Guidelines for SOM Graduation with Distinction in Humanities/Arts

To be considered for graduation with distinction in humanities, the student must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Body of work: “Body of work” refers to the production of a significant collection of creative accomplishment in the literary, visual, or performing arts.
  • Originality: All work must be original.
  • Relevance to medicine: All work must have either an explicit or an indirect connection capable of elucidation with some aspect of medicine (i.e., patient care, socialization into the medical profession, physician self-care, the medical school experience or the physician-patient relationship).
  • Time frame: All work must have been produced during medical school.
  • Quantity: The body of work should be substantive and represent a significant commitment of time and intellectual energy.
  • Quality: The body of work will be reviewed by a committee comprised at minimum of physicians and faculty with interest in the student’s chosen medium; and if possible a professor from a field relevant to the submission.
  • Publication and prizes: While not required, in granting graduation with distinction in humanities, the Dean will consider favorably publication in professional journals and/or awards received from organizations and groups external to UC Irvine-SOM.

Contribution to the SOM community: “Contribution to the SOM community” refers to consistent student efforts to use the humanities and arts as a means of participating in and contributing to the SOM community. Examples of such contributions follow:

  • Participation in the Anatomy course creative project option.
  • Participation in Plexus as either an editor or a significant contributor
  • Participation for at least 2 years in various humanities electives (i.e., the 1st year literature and medicine elective; the 1st year Examine the Painting/Examine the Patient elective; the 1st year History of Medicine elective; the f1st year Improvisational Theater elective; the 2nd year reflective writing elective; the 4th year humanities research elective; the 4th year Art of Doctoring elective)
  • Participation in the annual medical student Talent Show; student Art Exhibit; other humanities/arts related special events (symposia, conferences etc.)
  • Development of a humanities-based patient-centered project through an outpatient clinic, the hospital, the Cancer Center etc.

Guidelines for SOM Medical Humanities Award

The Medical Arts and Humanities Award was established in 2000 to honor an outstanding graduating student who, over the course of his or her medical education, has created a body of original work in either literature or the arts that attempts to integrate the art and science of medicine, and in so doing, makes a contribution to the UC Irvine-SOM community. All SOM graduating students nominated by faculty, staff, or peers for graduation with distinction in humanities/arts are considered for this further recognition. The winner(s) are selected by a committee consisting of faculty from various departments in the UC Irvine School of Medicine based on the excellence of the work.

Winners of Graduation with Distinction in Medical Humanities and UC MH Research Award


Graduation With Distinction in Medical Humanities Medical Humanities Award UC Medical Humanities Consortium Research Award Summer Research Stipends
2022 Janani Prasad; Kelton Mock Janani Prasad; Ruchi Desai N/A
2021 Olivia Tsai, Ajay Sharma Celia Cheung, Daniel Azzam, Ajay Sharma N/A N/A
2020 Stephanie Noh Kevin Guan, Thalia Nguyen
Honorable Mention*
Richelle Homo
Melinda Schneider
Nahzaneen Sedehi
N/A Ashley Hope
2019 Tiffany Pham, Shella Raja, Soe Thein, Nathan Calixto Tiffany Pham, Shella Raja N/A Michael LoBasso and Ian Jones
2018 Austin Momii, Mia Shan, Andy Trang, Adam Kalawi, Ben Nguyen Austin Momii Not awarded Janice Chua – History of The Adoption of Microvascular Free Flap Surgery by Otolaryngologists

Sarah O’Dell – A “Medical Inkling”: Robert Havard and the Clinical Imagination

2017 Jiwon (Helen) Shin, Michael Abrouk, John Combs Jiwon Shin Sam Sampson “Who’s Got Empathy?”

Shella Raja “Hospital Based Art Programs”

Christine Pham – The Usage of Medical Photography and Its Impact on Clinician Empathy

Navin Sedehi – Trauma and Its Poetry: A Shadowing Experience

2016 Jessica Galant, Aurora Cruz; Hanna Liu, Esther Jun; Avinash Chaurasia, David Lee Jessica Galant, Aurora Cruz Not awarded Bobby Hateley – How Space Exploration Has Changed the Field of Medicine
2015 Virginia Liu, Christine Lee, Melody Besharati, and Lori Burns Virginia Liu Lorianne Burns – Exploring Medical Student Poetry
2014 Samantha Costantini; Kimberly Truong Samantha Costantini Idris Leppla – Psychiatry before Antipsychotics: Representations in Literature

Laura Doan- Changes in Medical Care Then to Now: Exploring the Life Story Narratives of Patients 65 and Older.


Helen Shin – Patient Narratives of Mental Illness in the Christian Religion

Maja Feldman – How Medicine Changes Us– the Journey as Captured through the Eyes of a Medical Blogger

Ron Sahyouni – In Depth Analysis of Dr. Eric Cassell’s “The Nature of Suffering and The Goals of Medicine”

2013 Tiffany Diament, Stephanie Le, Shuo Wang Tiffany Diament David Cheng “Stories of Chronic Pain in a Geriatric Population”

Nina Narasimhalu – Superimposing Shakespeare on Modern Medicine: How Physicians Continually Find Meaning and Inspiration in Their Work”

2012 Matthew Fradkin, Chase Warren, Daniel Nagasawa Matthew Fradkin Matthew Fradkin “The Melodies of the Maladiess”
2011 Charitha Reddy Charitha Reddy Christina Umber –
“Emotional Coping of Medical Students”
Christina Umber Lauren Ross –
“Value, Dysmenorrhea and the Definition of Disease.”
Lauren Ross Jennifer Alloo –
“Narrative Medicine: A Medical Student’s Experiment in Becoming a Reflective Doctor.”
Jennifer Alloo Matt Fradkin –
“Music to Heal”
Pouneh Nasseri
2010 Neera Sodhi Benjamin Howard Aaron Harper –
“Reflective Creative Projects on a 3rd Year Pediatrics Clerkship”
Laura Doan – Changes in Medicine from the 1920’s to Today: Exploring the Life Story Narratives of Patients Age 70 and Over

Stephanie Le – Comparison and Contrast of Asian and Non-Asian Physician/Patient Interactions

Benjamin Howard Julie Hui –
“Reflective Creative Projects on a 3rd Year Pediatrics Clerkship”
2009 Mariam Naqvi Not awarded in 2009
2008 Sheila Chan Sheila Chan
Adam Kaplan
Sarah Mourra
2007 Sarah Blaschko Brian McMichael
Brian McMichael
Tracy Slone
2006 Sayeh Beheshti Meghann Kaiser
Meghann Kaiser Gail Ryan Raphael
Troy Pulas
Gail Ryan Raphael
2005 Monya De Monya De
Eric Hegedus
2004 Marisa Chang Marisa Chang
Michael Doo
Thanh Truong
2003 N/A Grainne McEvoy-Mulholland
2002 N/A Melinda Glines