Two Members of UA Community Honored by Gold Foundation

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Two individuals from the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson received the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Awards on Thursday, May 10, at the senior breakfast.

Faculty member Dr. Carlos Gonzales and Natasha Bhuyan, a fourth-year medical student, were nominated and selected by members of the Class of 2012 to receive this accolade. The Arnold P. Gold Foundation allocates the award, “to the student and faculty member who best demonstrate the Foundation's ideals of outstanding compassion in the delivery of care, respect for patients, their families, and healthcare colleagues, as well as demonstrated clinical excellence.”

The Gold Foundation has been distributing this honor since 1991, and the criteria for nomination requires the highest caliber of character.

Dr. Gonzales is not only an associate professor of clinical family and community medicine at the Tucson campus, but also is an alumnus. Since 2008, he has served as a Societies Program mentor, which allows him to teach students the fundamentals of being a professional, caring physician.

“I’m just proud to receive the award. On top of that, it is proof to me that our college is able to produce good, quality doctors,” he said. “I think that’s an important emphasis that sometimes our students need to see.” 

As a member of the UA College of Medicine’s Class of 1981, he said his involvement with the Societies Program is one of his favorite ways to give back to the medical school.

“I reflect on my own personal mentors, Ron Pust and others that have gone, such as Steve Spencer and George Comerci Sr. They taught me how to approach, talk to and examine patients and how to be caring,” he said. 

Dr. Gonzales said he tries to approach teaching and mentoring in the same way.

“My hope is that we continue this mentorship program forever because I think it’s doing a lot of good. As part of my clerkship, I’m in charge of the rural Arizona programs in family medicine. Consistently what I see is that when our students are compared to other students, they are superior in terms of their ability to do physical exams and how to interact with patients because we’ve started early,” he said. “We emphasize the appropriate care of people who are sick. To me, that’s proof that we are doing something right and proof that the mentorship program is really working well. My hope is that we continue it and improve upon it. One of the most important things that we can do is produce quality doctors.”

Click here to read more about Dr. Gonzales and his many accomplishments.

Bhuyan also was nominated for the student award by her fourth-year peers. The 26-year-old Phoenix native said she thinks she was recommended because of her constant and diverse involvement at the UA College of Medicine. 

“I was really flattered and humbled to find out that I was selected for this award. It’s a huge honor,” she said. “They choose based on people who really care for their patients, who really demonstrate humanism in medicine. I think the activities and community service I’ve been involved in really show that.”

Bhuyan’s contributions to the College of Medicine are apparent. She’s been a part of numerous campus clubs and organizations. In February, she helped to organize the UA Gold Humanism Honor Society’s Solidarity Day for Compassionate Patient Care. When reflecting upon all of her participation, she said her favorite memory at the college was when she helped advocate for marriage equality. 

“Another girl and I organized the ‘NO H8’ campaign for marriage equality. It mirrored a national campaign, so what we did was we got a photographer and we had students wear white and write, ‘no hate’ on their cheeks,” she said. “Then they came to the College of Medicine and we took a bunch of pictures of them doing random things, and then we posted it up in the student lounge.”

The movement was in support of gay marriage.

“There have been a lot of studies that show that marriage equality does affect people’s health. It was nice because there were students from every class, faculty and staff that came. When we put up the pictures and quotes in the student lounge, I think it showed this unity that some people never realized we had in our college.”

A few days after Bhuyan receives this award, she will graduate from the UA College of Medicine and prepare for her residency in family medicine at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center in Phoenix. 

Click here to read more about the fourth-year student’s involvement accomplishments.