Southwestern Medical Foundation names Whitney Leigh Stuard, M.D., Ph.D. the 2023 Ho Din Award Winner. This coveted and highly distinguished award was presented to Dr. Stuard for her excellence in academics, service, and scholarship. Dr. Stuard has matched to Johns Hopkins University Wilmer Eye Institute, where she will begin her training for her longstanding passion of the field of Ophthalmology.

2023 ho din award winner being interviewed at ut southwestern.

In 1943, the Ho Din Award was instituted by Southwestern Medical Foundation in conjunction with the creation of Southwestern Medical College to recognize those who exemplify the unique personal qualities embodied in all great physicians – medical wisdom and human understanding. The award represents the ideals and aspirations on which the school was built and continues to be the highest honor bestowed on a UT Southwestern medical student today. Among many others, notable recipients include George Thomas Shires, M.D. (1948), Nobel Laureate Joseph Leonard Goldstein, M.D. (1966), Elizabeth Kassanoff-Piper, M.D. (1996), and James “Brad” Cutrell, M.D. (2007). Learn more at swmedical.org/HoDin

Ho Din Award Medal.

Dr. Stuard will be honored with the Ho Din Award during the 2023 UT Southwestern Medical School commencement on May 11, 2023.

Through her life and career, Dr. Stuard has gone above and beyond in her commitment to academic excellence, as well as community involvement and patient service. As a North Texas native, Dr. Stuard has dedicated herself to the furtherment of others within the Dallas-Fort Worth area by co-founding a student interest group focused on disabilities as well as a 501c3 non-profit organization, Cradled with Love, which has provided over 1,000 mothers with baby wraps to allow for kangaroo care. She also co-founded and managed Brother Bills Helping Hands Student-Run Free Clinic and has served on the Board of Directors of the Society for Student-Run Free Clinics. She took her interest in service and community education even further through a Schweitzer Fellowship during which she created a STEM Empowerment and Education Course with 250 students, in addition to authoring and receiving a TMA Foundation Grant for a STEM project that impacted over 4,000 students. Additionally, Dr. Stuard helped author more than 30 policies to improve patient care through her volunteer advocacy.


  • Dr. Stuard completed her high school studies at the prestigious Texas Academy of Mathematics & Science after which she enrolled in UT PACT, a 7-year combined BA/MD program at UT Dallas and UT Southwestern
  • While a student at UTSW, she has maintained a perfect 4.0 GPA
  • For her sustained academic excellence, she was selected for the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society as a junior medical student and now serves as the organization’s Co-President
  • Accepted into the Medical Scientist Training Program after her third year of medical school
  • Dr. Stuard received an NIH F30 Predoctoral Fellowship grant from the National Eye Institute after her first attempt
  • Received grants from the Lions Foundation for Sight and the Eye Banking Association of America Pilot Grant
  • Dr. Stuard has nine first-author peer-reviewed publications and numerous posters and presentations at national and international conferences, several of which have been awarded or received special recognition
  • While a student at UTSW, Dr. Stuard has received the Gold Presidential Service Award four times and was a finalist for the UTSW Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship Award in 2016
  • She has served as Co-President of the UTSW Texas Medical Association / American Medical Association Student Chapter and as Vice-Speaker for the American Medical Association Medical Student Section
  • Dr. Stuard has also served on the Board of Directors of the Dallas County Medical Society
  • She was recognized as the TMA Student of the Year in 2021


ABOUT SOUTHWESTERN MEDICAL FOUNDATION                                      

Southwestern Medical Foundation is a public charity and a registered 501(c)(3) organized in 1939 with a question: “Why not a great medical center in the Southwestern United States?” The Foundation was created to rally citizens in support of the highest quality health care possible in the Southwestern US. Out of that community vision, UT Southwestern Medical Center emerged. Today it remains the Foundation’s partner and most significant beneficiary. Southwestern Medical Foundation is guided by four core principles: Service to Community, Vision of Excellence, Mindful Stewardship, and Best Outcomes. Each principle is a promise to donors, beneficiaries, and generations to come that the Foundation is dedicated to bringing the gift of better health to the Southwest and the world beyond. Southwestern Medical Foundation continues to earn a Candid (formerly GuideStar) Platinum Seal and Charity Navigator Four Star Rating. These organizations rate governance, accountability, and transparency, supported by both qualitative and quantitative measures. Learn more at www.swmedical.org.

ABOUT UT SOUTHWESTERN MEDICAL CENTER                              

UT Southwestern, one of the nation’s premier academic medical centers, integrates pioneering biomedical research with exceptional clinical care and education. The institution’s faculty has received six Nobel Prizes, and includes 26 members of the National Academy of Sciences, 18 members of the National Academy of Medicine, and 14 Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigators. The full-time faculty of more than 2,900 is responsible for groundbreaking medical advances and is committed to translating science-driven research quickly to new clinical treatments. UT Southwestern physicians provide care in more than 80 specialties to more than 100,000 hospitalized patients, more than 360,000 emergency room cases, and oversee nearly 4 million outpatient visits a year. Learn more at /www.utsouthwestern.edu/.