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Tow Humanism in Medicine Award

Kenneth Kahn, MD

Kenneth Kahn, MD, 2010 Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award recipient, with Dean Michael E. Cain, MD.

Published August 24, 2010

Kenneth Kahn, MD, clinical associate professor of obstetrics/gynecology, was presented the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award at this year’s White Coat Ceremony.

The award, sponsored by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation, is presented annually to a faculty member who best demonstrates the foundation’s ideals of outstanding compassion in the delivery of care, respect for the patient, their families, and health-care colleagues, as well as demonstrated clinical excellence. Selection is determined by student nominations.

The following is an excerpt from a statement submitted in support of Kahn:

“Dr. Kahn is one of the reasons I chose to enter the field of Obstetrics and Gynecology. I first met him as a freshman when I was looking to start a “Women’s Health Interest Group” in our medical school. I emailed several clinicians in our community, hoping to find a mentor for our small group, but given the demanding nature of OB/GYN, I received only two responses. The first was from Dr. Kahn, offering to be our mentor. The second was from one of Dr. Kahn’s colleagues who wrote: ‘I would love to mentor medical students, but I cannot find the time. If I were you, I would email Dr. Kahn, as he was my mentor and is always willing to teach.’

“As our group’s mentor, Dr. Kahn drove to the medical school during his lunch hour to lecture, allowed first- and second-year students to participate in labor and delivery during his call nights and invited students to his home to discuss articles on OB/GYN research.

“He had an open-door policy for his office and was such a wonderful mentor that he became known as the “go-to” man among my classmates if anyone had difficulties (OB/GYN related or not) in medical school.

“He is not only loved by the students, but by his colleagues as well. On several occasions, when his name came up, I distinctly remember sensing the tremendous amount of respect that his colleagues held for him.

“But what is most impressive about Dr. Kahn is his ability to connect with patients. Perhaps his secret is that he is such an avid listener, and anyone who has ever seen him interview a patient will attest to this.

“If I had to take away just one lesson from Dr. Kahn, it would be to treat the person, not the disease. . . . I have often found myself in a situation with a patient that I have resolved by asking myself ‘How would Dr. Kahn respond?’ To me, that is the definition of a role model.”