Myra J. Quanrud, clinical associate professor of pediatrics at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences Southeast Campus in Fargo, was honored with the prestigious Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Faculty Award at the medical school’s commencement on May 13. Christopher P. Irmen, a 2012 UND medical school graduate, received the Tow award for graduating medical students.
The Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Awards are sponsored by the New Jersey-based Arnold P. Gold Foundation. The awards recognize a physician and a graduating medical student who best demonstrate the foundation’s ideals of outstanding compassion in the delivery of care, respect for patients, their families and health care colleagues, as well as demonstrated clinical excellence. The Gold Foundation sponsors the annual Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Awards at over 90 of the nation’s medical schools. The awards are made possible through a generous donation from entrepreneur and teacher Leonard Tow.
“She defines compassion, integrity and excellence. She works tirelessly to represent the rights of and provide the best care for a population who are vulnerable and oftentimes without a voice” said Meredith Reisenauer, M.D., UND Class of 2012, in nominating Quanrud for the award. “Her young patients vary from having developmental disabilities to complex medical problems. No matter what their story, their situation, or their needs, she embraces them and cares for them as if they were her own. Although these children stay outside of the home, some for many years, she ensures families are included in their care, and she attempts to give them the most ‘normal’ childhood possible during their stay.”
Quanrud practices pediatrics for Essentia Health–Jamestown Clinic and is medical director for the Anne Carlsen Center in Jamestown. She graduated from the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences in 1990, and completed residency training in pediatrics at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo., where she was chief resident. She is certified by the American Board of Pediatrics and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, where she serves on the Academy’s sections on Children with Special Health Care Needs, Children with Developmental Disabilities, and the Medical Home Program for Children with Special Needs. In 2008, Quanrud was honored as Jamestown’s first-ever Community Physician of the Year.
“She faces unique challenges on a daily basis that many of us won’t face in our lifetime,” Reisenauer said. “It takes a unique, special person to do what she does. We are blessed to have physicians like her in North Dakota who serve our communities, take the time to educate, and act as role models for aspiring future physicians.”
Bismarck native Christopher P. Irmen, M.D. 2012, was nominated by classmate Elizabeth Blixt. “Being very humble, Chris would never imagine being nominated,” Blixt said. “He is devoted to the patient. He has great respect and empathy for others and treats everyone with equality.”
Irmen is entering the Family Medicine Residency Program at Altru Health System in Grand Forks. He was inducted into the Gold Humanism Honor Society on June 16, 2011, after completing his third year of medical school. In addition to his newly awarded MD, Irmen also earned his Ph.D. in Anatomy and Cell Biology from UND in 2008. “He was more than happy to help with teaching sessions outside of class and quizzing in the cadaver lab,” Blixt said.
“He chose family medicine for many reasons, but one of which was his dedication to the patient,” she said. “Chris was considering radiology, but feared he would miss the direct patient contact. He has strong personal values and lives them every day. When I think of the word ‘integrity,’ I think of Chris.”