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Release: May 9, 2001

Kentrell Liddell receives UI Student Humanism in Medicine award

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Kentrell Liddell, a graduating University of Iowa medical student, has received the UI College of Medicine's 2001 Student Humanism in Medicine Award.

Each year, one UI medical student receives the award for demonstrating the highest standard of compassion and sensitivity in interacting with patients. Nearly three-quarters of all medical schools in the United States participate in the award program, which is funded by the Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey and carries a $2,000 stipend for the recipient selected at each school.

Liddell will receive the award at the college's commencement ceremonies May 11. Edward Bell, M.D., UI professor of pediatrics, will receive the Faculty Humanism in Medicine Award the same day.

After graduation, Liddell will begin residency training in family medicine at University of Mississippi Medical Center Hospitals and Clinics in Jackson, Miss. Family medicine is an area of medical practice that traditionally is intensive in direct patient care.

Originally from Macon, Miss., Liddell was the first in her family to go to college and earned a bachelor of science degree in chemistry in 1996 from Tougaloo College in Tougaloo, Miss.

Barbara Barlow, the UI College of Medicine admissions recruiter who nominated Liddell for the award, said she "exemplifies what results from perseverance and determination."

During her second year in medical school, Liddell founded a multicultural medical student organization, "Shades of Medicine," to recognize diversity of all types and promote activities such as medical student support for patients with cancer.

"When Kentrell began at the University of Iowa, she came to an environment that was completely different from that which she had been exposed to growing up," Barlow said. "In addition to the intensity of her medical school curriculum, she also faced major cultural differences. Instead of becoming withdrawn, as can happen in this situation, she responded by founding Shades of Medicine."

Barlow added that in Liddell's clinical rotations, medical faculty commended her self-directed style of learning, motivation, work ethic, passion for patient care and the overall positive effect she had on others.

Liddell also represented students on the college's curriculum task force that focused on improving curricular materials on multicultural medicine and its intersection with patient care.

"As a result of the work of the group, the college developed and implemented several new curricular initiatives in this important area," Barlow said. "Kentrell's personal experience and insights, along with her active participation, made her an extremely valuable member of the task force."

In addition to the Humanism in Medicine award, Liddell previously received the Dean's Achievement Award in recognition of outstanding leadership ability by a minority student and this spring received a Hancher-Finkbine Distinguished Student Leader Certificate. In 1998, she was the first non-faculty person ever to win the Charles D. Phelps Memorial Award for her research on macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness.

"Kentrell's accomplishments only hint at the quality of her character and her determination to succeed," Barlow said. "I am extremely pleased but not surprised that Kentrell was selected to receive this award. I can think of no one more deserving."

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.