UND doctors honored with Tow Humanism in Medicine Awards

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News Article

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School of Medicine & Health Sciences


GRAND FORKS, N.D.—David A. Billings, M.D., clinical associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences, and an OB-GYN for Trinity Health in Minot, N.D., was honored with the prestigious Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Faculty Award at the school’s commencement on May 9. Craig A. Meiers, M.D., a 2015 UND medical school graduate, received the Tow Award for graduating medical students.

Each year, Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Awards are presented to a graduating student and faculty member at 99 of the nation’s medical schools. The Gold Foundation began this award in 1991 at Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons. The Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey began replicating these awards nationwide in 1998, with participation from the Gold Foundation. In 2003, with a generous donation from Leonard Tow, these awards became solely sponsored and administered by the Gold Foundation. This award is given to those who best demonstrate the Foundation’s ideals of outstanding compassion in the delivery of care; respect for patients, their families, and health care colleagues; and clinical excellence.

David Billings

“Dr. Billings has been a teacher for me for most of my professional career,” said Kimberly Krohn, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.A.F.P., program director of the UND Center for Family Medicine Residency Program in Minot and a graduate of the UND SMHS. She nominated Billings for the award. “He has performed many services for the School of Medicine and Health Sciences.”

“He constantly has medical learners, including medical students and residents. He has an extremely large practice and is one of the busiest OB-GYNs in the state,” she said. “He has been a fabulous role model for me and many medical learners his entire career in Minot. I was lucky enough to have rotations with him as a resident back in the late 1990s.”

A San Francisco, Calif., native, Billings has been a faculty member of the UND SMHS since 1996. He is a 1992 graduate of the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences and completed his residency training at Michigan State University/Sparrow Hospital in Lansing. He is a board-certified OB-GYN and a Fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists as well as a member of the North Dakota Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society.

“He is one of the most enthusiastic physicians that I have ever worked with,” Krohn said. “He is extremely respectful of patients, staff and colleagues. He is quite brilliant but also compassionate with all the patients he cares for. He is a wonderful consultant for all of us in primary care.”

“Without Dr. Billings, our educational endeavors in Minot and our medical endeavors as well would not be as successful,” she said. “Dr. Billings’ unlimited energy, knowledge, commitment to medicine, and compassion for people are inspiring. He does medicine the way it should be done.”

Craig A. Meiers

In June of 2014, Minot, N.D., native Craig A. Meiers, M.D., 2015, was nominated by his peers to be one of 10 inducted into the Gold Humanism Honor Society. Nominees were chosen based on the characteristics of humanism—integrity, excellence, compassion, altruism, respect, and empathy.

Meiers was then chosen from the ten inductees by the School’s Gold Humanism Honor Society Selection Committee to receive the Tow Humanism in Medicine Award. The committee is composed of the third- and fourth-year class presidents and six faculty members.

In his recommendation to nominate Meiers, Charles Christianson, M.D., associate professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the SMHS and the chapter adviser for the school’s Gold Humanism Honor Society said, “While managing the demands of medical school, Craig Meiers served for four years as our representative to the Organization of Student Representatives of the Association of American Medical Colleges. He served as a bridge between our students and the national medical student body, monitoring the activities and opinions of classmates, communicating them at regional and national meetings, and bringing back information about national programs and opportunities to our students.”

“Our accreditation process requires an independent student assessment of our medical education and of the students’ experience,” Christianson said. “During the latter part of the second year, when most classmates are under stress studying for the upcoming Step 1 of the national licensing examination, Craig took on leadership of the group performing the independent student assessment. The group completed a thorough and constructive review on schedule. We on the faculty were envious; we didn’t work as efficiently and effectively. We are grateful to the entire group for their contribution and to Craig for his leadership of the group.”