The Gold Humanism Honor Society (GHHS) is a national organization honoring medical students. The Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) GHHS chapter, established in 2007 and rooted in service and dedication to caring for others, recently received an exemplary rating from the national board for service in the community.
This award honors the medical students’ hard work and devotion to their community through leadership, professionalism and humanism. Elisabeth Conser, M.D., director of the TTUHSC GHHS chapter, is proud of these medical students and their achievements.
“The Gold Humanism Honor Society is an honor society that recognizes senior medical students, resident physicians and role model physicians who help demonstrate excellence in clinical care, professionalism, leadership and dedication to service,” Conser said. “GHHS was founded on those principles to elevate humanism and professionalism within medicine and our chapter has done a really good job with that.”
Senior medical students are eligible for the local GHHS chapter. The prestigious organization is made up of no more than 15% of the class. Students who show dedication to their community, public and institution are peer-nominated for further consideration to be inducted.
“We are very proud of our medical students’ commitment to service,” said Steven Berk, M.D., TTUHSC executive president and dean of the School of Medicine. “Many of the GHHS students have also volunteered in the Free Clinic, the Barbershop Hypertension Program, served as Dean’s Ambassadors and have supported fundraising efforts such as Lubbock City Lights.”
Conser said these students go above and beyond their service hours to their communities.
“They go the extra mile for their patients, being extra compassionate and kind, really caring about their communities.”
The TTUHSC GHHS program participates in local and national service projects throughout the year. One such project is the Tell Me More project. The project focuses on engaging with patients in the hospital setting and asking them questions about themselves. With consent, these questions help reveal the person behind the patient.
Each patient participating in the project creates a poster. As a result, the entire health care team gets to know the person behind the patient. Instead of an older man with heart failure in room 205, it becomes a grandfather who loves to do woodworking and fish with his grandkids.
The main goal of the Tell Me More project is to provide exceptional care to each person. Health care workers might fall into a routine which dehumanizes patients, but these students do the opposite. They go above and beyond to see the person behind the patient.
“Every year our students participate in Solidarity Week and it’s been really great to see how they respond. It offers a lot of encouragement to the patients because they feel like their health care team sees them beyond what they’re being treated for. It really helps create a fun atmosphere for the patients when they are talking and sharing,” Conser said.
Locally, TTUHSC GHHS participates in a local project called the Fourth Year Toiletry Drive. As senior medical students prepare for their next job in a residency training program, they are often traveling for interviews. Aligning with the chapter’s principles of service and leadership, students bring back their unused hotel toiletries and donate to local nonprofits like Lubbock Impact. Conser said the drive is a great opportunity to help not only get those members of the TTUHSC chapter involved but also open it to all medical students who were able to donate.
GHHS students pour into service activities and other opportunities throughout their medical careers to understand what it means to be a leader. The national organization encourages others by recognizing the value in service and places a high standard in recognition of what they are doing.
“I really see this honor being for the students because they are the ones who are the heart and soul of this organization. It’s affirming and helps them recognize that what they are doing is making a difference,” Conser said. “The hope is that it increases the awareness of service and helping others.”
TTUHSC GHHS students embody what it means to be a leader, a professional and a compassionate healthcare worker by placing their patients' needs first and treating them as the unique person they are.
“Our students are so eager to get out and serve our community and our institution and I think that they’ve done such a good job of setting an example for everyone in medicine to follow their lead and look to help their fellow man, to help their patients, to help those in the community, to help those right here at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center,” Conser said.