WRITER: AMY LILLARD
CONTACT: DAVE PEDERSON
2130 Medical Laboratories
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-8032; fax(319) 335-8034
Release: March 21, 2000
UI medical student wins Gold Foundation Essay Contest
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- A University of Iowa College of Medicine student has
won first prize in a national competition for the Arnold P. Gold Foundation
Humanism in Medicine Essay Contest.
Karl Kirby, a third-year medical student, was selected over 285 other entrants
with his essay titled, "Learning to Care: Lessons from India." The
essay was published on "The Big Picture" Web site maintained by
the Gold Foundation. Kirby received a $2,000 prize.
Kirby, who wrote about his experiences and observations during a two-year
trip to India, was surprised by his win.
"I was shocked and ecstatic when I found out," he said. "I
don't consider myself a great writer and I was agonizing over this essay.
It's nice to feel like these experiences, which were so powerful to me, were
also meaningful to others."
The essay contest invited written pieces centering on the themes of what
makes a "good" doctor and what the barriers are to humanism in medicine
today. The "Big Picture" Web site that featured the essays of the
top contestants provides stories, poems and essays by writers in the field
of medicine to inspire and encourage students and physicians.
The contest is one of many programs sponsored by the Gold Foundation, an
organization that encourages compassion in medical practice and education.
Formed in 1988, the foundation is widely known for the creation of the "White
Coat Ceremony," a practice where new medical students receive their physician's
coats and, in some cases, recite the Hippocratic oath. The UI is one of 80
schools in America and Israel that holds this ceremony.
In his essay, Kirby described a young medical student in India who worked
with little training and scant supplies to help patients. Kirby also recalled
witnessing a grisly accident where he could not bring himself to help. The
two experiences have held special meaning during Kirby's education.
"Remembering these experiences helps me focus on why I want to be a
physician," he said. "These moments have definitely helped define
the type of doctor I want to be. Also, they directly influenced my future
plans. I'm interested in international medicine and providing better health
care to underserved areas."
Kirby plans to help care for patients in Malawi, Africa this May with the
support of a Barry Freeman Memorial Fellowship.
University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the
UI College of Medicine and the UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care,
medical education and research programs and services they provide.