August 5, 2009

Compassion and Commitment

Five Tufts medical residents receive Humanism and Excellence in Teaching Awards

By Jacqueline Mitchell

Five Tufts medical residents were recognized with the Arnold P. Gold Foundation’s 2009 Humanism and Excellence in Teaching Awards last month for their compassion and commitment to educating the next generation of doctors.

The Gold Foundation provides financial support to programs and projects that encourage compassionate and empathetic health care. The foundation defines a humanistic doctor as one who demonstrates integrity, excellence, altruism, respect and service and who is sensitive to the values, autonomy and ethnic and cultural backgrounds of others.

Chosen by the third-year Tufts medical students they teach, the awardees are: Elizabeth Baker, M07, a second-year resident in obstetrics and gynecology at Tufts Medical Center; Justin Lee, M08, a second-year resident in surgery at Caritas St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center; Philip Omotosho, who completed his residency in the department of surgery at Baystate Medical Center in June; Amandeep Salhotra, a third-year resident in medicine at Caritas St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center; and Celeste Sharplin, a second-year resident in family medicine at the Cambridge Health Alliance.

In addition to her kind, friendly demeanor, students cited Baker for her “tremendous professionalism” and the respectful manner with which she treats doctors, nurses, patients, attendings and students alike. “Her calm, reassuring and extremely clear discussions with her patients exemplify how I want to practice medicine,” one said.

“The epitome of professional,” Lee was singled out for his enthusiasm and his energy. Students also noted that he was never too busy to be kind and attentive to his students.

During his tenure at Baystate, Omotosho became well known for treating patients, staff and medical teams, including medical students, like equal partners in patients’ health care. Omotosho is now pursuing a fellowship in minimally invasive surgery at Duke University.

Salhotra focuses on glioblastoma and related malignancies. During his residency at St. Elizabeth’s, Salhoutra became well known for his “kind, gentle demeanor” and his “quiet, yet confident approach to patient care.” He will stay on at St. E.’s to complete a fellowship in hematology-oncology.

A former music major at Samford University, Sharplin earned her M.D. at the University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry. “Celeste was always concerned about chronic issues affecting her patients because she was concerned about their quality of life,” her students say. “She is a fantastic doctor and teacher.”

In addition to the Excellence in Teaching Award, the Gold Foundation sponsors Humanism in Medicine Awards for graduating students and faculty members, an essay contest for students and the Gold Humanism Honor Society for students, residents and teaching physicians. Amy Kuhlik, dean of student affairs, presented the awards during the Student Clinicians’ Ceremony on July 6. The award winners received a certificate, a gold lapel pin and a check for $250 from the Gold Foundation.

Jacqueline Mitchell can be reached at

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