Group photo of GHHS inductees.


To promote humanism and professionalism throughout the continuum of physician education from the first day in medical school until retirement from medical practice.


In the fall of 2008, six faculty members of the West Virginia University School of Medicine petitioned the Arnold P. Gold Foundation for the establishment of a local chapter of the Gold Humanism Honor Society. The charter was approved on December 15, 2008 when they were notified by Jacqueline Mintz of the Gold Foundation.

The founding members were committed to institutionalizing the chapter, being role model the ideals of humanism in medicine, and conducting the selection of the initial student, resident and faculty members. These six faculty have collectively more than 140 years of service to the school and the people of West Virginia.

The founding faculty members include:

  • Rosemarie Cannarella, MD, MPH, Assistant Dean for Student Services at Eastern Division, Professor of Family Medicine
  • G. Anne Cather, MD, Associate Dean for Student Services and Professional Development, Professor of Family Medicine
  • Norman D. Ferrari III, MD, Senior Associate Dean for Medical Education, Professor of Pediatrics and Internal Medicine
  • James P. Griffith, MD, Assistant Dean for Student Services at Charleston Division, Associate Professor of Psychiatry
  • Jeffery Neely, MD, former President and CEO of University Health Associates, Professor of Internal Medicine
  • Michelle Nuss, MD, Vice President for Medical Staff Affairs at WVUH, Associate Professor of Internal Medicine

The School of Medicine was established in 1903 as a two year school and transitioned to a four year program in 1960 with the first MD degrees awarded in 1962. We have a long standing and strong commitment of service to the citizens of West Virginia as part of our land grant mission. We were recognized in 2006 by the AAMC with the Outstanding Community Service Award. Students are required to complete at least 100 hours of community service as a requirement for graduation. We have a well developed pipeline program called HSTA (Health Sciences Technology Academy) which helps to foster greater diversity in our student population including traditional underrepresented minorities, first generation college students, and those from low socioeconomic status.


The first student members will be selected from the Class of 2010 in the summer of 2009 near the completion of the third year of the curriculum. There will be one chapter for the School of Medicine with membership from all three clinical campuses located in Morgantown, Charleston and Martinsburg. Each year the chapter will select a maximum of six resident and two faculty members.

Members elected are recognized for their outstanding demonstration of the ideals of humanism and names will be published on the chapter website to be maintained by the faculty advisors or Office of Student Services.

During the induction ceremony the following oath will be recited:

I pledge to continue to demonstrate the ideals of humanism through my care of patients and their families, through my teaching, and through my scholarly activities and discovery. I will model and mentor of the ideals of humanism and compassion while inspiring the next generation of health care providers for the betterment of all members of society.

A certificate from the chapter will be issued to each new member. Members may wear white honor cords as part of traditional academic regalia during formal ceremonies.

Faculty Members

Student Members

Resident Members

The Gold Humanism Honor Society at West Virginia University School of Medicine was made possible with a grant from The Arnold P. Gold Foundation. For more information and frequently asked questions about the Arnold P. Gold Foundation, click here



Established in 2008

Article I: Name

The name of this organization shall be West Virginia University School of Medicine Chapter of the Gold Humanism Honor Society.

Article II: Representation

This is a local chapter of the national Gold Humanism Honor Society that functions within the West Virginia University School of Medicine, though it is composed of students, residents, faculty who are currently or once were associated with the West Virginia University School of Medicine and its affiliates.

Article III: Purpose

The Society is organized to elevate the values of humanism and professionalism within the field of medicine. The Society advocates for humanism through activities within the School of Medicine, its affiliated teaching hospitals, and the community and has continuing involvement with its inclusive membership to promote the values of humanism both in medical education and in the practice of medicine.

Article IV: Membership

  1. Student Membership
    1. no more than 15% of each class shall be selected as members of the Society.
    2. student members will be chosen by a selection committee during the spring semester of the third year after consideration of the results of peer, faculty and society member nomination
    3. the selection committee shall be composed of at least the society advisors and previously elected faculty members of the society as identified by the faculty advisor.
    4. final selection will occur in time for inclusion of membership in the Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE) generated by the Office of Student Services
  2. Resident and Faculty Membership
    1. members of the society are charged with selecting up to a maximum of two residents and two faculty members for induction each year.
    2. eligible residents must have completed at least one full year in an accredited program sponsored by the School of Medicine or the Charleston Area Medical Center/WVU Charleston Division
    3. eligible faculty must have completed at least two years as a full time, part time, or volunteer clinical faculty within the School of Medicine. Emeritus faculty members will remain eligible.
    4. nominations of potential faculty and resident members may be solicited from students, residents, faculty and society members
    5. residents or faculty members selected for Gold Humanism Honor Society membership at other medical schools also qualify for membership including voting privileges in the local chapter of the society
    6. election will require at least the majority of those present on the selection committee as outlined in Section IV.1.3

