Annual Hugh A. Walters Humanism Award Announced

Dean Yamaguchi, M.D., is this year's recipient of the Hugh A. Walters Humanism in Medicine Award. Photo by Maria Belen Farias

Fifth-year chief surgical resident, was honored in March with the UF College of Medicine department of surgery’s Hugh A. Walters Humanism in Medicine Award.

This marks the third year that UF surgical residents have selected a peer to receive the award, which honors the memory and legacy of surgical resident Hugh Walters, M.D., who died in 2008.

George A. Sarosi, M.D., surgical residency program director and an associate professor in the college, presented the award and reflected on Walters’ traits of humility, hard work and commitment.

“He was a quiet leader,” Sarosi said, “always there when you needed him and even when you didn’t know you would need him.”

Upon acceptance of the award, Yamaguchi, who next year will be matriculating into the vascular surgery fellowship program at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, said Walters was one of his role models.

Last year’s award winner, Tad Kim, M.D., emphasized the importance of creating a self-sustaining culture of teaching while telling a story of “an inspiring rivalry” between two surgeons who, while in intense competition, had a mutually beneficial respect for each other and essentially began the field of open heart surgery.

“Take the time to teach someone, they’ll remember that the next year and then do the same,” Kim said, adding he selected his topic because he enjoys teaching and feels it has helped him contribute to the advancement of the department.

Reflecting on his memories of Walters as a mentor, Kim said, “It was inspiring how much he enjoyed what he did and also how naturally talented and competent he was clinically. I felt like I could ask him anything.”

A fourth-year surgical resident,  Kim plans to pursue a career in cardiothoracic surgery.