By Bill Bruton
Published May 9, 2023
A large crowd of inductees and their families and friends were in attendance for UB’s Richard Sarkin Medical Emeritus Faculty Chapter of the Gold Humanism Honor Society induction.
But one individual who wasn’t present proved to be the most significant induction of the evening.
Jonathan D. Daniels, MD, who died tragically in a fire on July 4, 2022, along with two of his adult daughters: Jordan, a 2022 graduate of the UB School of Management; and Jensen, a 2021 graduate of Buffalo State College, was inducted posthumously into the chapter.
“Dr. Daniels set an example for all of us, as colleagues, as friends, as students, as a support, and just as an amazing individual who was a mentor and someone we had the opportunity to know,” said David A. Milling, MD, executive director of the Office of Medical Education and senior associate dean for medical education. “We have promised that in everything we do, we’re going to continue to keep his memory alive and to continue to foster the things that he has taught us on how to be a role model.”
Daniels, associate director of admissions at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, was a tireless advocate for diversity — recruiting and mentoring hundreds of scholars from traditionally underserved backgrounds.
“Dr. Daniels was instrumental in us starting our anti-racism curriculum — known as the MUSE curriculum — which he was able to get up and running and which now continues in earnest as we move forward,” said Milling, a personal friend of Daniels for more than 20 years. “It is more than fitting — and a huge honor — to be able to induct Dr. Daniels posthumously into the Jacobs School’s Richard Sarkin chapter.”
One of Daniels’ mentees, Shawn Gibson, was one of two fourth-year medical students presented with the Dr. Howard R. Goldstein ’74 Memorial Humanitarian Scholarship, which honors those who demonstrate a humanitarian spirit and dedication to the welfare of others.
“Shawn has been an amazing leader of our graduating class. He has helped bring people together,” said Milling, who indicated that Gibson was instrumental in starting two organizations dedicated to Daniels — the Jonathan Daniels Chapter of Black Men in White Coats and the Jonathan Daniels Chapter of White Coats for Black Lives.
Gibson will be doing his residency in emergency medicine at SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University in Brooklyn.
The other Goldstein Award recipient was Brielle Raine, who played a big role in the Thank a Resident Day and the Louis A. and Ruth Siegel Awards for Excellence in Teaching.
“Brielle has helped make our community so much better,” Milling said.
Raine has matched to a plastic surgery (integrated) residency at the University of Rochester.
Gibson also told of the chapter’s highlights, including volunteering at events in East Buffalo, the annual book club event and an orientation club fair for first-year medical students, and Thank a Resident Day.
“We’re advocates of our community,” Gibson said.
All of the honorees — who are medical trainees and physician-teachers at various stages of their careers — have demonstrated excellence in humanistic clinical care, leadership, compassion and dedication to service.
Allison Brashear, MD, MBA, UB’s vice president for health sciences and dean of the Jacobs School, thanked all those who embrace humanism in their studies and in their work.
“I want everyone to think and pause as to why we became physicians. Some to save lives, some to explore science and solve problems, some to educate, some to empower patients to take control of their health, but always to give patients hope,” Brashear said. “I hope that everything you learned at the Jacobs School is always, always about patient-centered care and health equity. That is something that is dear to all of our hearts. Our medical students have the future in their hands.”
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. It has 185 chapters around the world and more than 45,000 members.
UB’s more than 800 residents and fellows may nominate their peers into induction into a branch of the UB chapter, which is one of only 14 graduate medical education sections nationally that is affiliated with the society.
GHHS provides small grants that support creative projects that infuse and support humanism in training programs and hospitals.
The local chapter is named in memory of Richard T. Sarkin, MD, EdM ’98, who was an associate professor of clinical pediatrics known for his teaching expertise and passion.
“Today’s a very special day, to share with students, faculty, families and emeritus faculty,” Milling said. “Dr. Sarkin taught me as a medical student. He was a really good teacher. When you finished a session with him, it was clear you had learned something.”
Cherr is a member of the society, co-adviser for the resident chapter and chair of the Gold Humanism Honor Society National Advisory Council. He also sits on the board of directors of the Gold Foundation.
“I have a unique perspective on the Gold Humanism Honor Society and humanism in general,” said Cherr, who gave a history of the foundation and Arnold Gold.
Leonard A. Katz, MD, professor emeritus of medicine — who founded the UB chapter of the GHHS in 2005 — also addressed the honorees.
“I want to congratulate each and every one of you in this room and those who are being inducted for your wonderful humanistic values and your concern for compassion and community and the very things we should all be doing in medicine. You’re leading the way,” Katz said. “We are very fortunate to have this extraordinary chapter here. It’s a wonderful chapter, supported fully by Dean Brashear,” Katz added.
Haak was a runner-up for the Gold Foundation’s national Pearl Birnbaum Hurwitz Humanism in Healthcare Award in 2022, which is presented annually to a woman who exemplifies humanism and has advanced — through her scholarship, advocacy, leadership or work — the well-being of underserved or at-risk populations in the health care arena. She was nominated by Suzanne G. Laychock, PhD, senior associate dean for faculty affairs.
“It was amazing. To me it was just what I do every day. This is just my work. I’m really lucky to be able to do what I do,” Haak said. “I’m humbled to be in a room with people who are doing all these amazing things.”
Haak has worked tirelessly to get funding to work with at-risk children. In addition to her private practice, she works in an inner-city clinic, teaches medical students and residents, and is a consultant for schools.
“I’m super passionate about helping kids and teenagers who could not in any way advocate for themselves,” Haak said.
She urged those in attendance to always think about the best ways to help their patients.
“If you want to care for people, care with dignity and respect. Meet people where they are and help them as best you can,” Haak said. “There are always ways to do it. There is always funding somewhere. You just have to have an idea, and you can really do amazing things.”
The event, which was also available by videoconference, took place April 20 at the Sol Messinger, MD ’57 Active Learning Center in the Jacobs School building.
Milling and Nicholas J. Silvestri, MD, clinical associate professor of neurology and assistant dean for student and academic affairs, introduced the medical student inductees. Cherr and Peter S. Martin, MD, clinical assistant professor of psychiatry, introduced the resident and fellow inductees, while Cherr and Milling introduced the faculty inductees.
They read testimonials about the inductees’ acts of kindness and compassion that led to them being honored.
The following residents and fellows were inducted:
The following Class of 2023 medical students were inducted:
Along with Daniels and Haak, the following faculty members were inducted:
The University at Buffalo is internationally recognized as a leader in education, research and patient care, with a long history of excellence in medical education that began in 1846. We have achieved this recognition by blending academic excellence, exceptional bedside clinical teaching and thoughtful innovation designed to meet the changing needs of future clinical practitioners.
Our Residency and Fellowship Programs offer physicians-in-training outstanding opportunities to learn from clinicians who are among the best in their fields.