Southwestern Medical Foundation has presented Priyanka Gaur, M.D., M.P.H., with the 2020 Ho Din Award, including the commemorative Ho Din medal and a $10,000 scholarship. Instituted by Southwestern Medical Foundation in 1943, the Award continues to be the highest honor bestowed on a UT Southwestern medical student and represents the ideals and aspirations on which the Medical School was built.
“Southwestern Medical Foundation is delighted to present this year’s Ho Din Award and scholarship to a physician of the character and courage of Dr. Gaur. Her wisdom and insights are inspiring as she commits to a career in public health to address significant unmet needs in women’s health.”
Kathleen M. Gibson, President and CEO, Southwestern Medical Foundation
Richard E. Hoffman, M.D., M.P.H. is a renowned epidemiologist and public health expert and a UT Southwestern Medical School alumnus. He has been a member of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees since 2015 and serves on the Foundation’s Awards Committee. This year, he presented the Ho Din Award to Dr. Gaur. He admires her academic accomplishments and ability to create positive change through advocacy on campus, in the community, and nationally.
“Watching Dr. Gaur, I feel confident about the future of medicine,” said Dr. Hoffman. “She’s an outstanding medical student who has achieved exceptional grades and earned a Master of Public Health concurrently. Through her public health coursework, she understands the social, economic, and political determinants of health. She has become a passionate leader who has translated her knowledge into action, whether it’s spreading awareness to other students or working with Parkland Hospital to figure out better ways to help women get the medical care they need.”
Dr. Gaur is grateful for the positive role models and mentors who have surrounded her and provided guidance throughout her academic career. Her mother, who is an internal medicine physician, helped her develop a strong voice for others and instilled the value of giving back.
“The Ho Din Award is a beacon of hope and happiness at a time the world is struggling with a public health pandemic. I am honored and humbled to be able to represent my impressive, impressive class in this way.”
Dr. Priyanka Gaur, 2020 Ho Din Award Winner
A Stellar Academic Journey
In 2016, Dr. Gaur graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with a Bachelor of Science in Brain and Cognitive Sciences. She received the Sean Collier Medal for her service as an emergency medical technician, providing basic life support to the campus population and training students on emergency medicine skills. She served as a teaching assistant to the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and was a successful student-athlete on MIT’s Division III women’s soccer team, receiving the New England Men’s and Women’s Athletic Conference Academic All-Conference recognition in 2012 and 2013. She gave back to the local community by serving as head coach of an elementary school girls’ soccer team.
During medical school, UT Southwestern faculty and residents describe her diagnostic and intellectual skills as exceptional, but even more impressive was her compassion for patients and her character as a truly aspirational professional. While a junior medical student, Dr. Gaur was selected into the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society while concurrently completing coursework for a Master of Public Health. In 2017 she completed her M.P.H. as a University of Texas System Bill Archer Fellow through which she worked with the National Partnership for Women and Families in Washington, DC, assisting with analysis of federal and state legislation and creation of advocacy tools for lawmakers and constituents.
She also served as president of UT Southwestern’s Women’s Health Interest Group and the Future Residents of Obstetrics & Gynecology. Notably, she founded the Health Advocacy Student Interest group, now called the Student Patient Advocates for the Rights of our Communities (SPARC), which exposes interested students to the social, economic, and political determinants of health and opportunities to advocate for patients.
“Not only has Priyanka excelled academically and clinically, she has demonstrated a clear passion for patient and peer advocacy in many roles. I have no doubt that she will be a force of nature advocating for her patients, and that she will make an impact on a grand scale to improve the health of her community and society at large.”
Dr. Angela Mihalic, Dean of Medical Students, Associate Dean of Student Affairs, Distinguished Teaching Professor in Pediatrics
Dr. Gaur is excited to be part of the rising generation of physicians and looks forward to carrying the Ho Din spirit forward in her day-to-day interactions with faculty, residents, staff, and patients. She will soon embark on a new chapter in her life as an obstetrics and gynecology resident at Johns Hopkins Hospital. She believes her training at UT Southwestern not only sparked her interest in public health, but also provided her with the humility to address different health care issues. As a physician, she hopes to enact positive change in the world by increasing access to women’s health care and empowering and elevating the voices of all women, especially women of color who continue to face a multitude of complex barriers to quality health care.
“I want to be remembered as a fierce advocate. I really like that idea of trying to push the ball forward. I have been known to start discussions around tough topics that make us think about what we’re doing and how we can do better.”
Dr. Priyanka Gaur, 2020 Ho Din Award Winner
Ho Din Award Origin and Legacy
In 1943, at the first meeting of the Board of Trustees of Southwestern Medical College, the Board voted to establish an annual award to recognize the medical student who best exemplified the ideal physician envisioned by the founders.
The Ho Din Award was then instituted by Southwestern Medical Foundation to recognize those who exemplify the unique personal qualities embodied in all great physicians – knowledge, understanding, and, most of all, compassion. Ho Din, which represents “the spirit of medical wisdom and human understanding,” has been a hallmark of excellence at UT Southwestern for more than 70 years and is the foremost honor bestowed on outstanding seniors.