Humanism in Medicine Award Honors First Recipient

M.D./M.P.H. candidate Jordyn Williams received the inaugural Jacobo Wajner, M.D., Humanism in Medicine Award recognizing altruism, empathy and compassion in patient care.

Jordyn Williams with Dr. Jacobo Wajner at the award ceremony
Jordyn Williams and Dr. Jacobo Wajner

Even though she’s still in training to earn her dual degrees, Jordyn Williams said she feels privileged to practice medicine and tries to approach each learning experience with love, enthusiasm and gratitude.

This perspective hasn’t gone unnoticed. On May 30, the M.D./M.P.H. candidate from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine Class of 2025 received the inaugural Jacobo Wajner, M.D., Humanism in Medicine Award. The honor recognizes altruism, empathy and compassion, many of the same attributes Williams tries to incorporate in her conversations with patients.

“I want to thank Dr. Wajner for being such a great example for me and all the future physicians here,” Williams said. “He radiates kindness and always spends the time necessary to ensure patients feel heard and seen and receive adequate care.”

That sentiment is shared by supporters Randi Freedman and Andrew Zinman, longtime patients who established the award in honor of Dr. Wajner in gratitude for his care. They say the assistant professor of medicine at the Miller School is a “one-of-a-kind physician.”

“Many of today’s physicians don’t take the time to listen to their patients,” said Freedman. “They may be technically proficient with medical skills, but Dr. Wajner conveys a sense of warmth that instills a sense of trust. He is thoughtful about how he assesses everything while providing great medical advice and skill.”

“We wanted to thank him with something that combined all the traits we find so special about him,” Zinmann added. “We want the students to know just how important these attributes are for their patients and medicine overall.”

A Role Model for Humanism in Medicine

Born in Cuba, Dr. Wajner attended medical school at the University of Havana, where he graduated with honors in 1991. He completed residencies in family medicine and internal medicine and a training fellowship in cardiology before moving to the United States in 2006.

Since joining the Miller School in 2015, he has been the co-director of its clinical skills program and is currently the house lead for the innovative NextGenMD curriculum, which aims to transform medical students into transformative health care leaders and practitioners.

“I want to express my heartfelt thanks to Randi and Andrew,” said Dr. Wajner. “This is not only a great honor for me but a huge benefit for future physicians. Whatever challenges we face in medicine, we must never forget that our patients deserve the best from us.”

Dean Henri R. Ford, Jordyn Williams, Dr. Jacobo Wajner and Dr. Latha Chandran
From left, Dean Henri Ford, Jordyn Williams, Dr. Jacobo Wajner and Dr. Latha Chandran

He added, “To the young generation of physicians, this scholarship is a reminder to remain humble in front of your future patients.”

Henri Ford, M.D., M.H.A., the Miller School’s dean and chief academic officer, echoed that sentiment while congratulating Dr. Wajner.

“Dr. Wajner truly exemplifies humanism in medicine,” said Dean Ford. “He is an excellent role model and an inspiration for our students who will be the next generation of transformational health care leaders.”

Exemplifying Patient-centered Qualities

During her training at the Miller School, Williams has focused on removing health access barriers in underserved South Florida communities.

She volunteers with the Mitchell Wolfson Sr. Department of Community Service (Wolfson DOCS) and SHOP DOCS, a volunteer organization that partners with barbers to reduce health disparities in minority communities.

She was a tutor for the University of Miami’s summer program, helping pre-medical students from underrepresented backgrounds. As co-chair of the Student National Medical Association (SNMA) community outreach programs, Williams coordinated weekend educational activities for underprivileged middle school students, was involved in undergraduate mentoring and was part of a pre-med hotline that helps underserved students meet their academic goals.

Latha Chandran, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A., executive dean for education and the Bernard J. Fogel Chair in Medical Education at the Miller School, said the award will inspire the next generation of physicians, particularly those who exemplify the same patient-centered and humanistic qualities as Dr. Wajner.

“At the Miller School, we seek out the best and brightest medical students who value these attributes,” said Dr. Chandran, also founding chair of the Department of Medical Education.

Get Involved

Tags: medical education, student leadership