An Akron General physician is being honored for her dedication to the personal, human side of medicine.
Dr. Debbie Plate, clinical associate director at the Akron General Center for Family Medicine, recently was selected by students at Northeast Ohio Medical University in Rootstown Township as this year’s Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award winner.
The award is presented at 96 participating medical schools each year to recognize “outstanding compassion in the delivery of care, respect for patients, their families and health-care colleagues, as well as demonstrated clinical excellence,” according to the Arnold P. Gold Foundation, a national nonprofit that emphasizes the importance of the doctor-patient relationship.
Plate works with residents and medical students in her role at Akron General. She said she was influenced by her 73-year-old mother, who still works as an elementary school principal in Willoughby, to become a teacher as well as a medical provider.
“Growing up with a teacher certainly has an impact on you,” she said. “It’s really something I enjoy.”
In her teaching role, Plate said she encourages doctors-in-training to take the time to get to know more about their patients’ lives. Family stresses and job concerns, for example, can impact on health.
“If you don’t know the whole patient, it’s hard to take care of the whole patient,” she said. “We’re not just looking at the gallbladder or fracture. We’re looking at who is this person with the gallbladder or fracture.”
Plate also hosts a medical radio show that airs at 10 a.m. every Saturday on WAKR (1590-AM).
“What we’re doing is bringing on things that I think patients want to hear about or what I think the community wants to hear about,” she said.
Plate will be inducted into the NEOMED Chapter of the Gold Humanism Honor Society this summer. As part of the honor, she also has been asked to serve as the keynote speaker in August at the M3 Student Clinical Ceremony. The annual ceremony marks the start of the third year of medical school, when students begin regular rotations in different areas of hospitals.
Plate, 52, lives in Hudson with her husband, Jim. She has two college-age children — one who is pre-med and the other who is studying pre-veterinary medicine.
Cheryl Powell can be reached at 330-996-3902 or firstname.lastname@example.org.