Open hearts

Kurt Scherer, M.D., recalled the day he and his siblings gave an impromptu concert for one of his patients, a tattooed bulky man who resembled Hulk Hogan and conducted their performance with his cane.

Scherer, who was the keynote speaker at the March 1 ninth annual Chapman Chapter of the Gold Humanism Honor Society banquet, said it was during his third year of medical school at the University of Florida, and his relationship with his patient didn’t start off easy — the man and his fiancée had nicknamed Scherer “the pest” for his thoroughness. But, over time, the two men became friends.

Sometime later, the patient, dying, returned to the hospital, and his fiancée told Scherer that he wanted someone to play “Amazing Grace” for him. Scherer called his brother and the two musicians obliged.

“I’ll never forget that,” said Scherer, a 2008 graduate of the UF College of Medicine, who is currently a radiology resident at UF. “There was an overriding force or being directing us that day.”

The Society, which celebrates compassion in medicine, inducted 24 medical students, six residents and two faculty members during an event at the Paramount Plaza Hotel and Conference Center.

This year’s Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine award, recognizing outstanding examples of clinical excellence and humanism, went to faculty member David Feller, M.D., an associate professor in the department of community health and family medicine, and fourth-year medical student Paul O’Rourke.

Feller, a 1989 graduate of the COM, completed residency training in family medicine at UF and has served for 17 years as faculty adviser for the Equal Access Clinic, a student-run free health care clinic for the underserved. Patricia Abbitt, M.D., a professor in the department of radiology, described Feller as the type of doctor who “gives his cell phone number to every new patient” and is “an awesome role model for students and faculty.”

O’Rourke, who blushed as he was given a standing ovation by his classmates, was described by his peer Mitushi Mishra as a person “who wears his heart on his sleeve.” She recalled how he came to lunch one day beaming with joy and excitement after one of his patients, who was being discharged, grabbed his hand to thank him.

Tad Kim, M.D., the 2010 recipient of the Hugh A. Walters, M.D., Humanitarian Award, was recognized as the second recipient of the award, which supports humanitarian efforts in surgical education. Walters was a talented young surgeon and a 2004 graduate of the COM who died unexpectedly in 2008.

Michael L. Good, M.D., dean of the COM, said patients may not always understand all the medical jargon and technicalities of their treatment, but “every patient knows how well they were treated.”

Telling them that they were ahead of the game, Good asked the new inductees to become ambassadors for the university and to continue to focus on optimizing the care of each patient.

Congratulations to the 2010-2011 inductees:


David Feller, M.D.

Paulette Hahn, M.D.



Lisa Aenlle, M.D.

Emily Davoodi, M.D.

Marcia Mecca, M.D.

Alissa Orvis, M.D.

Georgios Rossidis, M.D.

Michael Wangia, M.D.


Medical Students

Spencer Bachow

Kristina Betters

Sonja Boulware

Liliana Bustamante

San Chang

Purin Chheda

Hany Elmariah

Archna Eniasivam

Jason Freed

Sarah Fuchs

Alexander Greene

Elizabeth Greene

Mintallah Haider

Karen Halpert

Ronica Hazariwala

Jonathan Hu

Mariana Khawand

Genevieve Maass

Mitushi Mishra

Paul O’Rourke

Amelie Romelus

Puja Saxena

Katherine Schnell

Andrew Thomas