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University of Iowa News Release


May 8, 2007

UI Physician, Student Honored For Humanism In Medicine

A faculty member and a student from the University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine have been awarded the 2007 Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Awards from the Arnold P. Gold Foundation.

Michael B. Cohen, M.D., professor and head of the UI Department of Pathology, was selected as this year's faculty recipient of the award, and UI Carver College of Medicine fourth-year medical student Sally Leitch received the student award. Both will be honored at the college's Gold Humanism Honor Society breakfast May 11.

The Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award was established to recognize and honor faculty members and students who demonstrate the highest standards of compassion and sensitivity in their interactions with patients, their colleagues and the public. This award is funded by the Gold Foundation to promote the compassionate and humanistic care of patients as a key component of medical education.

Since 1998, the UI Carver College of Medicine has been one of a number of medical schools nationwide that participates in this program. Each school presents the award to one faculty member and one graduating student.

Cohen, who is the Richard G. Lynch Chair in Experimental Pathology, is an internationally renowned diagnostic cytopathologist, urologic pathologist and prostate cancer researcher. He has garnered respect from UI medical students for his personal approach to mentoring and his demonstrated excellence in humanism and leadership.

Nomination letters for the Tow Award from students cited Cohen's sincerity and genuine interest in medical students' careers. He served as a facilitator for the students' personal and professional development groups, where he offered guidance and encouraged students to serve their patients and communities with concern, fairness and respect.

Cohen received a medical degree from Albany Medical College and completed a medical internship at Albany Medical Center Hospital. Subsequently, he also completed a pathology residency and a cytology fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco. Cohen joined the UI faculty in 1990 and became head of pathology in 1999. Cohen is included in the national "America's Best Doctors" database, and recently he was named to the list of "America's Top Doctors for Men" by Men's Health magazine.

Leitch was honored for her compassion, her ability to connect with patients and their families, and her professionalism. Nomination letters also noted her ability to lead by example, her cultural competence, her ability to handle even the most difficult situations, and the extra time she spends talking with her patients. Leitch frequently volunteers for the Mobile Clinic, an interdisciplinary project started by Carver College of Medicine and other UI health sciences students to serve underserved populations in Iowa City and surrounding communities.

Leitch also is an active member of the college's Lois Boulware Learning Community and served as community service coordinator as a second-year medical student. Leitch's passion for incorporating her Spanish-speaking skills into helping the medically underserved populations led her to volunteer in Guatemala, where she worked with local health care professionals. Leitch returned to Guatemala in February with the "Miles of Smiles" team that repaired cleft lips and palates.

A native of Spencer, Iowa, Leitch will begin a medical residency at Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park, Minn. She will work in family medicine and plans to continue serving the medically underserved and volunteering with medical mission trips abroad.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Science Relations, 5139 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1178

MEDIA CONTACT: David Pedersen, 319-335-8032,; Writer: Krystal Loewe