UB Honors 46 ‘Model’ Physicians, Trainees for Humanism, Excellence

Published May 1, 2015 This content is archived.

story by suzanne kashuba

The University at Buffalo welcomed 46 exemplary medical students, residents, fellows and faculty members into its Richard Sarkin Medical Emeritus Faculty Chapter of the Gold Humanism Honor Society.


All honorees — medical trainees and physician-teachers at various stages of their careers — have demonstrated excellence in humanistic clinical care and dedication to the medical profession.

The society is a program of the Arnold P. Gold Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that strives to elevate the values of humanism and professionalism in medicine worldwide.

22 Residents and Fellows Inducted

UB’s more than 800 residents and fellows may nominate their peers for induction into a branch of the UB chapter — one of only 15 graduate medical education sections affiliated with the society.

Each inductee is eligible to receive a small grant for a creative project to infuse and support humanism in training programs and hospitals.

Branch co-advisers Colleen Nugent, MD ’09, a fellow in the pediatric gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition program, and Daniel W. Sheehan, PhD ’89, MD, associate dean for medical curriculum, hailed the inductees as “role models.”

They led the induction of the following residents and fellows:

19 Medical Students Honored

Chapter adviser David A. Milling, MD ’93, senior associate dean for student and academic affairs, led the induction of the following third-year medical students, who make up about 12 percent of the Class of 2016:

  • Sarah Belliotti
  • Chelsey Ciambella
  • Michael Dibianco
  • Patrick Donohue
  • Steven Gangloff
  • Laure Jepson
  • Vincent “Reed” Lasala
  • David Lloyd
  • Ebrahim Mirakhor
  • Emilie O’Neill
  • Nicholas Palladino
  • Nora Proops
  • Sarah Riley
  • James Shea
  • Michele Smith
  • William Stendardi
  • Anna Waller
  • Kathleen Wood
  • Becky Zhao

5 Faculty Members Join Honor Society

Sheehan and Leonard Katz, MD, professor emeritus of medicine, led the induction of the following faculty members, all UB medical school alumni:

Special Humanitarian Awards Honor Scirto, Horstman

Scirto also was recognized as the winner of the 2014 Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award. Medical students nominate outstanding role models for this award, which is presented during UB’s White Coat ceremony

Scirto serves as the main faculty adviser to the Lighthouse Free Medical Clinic on Buffalo’s East Side, a drop-in center founded and run by UB medical students.

He is a family physician at the Jericho Road Community Health Center, a training site for some UB medical students and family medicine residents. The center provides comprehensive services to patients in medically underserved communities in Buffalo, including areas where many refugees settle.

Fourth-year medical student Erin Horstman, a 2014 inductee, received the Dr. Howard R. Goldstein ’74 Memorial Humanitarian Scholarship.

Those who nominated Horstman describe her as an “advocate who is comfortable spending time with her patients to explain difficult concepts and calm anxieties.”

“Erin also is passionate about promoting medical student resilience, especially among first-year students,” says Milling. 

She will pursue her residency in general surgery at UB, where she plans to remain involved in the society as a resident member.

The award commemorates Goldstein’s humanitarian spirit and contributions to medicine.

Induction Ceremony Held at Saturn Club

The 2015 induction ceremony took place April 16 at the Saturn Club in Buffalo.

Silvestri, the faculty speaker, delivered the address “Humanism in Medicine.”

Katz, who founded the UB chapter in 2005, opened the ceremony. He and Horstman shared chapter highlights.

Milling and chapter adviser Marcia Sarkin led inductees and members in reciting the Gold Humanism Honor Society oath.

The chapter is named in memory of Richard T. Sarkin, MD, EdM ’98, a former associate professor of clinical pediatrics known for his teaching expertise and passion.