Medical Student Places in National Essay Contest

by Sarah Storm | Jul 05, 2017

Nicole Chicoine First-year Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine (MU-COM) student Nicole Chicoine was recently selected as the second place winner of the 2017 Hope Babette Tang Humanism in Healthcare essay contest. 

In her essay, “A Common Humanity We All Share,” Chicoine writes about a doctor’s compassion toward a mother who had lost her two-year-old son. The event occurred in the summer of 2013 while Chicoine was shadowing at Iringa Regional Hospital in Iringa, Tanzania. 

Chicoine chose to submit an essay for the contest in hopes of using the potential funds for a medical internship this summer in New Delhi. She chose to become a doctor because “Medicine allows you not only to help others during tremendously difficult times, but it forces you to solve puzzles every day to reach the appropriate diagnosis.” 

Chicoine’s essay will be published in the November 2017 issue of Academic Medicine. The award, created by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation, is based on the work of Dr. Hope Babette Tang-Goodwin, who was a pediatrician in New York City. She cared for infants and children with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) with compassion and devotion, and her dedication and enthusiasm inspired those around her to take a different approach toward patients in healthcare. 

The Arnold P. Gold Foundation strives to create supportive, compassionate, and patient-centered healthcare professionals. They aim to “keep healthcare human” by building strong and caring relationships with patients. The organization also has an honor society, and 23 medical students and four faculty members from the MU-COM were inducted in April. 

The foundation also provided MU-COM with a grant to start the Meaningful Medicine Mentoring Program, which serves as a one-year elective course for first- and second-year medical students that includes mentoring from area physicians and a didactic series aimed at supplementing the regular curriculum.    

"Meaningful Medicine is about humanism, empathy, and patient-centered care for patients of all backgrounds,"  Emily Young, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics and co-director of the Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine (MU-COM) Meaningful Medicine Mentoring Program, said. "One of my greatest hopes is that Meaningful Medicine Mentoring Program will help my students to build habits that will sustain their future careers in a field known for professional burnout by reminding them to keep a sense of purpose in the center of what they do from day to day."

Young believes Chicoine’s recognition highlights the shared values of Marian University and the Gold Foundation.

“I think that any student or member of the Marian community can better employ the mission of the Gold Foundation by incorporating the foundation’s values into their own lives,” Chicoine said. “This doesn’t necessarily mean only medical students and nursing students should utilize a humanistic approach to healing. It can apply to one student taking the time to empathize with their roommate. It could also mean that a member of the community listens and respects another individual’s ideas, even if they are different from his or her own. It could include faculty being compassionate when a fellow member of the community is having a particularly trying time in their own life. It could even just be sitting once a day and thinking about how to do something little to help another person. Big or small, trying to practice the mission of the foundation will hopefully lead to a better community and healthcare.”

Read more about the essays.

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