reviews the application materials and then votes on each nominated student so as to ultimately select a total of no more than 15% of the class for membership to GHHS.

B. Resident Membership
Once the new student chapter is formed, the students are asked to nominate and subsequently elect up to 6 residents who they esteem as exemplars of humanism.

C. Faculty Membership
Faculty may be elected to GHHS by one of the following processes. Once the new student chapter is formed, the students are asked to nominate and subsequently elect one faculty member who they esteem as exemplar of humanism. In addition, the faculty member who is selected annually to receive the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award is also inducted into GHHS. Finally, if a faculty member is chosen to serve as GHHS chapter advisor, they will also inducted into GHHS.

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