Article V: Selection of Members

  1. The Society shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, gender, age, national origin, sexual orientation, creed, veteran status or disability when selecting its members.
  2. Consideration for membership into the Society should include but not be limited to the criteria below, adapted from the criteria for membership into the national Gold Humanism Honor Society:
    1. Maintain good academic and professional standing within the School of Medicine, hospital staff or training program
    2. Integrity and sound moral reasoning.
    3. Respect for others from all stations of life.
    4. General excellence in humanistic patient care, and a willingness to engage in supportive patient interaction/advocacy.
    5. The ability to establish communicative relationships that focus on listening and understanding.
    6. The ability to learn from life experiences.
    7. Maintaining compassion, concern, respect, integrity and commitment to humanistic goals in the face of adversity.
    8. Peer evaluations and nominations.
    9. Excellence in teaching students, residents, colleagues, and patients.
    10. Involvement in service-related activities
  3. Demonstration of a commitment to humanism, as illustrated by the criteria above, shall be the overriding consideration in selecting faculty, resident, and student members. The Society members should be role models within the School of Medicine for humanism in medical practice and medical education.

Article VI: Officers

  1. The Society will have at least one but no more than two faculty advisors selected from among the membership of the local society. The term of a faculty advisor shall be indefinite, as long as they remain a member of the School of Medicine faculty. When a vacancy in the position of faculty advisor develops for any reason, the entire membership of the local chapter shall elect by majority vote a new faculty advisor from among the faculty members of the Society. The advisors shall be charged with management of the Society funds and maintain a current list of members.
  2. The student officers of the Society shall be at least:
    1. President
    2. Chairperson for Community Service
  3. Student officers must be members of the Society.
  4. Election Process for officers shall be conducted at a meeting no later than the beginning of the fall semester at which greater than 50% of the current student membership is present to establish quorum. Individuals for each office shall be nominated during the election meeting and shall be elected with a majority vote of the members present at that meeting. Only student members may vote for officers outlined in section VI.2.
  5. Duties
    1. President: The president shall be responsible for scheduling and organizing student and chapter meetings and ensuring the continued function of the Society. The president shall be responsible for representing the Society to external committees and organizations, and shall also be a member of all internal society committees. The President shall coordinate all activities of the chapter in conjunction with the faculty advisors.
    2. Chairperson for community service: The chairperson shall coordinate the annual community service project.
  6. Student members of the Society may create and select additional officers and appoint committees at their own discretion to suit the current needs of the organization provided that the duties do not interfere with those outlined for other officers delineated in Section VI.

Article VII: Meetings and Special Events

  1. Meetings shall be scheduled at the discretion of the president, or faculty advisors.
  2. A quorum is not required at general meetings of the Society unless specified elsewhere in this constitution.
  3. There shall be an induction ceremony held in the spring of each year after election of members to formally recognize the new Society members. The induction shall be open to the public and provide another opportunity to promote the ideals of the society.

Article VIII: Vacancies and Impeachment

  1. In the event that an officer or advisor fails to fulfill his or her responsibilities or misrepresents the ideals of the Society, the members of the Society may call for a closed meeting to discuss impeachment.
    1. A closed meeting attaining quorum of at least 50% of the current members must be held in which the member in question has the opportunity to speak on his or her behalf with a discussion to follow in the member's absence.
    2. To impeach an officer or advisor, voting must be performed by secret ballot with greater than two-thirds of members present voting in favor of impeachment.
    3. In the event of impeachment, the voting process for the new officer or advisor shall be conducted immediately under the provisions outlined in Section VI.

Article IX: Amendments

  1. Amendments to this constitution must be proposed in writing and reviewed by all current members of the Society. These amendments must be approved by a two-thirds vote of the current membership. Amendment votes may be conducted electronically or at a meeting of the society provided that a quorum of 50% of the current active membership is in attendance