June 6, 2016 – Southwestern Medical Foundation presented the 2016 Ho Din Award, its highest honor, to Dr. Samuel Thomas Parnell.
Bestowed by the Foundation’s Board of Trustees on an outstanding senior of UT Southwestern Medical School, the Ho Din Award is the most prestigious student award given to recognize the qualities inherent in all great physicians – medical wisdom and human understanding. Many Ho Din winners have gone on to achieve high levels of distinction and success in their fields, including 1985 Nobel Laureate Joseph L. Goldstein.
At the founding of the medical school in 1943, Southwestern Medical Foundation Trustees established the Ho Din Award to strongly signify the principles on which the school would be built.
James Huffines presented Dr. Parnell with the award on June 1, 2016 during UT Southwestern Medical School graduation ceremonies at UT Southwestern. The award includes a certificate, a gold medal, and a $10,000 cash prize.
“It is an honor and privilege to win this distinguished award, and I’m incredibly grateful to the Foundation for deeming me worthy of it,” said Dr. Parnell. “I am inspired by all the Ho Din winners who have come before me and by the wonderful teachers and mentors from whom I have had the pleasure to learn at UT Southwestern Medical Center.”
“Dr. Parnell embodies the principles of compassion and hard work that are the cornerstones of this great Medical School,” said Robert B. Rowling, Chairman of the Board of Southwestern Medical Foundation. “I would like to thank the Foundation and its donors for providing the financial resources to Dr. Parnell and other brilliant students so that they may go on to advance medicine for the benefit of all of us.”
“We are extraordinarily proud to honor Dr. Samuel Parnell with the 2016 Ho Din Award. Dr. Parnell embodies the spirit of caring, compassion and humanity that was the grounding on which the school was built,” said Kathleen Gibson, President and CEO of Southwestern Medical Foundation. “I’d like to thank the far-sighted civic leaders who have long understood the power and promise that academic medicine brings to our community. Generous community support inspires brilliant doctors and students to provide their highest level of effort and compassionate care.”
In addition to maintaining a 4.0 academic record, Dr. Parnell has distinguished himself through many leadership roles and through his unwavering service to the community.
While attending The University of Texas at Austin, he was awarded numerous honors, including being selected as a Distinguished College Scholar, Texas Exes Scholar, and Eisenhower Presidential Scholar in Engineering. Dr. Parnell is active in UT Southwestern campus leadership as president of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society, Vice President of Finance for the UT Southwestern Chapter of the Texas Medical Association and the American Medical Association, Seldin College Representative for Student Government, and as a leader in Southwestern Christian Leadership.
Dr. Parnell volunteers in our community providing medical care to under-served Dallas area residents at Calvert Place, Center of Hope, and The Monday Clinic—a student-run free clinic. In the past, he has served as a math tutor at a low-income high school in Austin and as a summer camp counselor for children with special needs. He also served as a volunteer for a home-building project in Honduras and was a student leader on medical relief trips in Ecuador and El Paso, Texas.
At UT Southwestern, Dr. Parnell has established a tremendous track record for initiative, clinical acumen, teamwork, empathy and compassion.
“Not only is Dr. Parnell a talented and passionate physician, but he approaches patients with an incredibly high level of thoughtfulness and compassion,” said Wes Norred, UT Southwestern Vice President for Student and Alumni Affairs.
“I was continually impressed by his innate understanding of medicine and his ability to make clinical decisions, and he was caring and thoughtful with patients. I could not ask for more from a medical student,” said Dr. Kate Tindall, his attending physician.
“My classmates and peers are truly extraordinary," Dr. Parnell said. "I know so many other students in my class who have accomplished amazing things and who are also very deserving of this award, so it means a great deal to be chosen to represent my class.”
After graduation, Dr. Parnell and his wife Rachel will move to Nashville to begin his residency in emergency medicine at Vanderbilt University.
The Ho Din Track Record of Distinction
More than 10,000 physicians have graduated from UT Southwestern, yet only a select few receive the Ho Din Award. After receiving the award, winners have often gone on to achieve high levels of success and distinction. For example, Dr. Joseph L. Goldstein, the 1966 Ho Din Award winner, was co-winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1985 – the first UT Southwestern graduate to win the coveted Nobel Prize.