Highlighting the Heroes: University of Chicago Grad Up for $25K Award

Our H.E.R.O. Award -Honoring Excellent Resident Observations – was launched to highlight the personal sacrifices and educational commitment during a medical resident’s professional adult life.  We realize, considering the fast moving changes in healthcare,  how courageous medical residents are to embark upon a career in medicine with such an uncertain future.  This award is our way of recognizing that courage.

We wanted to take a moment to introduce you to our nominees individually:

Medical Debt

Daniel Thorngren

Internal Medicine-Pediatrics/University of Miami-Jackson Memorial Hospital – Miami, FL
More than anything else, the thing that made Dan’s medical school experience memorable was going to Central America. Between his 3rd and 4th years at the University of Chicago, Dan went to El Salvador for 7 months to volunteer and learn with the organization Doctors for Global Health. During this time he practiced Spanish, lent a helping hand in a primary care clinic, did some personal reflection, and, as he tells it, “ate the best tortillas ever.” Combined Internal Medicine and Pediatrics is the perfect fit for Dan. The person who nominated Dan had this to say about him:
I’m lucky to call Dan a best friend, but he’s maybe not so lucky because I’m a neurotic mother. Dan has talked me down from multiple ledges pertaining to health scares with my children – including several hours on the phone while he was out of the country talking me through an unusual infection. He was able to explain antibiotics and how they work in a way that no one else could. He was also able to make me laugh and calm my nerves in a way that is authentic to Dan. He is calm, patient, and incredibly effective at explaining the hows and whys of medicine to a layperson like myself. I believe that Dan will encounter lots of patients and parents like me throughout his career in medicine. To think about how many fears he will squash and how many people he will put at ease just by being himself is extremely satisfying to think about. He is incredible at talking with, not at, every type of person. Not to mention, the way Dan is with children is so fun to watch! He interacts with my kids in such a playful and loving way that anyone who witnesses would no doubt want him as their pediatrician. Any parent would be lucky to have someone as earnest and kind as Dan take care of their children.
There are a lot of things Dan wants to do with his career, not the least of which includes lessening health care disparities. He has remarkable empathy for every person he meets and cares about their situation in a way that is unique to him. Seeing the inequalities in healthcare access throughout his travels and during medical school have made him believe more than ever that he belongs in medicine, providing care to those people that society sometimes forgets. Dan sacrificed living for himself and lives in a way that is not self-serving, which is a rarity and makes him a pleasure to be around. He  lives his life in a way to benefit the greater good and never thinks twice about making sacrifices for others. Vote for Daniel here. If you know a resident that deserves to be recognized, please nominate your candidate here.