Skip to main content


In the summer of 2000, Dean Donald Wilson and Dr. Frank Calia asked Dr. John A. Talbott to undertake a comprehensive overview of all areas of professionalism in the four years of medical school, emphasizing the importance of role models among the faculty and house staff. Dr. Talbott quickly learned that professionalism was shorthand for a wide variety of issues ranging from communication to ethics, from families to other members of the medical team, from life-long learning to subordinating oneself to the patient and his or her needs. Dr. Talbott conducted extensive surveys and interviews with students, faculty, course and clerkship directors, and he created The Professionalism Project, an initiative in which a group of dedicated students and faculty members collaborated to promote ideals of professionalism and humanism at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

The Humanism Honor Society at the University of Maryland was established in October of 2002 by Dean Donald Wilson to provide a means of recognizing medical students, house officers and faculty members demonstrating meritorious humanistic qualities. In 2007, the Society became a chapter of the Gold Humanism Honor Society (GHHS) through a grant from The Arnold P. Gold Foundation. The GHHS chapter at the University of Maryland School of Medicine has remained active ever since. In 2014, the Professionalism Project led by Dr. Talbott was integrated into the medical school’s GHHS chapter. Also in 2014, Dr. Talbott identified two faculty members to be co-advisors to the GHHS group: Dr. Neda Frayha and Dr. Kathryn Hart, both graduates of the University of Maryland School of Medicine and both selected as members of GHHS when they were students themselves.

Purpose and Reasons Behind Establishment of the Society

  1. It sends a message to the public that we value humanistic physicians.
  2. It identifies professional and humanistic physicians.
  3. It is congruent with the necessity to evaluate core competencies in residency training programs.
  4. It completes the evolutionary process of stressing humanism and professionalism, which begins with the White Coat Ceremony, progresses through the Student Clinician Ceremony and culminates in the Match Day Ceremony.
  5. It affirms that the University of Maryland School of Medicine is among the leaders in medical schools initiating such societies.
  6. It fulfills the necessity of commenting on humanistic/professional qualities in the Medical Student Performance Evaluation.
  7. It permits residency programs nationwide to know more about our applicants and recognize those selected into the GHHS chapter at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.