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.—Michael E. LeBeau, M.D., clinical assistant professor of internal medicine at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences, and a nephrologist for Sanford Health in Bismarck, N.D., was honored with the prestigious Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Faculty Award at the school’s commencement on May 15. Samantha L. Dusek, M.D., a 2016 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 over 100 of the nation’s medical schools. The Gold Foundation began the 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.

Michael E. LeBeau “Integrity, excellence, compassion, altruism, respect, empathy, and service are all attributes physicians strive to achieve throughout their career,” said Betsy Dickson, M.D. Class of 2016. She worked to nominate LeBeau for the award. “Dr. LeBeau is a provider who not only possesses these respectable qualities but also imparts them onto his students.”

“Throughout my educational experience with Dr. LeBeau, I got to see firsthand his calming interaction with patients, family members, and hospital staff. Whether it was discussing a terminal diagnosis with a patient, discussing a new treatment option, or addressing a nurse’s question, Dr. LeBeau did so in a respectful and empathetic manner,” she said. “His confident yet humbled demeanor was something patients, family members, and staff all respected and confided in.”

A New Town, N.D., native, LeBeau has been a faculty member of the UND SMHS since 2009. He is a 2002 graduate of the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences and completed his residency training in internal medicine at Gundersen Lutheran Medical Foundation in La Crosse, Wis. He finished his fellowship in nephrology from the University of Iowa Health Care program in Iowa City, Iowa. He is board-certified in internal medicine by the American Board of Internal Medicine.

“Dr. LeBeau exemplifies humanism in every aspect of his practice from the way he takes extra time to sit at his patients’ bedsides and answer their questions to the way he interacts with his nurses and staff in a welcoming and kind manner,” said Samantha Dusek, M.D., in her nominating letter. “He has somehow resisted the so-common temptation to allow the busy tempo of the day to blind him of the needs of his patients—their needs to feel cared for and listened to.”

“I never saw any of my preceptors deliver bad news near the end of a patient’s life with the sincerity, grace, and compassion that he has shown,” she said.

UND SMHS Dean Joshua Wynne, Michael LeBeau, and his nominators: Betsy Dickson and Samantha Dusek.

Samantha L. Dusek

In June of 2015, Grafton, N.D., native Samantha L. Dusek, M.D. 2016, was nominated by her peers to be one of 12 students inducted into the Gold Humanism Honor Society. Nominees were chosen based on the characteristics of humanism—integrity, excellence, compassion, altruism, respect, and empathy.

This year, Dusek was chosen from the 12 inductees by the School’s Gold Humanism Honor Society Selection Committee to receive the 2016 Tow Humanism in Medicine Award. The committee is composed of the third- and fourth-year class presidents and six faculty members.