Lincoln Memorial University


Faculty and Staff Give Free Hugs to Medical Students

Harrogate, Tennessee, March 8, 2017 – Compassion was the focus during National Solidarity Week for Compassionate Patient Care at Lincoln Memorial-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine. Solidarity Week, sponsored by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation, a non-profit organization that promotes patient-centered care, was held February 13-17, 2017. The events of Solidarity Week are designed to strengthen the critical bond that exists between patients and people who care for them, and demonstrate humanism in medicine.


The week’s activities were planned by LMU-DCOM’s chapter of the Gold Humanism Honor Society (GHHS). GHHS is one of the largest and most prestigious honor societies in medical schools, and a signature program of the Arnold P. Gold Foundation. LMU-DCOM is one of 13 osteopathic medical schools approved to have a GHHS program.

“One of the best ways we can teach students to have compassion for others is by showing them compassion personally,” said Rick Slaven, director of the LMU-DCOM Center for Simulation and Training and chapter liaison for the LMU-DCOM GHHS chapter. “We want to lead by example. During this week, we shared stories of compassion with our students and encouraged them to think about how they can show compassion to their patients.”


On Tuesday, faculty and staff posted encouraging post it notes around the building and then greeted first-year osteopathic medical students with free hugs and chocolate kisses as they exited their block exam. Later that week they also surprised second-year students with the same.


On Thursday, students listened intently to stories of compassion from several speakers including Kenny Trent, RN, who shared his experience working in the emergency room when three family members suffered fatal injuries in a car accident. Bob Jackson, a retired military chaplain and LMU-DCOM staff member, shared his experiences with doctors that showed compassion to both him and his wife Nancy during difficult medical situations. Finally, Dr. Michael Wieting, senior associate dean and professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation, brought the students, faculty and staff to tears with his story of being the sole survivor of a car crash involving five of his friends.


Throughout the week students, faculty and staff pondered what compassion meant to them, and shared their experiences on social media using #SolidarityWeek and posted definitions of compassion throughout the building.


By increasing the engagement of patients and those people providing their healthcare, GHHS strives to enhance patient and staff satisfaction and improve healthcare outcomes. More information on GHHS and the Gold Foundation can be found at


The DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine is located on the campus of Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee. LMU-DCOM is an integral part of LMU’s values-based learning community, and is dedicated to preparing the next generation of osteopathic physicians to provide health care in the often underserved region of Appalachia and beyond. For more information about LMU-DCOM, call 1-800.325.0900, ext. 7082, e-mail, or visit us online at




423.869.3611 | 800.325.0900
6965 Cumberland Gap Parkway
Harrogate, TN 37752