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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Tucson shooting remembered through solidarity

Courtesy of University of Arizona Medical Center

The UA chapter of the Gold Humanism Honor Society is planning special events this week in celebration of the fourth annual National Solidarity Day for Compassionate Patient Care.

The first Solidarity Day was in 2011 to commemorate the shooting that took place in that Tucson wounded former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and several others. The national commemoration was inspired by Dr. Randall Friese, a UA associate professor of surgery and one of the first physicians to care for Giffords after she was shot. Friese said the compassion shown by doctors toward their patients struck a chord with the nation.

“It was very humbling,” Friese said. “All I was doing was being a complete physician.”

The week’s events began on Monday, and cups were passed around with information about Solidarity Day. They also contained comment cards that allowed doctors, nurses and students to honor someone they had witnessed showing compassion or to share what humanism means to them.

Today, Art Aloud, a group sponsored by the College of Medicine’s Program in Medical Humanities, will be meeting to do stand-up poetry and readings focusing on the theme of compassionate patient care. The event will take place in the University of Arizona Medical Center’s Java City at noon. A banner will also be on display for people to sign or to write a description their definition of compassion and humanism on.

Solidarity Day is Friday, and events will commence at 11:45 a.m. in the Arizona Health Sciences Center Plaza at the UAMC with a speech by Friese, as well as speeches by others in patient advocacy and hospital administration.

In keeping with the tradition of the yearly celebration, a human chain will be formed in a circle around the plaza. Everyone present will hold hands and share a moment of solidarity. The significance of this human chain goes beyond the simple act of holding hands, organizers said.

“You hold hands … and you make a connection,” said Dr. Andreas Theodorou, the adviser to the UA chapter of the Gold Humanism Honor Society. “It doesn’t take long to make a human connection with somebody next to you.”

The events will close with a performance by Doc-Apella, an a capella group comprised mostly of medical students.

Valentine’s Day was chosen for the anniversary of this celebration because it happened to fall just a few weeks after the mass shooting took place, giving the day the space to stand on its own while still honoring what had occurred.

There was a big push this year was to get the word out about the events occurring this week to ensure that everyone was included.

“It’s fun … to see how far we can reach [out to] people,” said Ashley Bartholomew, the president of the UA chapter of the Gold Humanism Honor Society. “You … meet people that you haven’t met before.”

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