We are inspired by the many voices in our community who advocate for critical public health initiatives, driving progress in medicine where it’s needed most. As we look to our leaders of the past and present in our medical community, we celebrate the lessons taught throughout history and look ahead to the lessons that our healers of tomorrow teach us.
Priyanka Gaur, M.D., M.P.H., Southwestern Medical Foundation’s 2020 Ho Din Award recipient, and Richard E. Hoffman, M.D., M.P.H., a Foundation Trustee and the 2020 Ho Din Award presenter, serve as a reminder of the leaders whose voices are needed for our community to come together and support one another in the challenging times we are facing.
Today’s Heroes, Tomorrow’s Leaders
Southwestern Medical Foundation 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.
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.
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
Richard E. Hoffman, M.D., M.P.H. is a renowned epidemiologist and public health expert and a UT Southwestern 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 Priyanka Gaur, M.D., M.P.H. 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.
Dr. Richard E. Hoffman, Southwestern Medical Foundation Trustee and 2020 Ho Din Award Presenter
“[Dr. Gaur] is an outstanding medical student who has achieved exceptional grades and earned a Master of Public Health concurrently,” said Dr. Hoffman. “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. Richard Hoffman has always viewed UT Southwestern in a positive light. His father served on the Southwestern Medical Foundation Board, and both his parents received The Sprague Award, the Foundation’s highest community distinction awarded to outstanding philanthropists. In 2015, Dr. Hoffman and his mother established the Hoffman Family Center for Genetics and Epidemiology at UT Southwestern the same year he was appointed a Trustee of the Foundation Board.
Dr. Hoffman earned his medical degree UT Southwestern Medical School and appreciates the level of education he received from a top tier school. He has watched over the years as his professors achieved greatness.
Like Dr. Priyanka Gaur, Dr. Hoffman holds a Master of Public Health. He resides in Denver, where he has lived throughout the majority of his almost 50-year career, first serving as the Chief Epidemiologist for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, followed by Chief Medical Officer for the State. In 1999, he wrote the Colorado law that prepared the state for pandemic influenza, epidemics caused by other novel viruses, and bioterrorist attacks.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Drs. Hoffman and Gaur look to the future with confidence and hope.
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