A prestigious national student organization has established a new chapter at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

Twenty-five members of the Keck School’s class of 2017 were inducted into the Gold Humanism Honor Society (GHHS) on Sept. 7 in Aresty Auditorium on the Health Sciences Campus. The GHHS is well-known for recognizing individuals who excel at providing humanistic patient care with the goal of encouraging compassion, empathy, respect and other important qualities among medical students and doctors.

Henri Ford, MD, MHA, vice dean for medical education at the Keck School, welcomed attendees to the event and spoke about the importance of humanism in medicine today.

“We live in a global environment and each one of us can contribute to making the world a better place to live,” he said. “That is humanism.”

He went on to say, “Humanism, the relentless pursuit of excellence and teamwork, are the essential building blocks for reaching our ultimate goal in life: to achieve significance by making a difference in the lives of others locally and globally.”

The Arnold P. Gold Foundation, sponsors and administrators of the society, have a long history of fostering humanistic practices in the medical field. A generous grant from the foundation has made the GHHS chapter at the Keck School possible.

Sajjad Yacoob, MD, assistant dean for student affairs and chapter adviser of the medical school’s chapter of the GHHS, also spoke, explaining that the inductees would be responsible during this school year for creating a project that will be their legacy, as it will be continued by future members of the GHHS at the Keck School.

The keynote speaker at the ceremony was Jo Marie Reilly, MD, associate professor of clinical family medicine, who received the 2016 Humanism in Medicine Award from the society. She advised students, “Dig deep for empathy and compassion. It’s hard to do when we are working long hours. But if we don’t, we become angry, bitter and jaded at the work we do. We forget why we’re called to do it.”

Donna Elliott, MD, EdD, senior associate dean for student and educational affairs, joined Yacoob in distributing pins and certificates to the new members of the society. After the inductees were presented, Ford led them in the oath of the society, which concludes with the words, “I will dedicate myself to joining others to make health care optimal for all.”

— Amanda Busick