Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award: Nahid Rianon, MBBS, DrPH

By Roman Petrowski, Office of Communications

Dr. Nahid Rianon - Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award

Nahid Rianon, MBBS, DrPH, the recipient of the 2022 Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award, presented by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation.

Nahid Rianon, MBBS, DrPH, associate professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine and the Joan and Stanford Alexander Division of Geriatric and Palliative Medicine of the Department of Internal Medicine, has been named the recipient of the 2022 Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award, presented by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation.

The Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award annually honors faculty who are exemplary in their compassion and sensitivity in the delivery of care to patients and their families, who administer scientifically excellent clinical care, and who serve as role models to students.

Rianon said that she was shocked when she received the news of the award, but when she came back to reality felt honored with the recognition that comes from the prestigious award.

“The award honors faculty who demonstrate compassion and sensitivity in the delivery of medical care to patients and caregivers, and thus becomes a role model for our students, who I call our future of medicine,” Rianon said. “As a faculty of McGovern Medical School, we believe in McGovern ideals of excellence, humanism, and compassion; and this award comes with the responsibility to uphold those values and pass it on to the new generations.”

In her teaching philosophy, Rianon feels strongly that while learning evidence-based medicine is important, she also believes there are two other focuses that allow physicians to deliver the best care. She says that being present in the moment with patients by listening to their stories, and treating them the way we would like to be treated are key lessons she delivers while teaching students and medical trainees.

“I learn as I teach,” Rianon said. “Every learner comes with a perspective and their own experience. To watch the excitement as they learn how to link a patient’s story to a specific clinical question and then to find the answer from the same story is the best part of my day.

“I love to take this point further and teach them how a clinical question becomes a research question, and thus help advance science to deliver better care in the future,” she continued. “To spark the love for innovation through clinical research is one of my goals in teaching as well.”

Rianon draws inspiration from her parents, who were both academicians, and were among the first to influence her to choose a career in academia. Throughout her tenure she has had countless mentors who have helped shape her academic career including Dr. Beatrice Selwyn, Dr. Brendan Lee, Dr. Tamara Harris, Dr. Shahla Nadler, and Dr. Holly Holmes.

Rianon graduated with a bachelor of medicine, bachelor of science from Sir Salimullah Medical College at Dhaka University, in Bangladesh. She completed a master of public health and her doctoral degree from the UTHealth Houston School of Public Health before finishing a residency at McGovern Medical School and a fellowship at Baylor College of Medicine and a fellowship from the National Institute on Aging.

“I would like to thank all the students for the opportunity to teach and enjoy my work at McGovern Medical School,” Rianon said. “I am especially grateful to the students and colleagues who nominated and recommended me for this award. I would also like to thank my family and colleagues who help me with continuing my journey as a faculty at McGovern Medical School.”

Previous winners of the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award are: Robby Wesley, DO, 2021 Jennifer Swails, MD, 2020; Milton “Chip” Routt, Jr., MD, 2019; Daniel J. Freet, MD, 2018; Michelle S. Barratt, MD, MPH, 2017; Francisco Fuentes, MD, 2016; Heinrich Taegtmeyer, MD, 2015; Joseph Love, DO, 2014; Joanne Oakes, MD, 2013; Stefano Sdringola-Maranga, MD, 2012; Saleem Khan, MD, 2011; Gus W. Krucke, MD, 2010; James “Red” Duke, MD, 2009; Pedro Mancias, MD, 2008; Keith Hoots, MD, 2006; Larry C. Gilstrap III, MD, 2005; Virginia A. Moyer, MD, MPH, 2004; Cheves M. Smythe, MD, 2003; Oscar Rosales, MD, 2002; Philip C. Johnson, MD, 2001; Philip R. Orlander, MD, 2000; and John R. Stroehlein, MD, 1999.