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Gold Humanism Honor Society inductees honor IPS science teacher


INDIANAPOLIS — An Indianapolis public school teacher will be honored as a role model by Indiana University School of Medicine students as they are recognized for their professionalism and humanistic approach to the practice of medicine.

Thirty-four students from the IU School of Medicine class of 2014, six residents and two faculty members will be inducted into the 2013-14 Gold Humanism Honor Society.

Honorees were asked to identify others who inspired them through their courses or community work, and the medical students selected Lon Amstutz as a role model. He will be recognized and will speak about his experiences as an educator at the induction banquet Friday, Oct. 11.

Amstutz is the mentor for the IU medical students participating in the Crispus Attucks Student Interest Group, which pairs medical students as tutors to youths interested in the sciences and medicine. A middle school science teacher at Crispus Attucks Medical Magnet High School, Amstutz teaches science to 170 seventh-graders. He has been in the classroom for 17 years and spent eight years in administration before returning to teach seven years ago.

“I am honored,” Amstutz said of his recognition by the IU medical students. “I work with kids; I teach every day, and I’m pretty passionate about learning.”

Besides being in a position to mold minds, Amstutz said he loves teaching science because he gets to share his interest in everything from life sciences to chemistry and beyond. “My job is to make sure they love science, and make sure they are prepared for when they do take that high school chemistry class.”

Amstutz was nominated by Joel Franco, a fourth-year medical student who led the Crispus Attucks Student Interest Group for two years, working with Amstutz planning lessons and coordinating the schedule.

“I nominated Mr. Amstutz because I truly believe that he embodies humanism,” Franco said. “He sees the value and goodness in all of his students and strives to make their lives better.  He understands the importance of an after-school activity and aims to provide one that is both fun and educational. 

“Most importantly, Mr. Amstutz does this out of the goodness of his heart. He is not looking for awards, nor does he seek financial gain. The only reward he requires is the opportunity to work with an incredibly deserving group of children. This is why I look to Lon as a role model,” he said.

Induction into the Gold Humanism Honor Society is an honor reserved for a select group of students. Each year, the top 10 percent of the IU School of Medicine class is chosen from a group of peer nominations in recognition of their professionalism and humanistic qualities. In addition, resident physicians and faculty are selected from student nominations for their dedication to patients and role modeling.

Class of 2014 members of the IU School of Medicine Chapter of the Gold Humanism Honor Society: Zahab Ahsan; Sarah Badenhop; Peter Baenziger; Jordan Bradford; Caitlin Bradley; Laura Bryant; Joanna Campodonico; Forrest Craig; Eleanor DeThomas; Tanya Devnani; Amy Dreischerf; Chad Flowers; Joel Franco; Appolinia Frey; Vincent Gemma; Lauren Hutchinson; Meagan King; Andrew Krack; Dulanji Kuruppu; Thomas Lam; Hee-Sang “Harrison” Lyu; Karrmann McHaffie; Ethan Morrical; Ganiyat Oladapo; Cassidy Overpeck; Manisha Patel; Peter Puthenveetil; Jessica Senefeld-Naber; Naina Singh; Ashley Suah; Rachel Treat; Hari Vasu; Juan Carlos Venis; and Andrea Wenzel.

Medical resident inductees: Elizabeth Bagsby, M.D. (physical medicine and rehabilitation); Clinton Bahler, M.D. (urology); Katherine McHugh, M.D. (OB-GYN); Jennifer Newitt, M.D. (internal medicine/pediatrics); Jennifer Thompson, M.D. (OB-GYN); and Sean Thompson, M.D. (emergency medicine/pediatrics).

Faculty inductees: Robert Pascuzzi, M.D., professor and chair of the IU Department of Neurology, and Karen Roos, M.D., John and Nancy Nelson Professor of Neurology and professor of neurological surgery.

The Arnold P. Gold Foundation stresses altruism, compassion and empathy as key characteristics of a good doctor-patient relationship. “Humanism in medicine describes relationships between physicians and their patients that are respectful and compassionate. It is reflected in attitudes and behaviors that are sensitive to the values, autonomy, cultural and ethnic backgrounds of others,” its website says.