Two receive Leonard Tow Humanism Award

Alëna Balasanova, MD, associate professor in the department of psychiatry, and graduating medical student Laura Flores, PhD

Alëna Balasanova, MD, associate professor in the department of psychiatry, and graduating medical student Laura Flores, PhD

Alëna Balasanova, MD, associate professor in the department of psychiatry, and Laura Flores, PhD, a graduating medical student, have received the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award.

The Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award, presented by The Arnold P. Gold Foundation, recognizes faculty members and medical students who are exemplars of humanism in the care of patients. This award is the society’s highest honor.

Dr. Balasanova said this award means a lot to her.

“I’m very honored,” she said. “This award is all about humanistic medicine, and that’s what I try to teach. We have these conversations all the time on my service about our shared humanity and seeing patients as people and not just as patients. Being recognized in this way is validating and very meaningful because it reinforces what I do every day and encourages me to keep doing it.”

Drs. Balasanova and Flores were chosen by members of Gold Humanism Honor Society chapter at UNMC.

Allison Ashford, MD, associate professor in the UNMC Department of Internal Medicine/Pediatrics and GHHS faculty co-advisor, said Dr. Balasanova was recognized because she is an “exemplar of humanism in the care of patients.” Dr. Balasanova is co-director of the Addiction Psychiatry Consultation-Liaison Service at Nebraska Medical Center.

Dr. Flores, who plans to go into radiation oncology, was credited for her priority of uplifting the people around her. Nominees said she is dedicated to working with underserved populations, has started dialogues within the Gold Humanism Honor Society about standards of professionalism and teaches a medical humanities course called “Writing about Sickness and Health.” 

One nominee said, “She consistently demonstrates compassion and empathy in her patient care, research, advocacy and personal life.”

Dr. Flores said she was flattered to have been nominated for this award by her Gold Humanism Honor Society peers.

“Receiving the student Leonard Tow Humanism Award fills me with a sense of gratitude and pride for the work I have done within the GHHS community and across UNMC’s campus,” she said. “GHHS, as an organization, is full of outstanding humans who strive to make our campus a better place, and I look forward to cheering on each of our members as they move into the next phase of their training.”

Both award recipients have been inducted as lifelong members of the GHHS.

The University of Nebraska School of Medicine Chapter of the Gold Humanism Honor Society was founded in 2015 with support from the Arnold P. Gold Foundation. The UNMC chapter is part of the greater national GHHS organization that recognizes and supports humanistic exemplars in medicine. Being a member of GHHS is a significant honor and GHHS status is recognized as comparable to selection into other medical honor societies such as Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA).


  1. Nathan Bills says:

    Congratulations Dr. Flores on the humanism award! And good luck with your residency!

  2. Kaleb Michaud says:

    Congratulations to you both!

  3. Brigette Vaughan says:

    Congratulations, Dr. Balasanova! This honor fits you perfectly!

  4. Laura Bilek says:

    Congratulations!! A well-deserved honor, Dr. Flores. I am so proud of you!

  5. Saravanakumar Marimuthu says:

    Congratulations Dr. Flores!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.