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Stanford physician-author Abraham Verghese to receive National Humanities Medal

Verghese lookingWell-known author and Stanford physician Abraham Verghese, MD, is being awarded a National Humanities Medal, the White House announced this afternoon.

Verghese, whose first bookMy Own Country: A Doctor’s Story, focuses on caring for terminal AIDS patients, has an international reputation for his emphasis on empathy for patients in an era in which technology often overwhelms the human side of medicine."...My interest in the human experience of being ill or caring for the ill was as much a part of medicine as knowledge of the function of the pancreas, for example,” Verghese said in our news story.

“Abraham Verghese is not only an exemplary clinician, he is an exemplary humanist,” said Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne, PhD, of the news. “Every day in the classroom, he teaches his students that professions such as medicine benefit from an understanding of the human condition. We are so proud that his breadth of scholarship has been recognized with this honor.”

“This is a special honor for a physician,” said Lloyd Minor, MD, dean of the School of Medicine. “Through his writings and his work as a physician, Abraham has worked to bring more humanism into modern medicine. The courage to follow his own path and the compassion he has brought to his work, have made the world a better place."

Inaugurated in 1997, the National Humanities Medal “honors individuals or groups whose work has deepened the nation’s understanding of the human experience, broadened citizens’ engagement with history, literature, languages, philosophy, and other humanities subjects." Verghese received his honor for "reminding us that the patient is the center of the medical enterprise."

There are 12 recipients of this year's medal. President Barack Obama will confer the medal at a White House ceremony Sept. 22; the ceremony will stream live at

Previously: "I carry your heart": Abraham Verghese on the doctor-patient relationshipAbraham Verghese: "A saintliness in so many of my patients"Stanford's Abraham Verghese honored as both author and healer and Abraham Verghese's Cutting for Stone: Two years as a New York Times best seller
Photo by Jason Henry

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