Abraham Verghese
Abraham Verghese was awarded the National Humanities award by President Barack Obama.

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — Dr. Abraham Verghese, a physician at Stanford University, last week was awarded the National Humanities Award by U.S. President Barack Obama in a ceremony in the East Room of the White House.

The Indian American, who was among 12 recipients of the medal, said, “The human aspects of medicine, what the patients feel and what doctors feel are to me just as important as the kind of hard-core scientific knowledge about cells and molecule function that we also must study.”

Other awardees included authors, a poet, physician, historian, chef and a higher education program, in conjunction with the National Medal of Arts.

According to the National Endowment of Humanities, Verghese was awarded the medal “for reminding us that the patient is the center of the medical enterprise. His range of proficiency embodies the diversity of the humanities; from his efforts to emphasize empathy in medicine, to his imaginative renderings of the human drama.”

“This is a special honor for a physician,” said Dr. Lloyd Minor, dean of the Stanford School of Medicine. “Through his writings and his work as a physician, Abraham has worked to battle what he has seen as a lack of humanism in modern medicine. The courage to follow his own path and the compassion he has brought to his work, have made the world a better place.”

Created as an independent federal agency in 1965, NEH awards grants that support research, education, preservation and public programs in the humanities. NEH is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

Since 1996, when the first National Humanities Medal was given, 175 individuals and 13 organizations have been honored.