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Portrait of Dr. Careyana Brenham
Portrait of Dr. Elizabeth Valencia
Portrait of Dr. John Murphy

June 5, 2009

SIU Med School Announces Annual Humanism, Teaching Awards

Several awards and honors have been announced as part of the 35th commencement on May 16 at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in Springfield.

A faculty member and graduating senior were named recipients of the 2009 Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award during commencement ceremonies.  Dr. Careyana Brenham, assistant professor of family and community medicine, and Dr. Elizabeth Valencia were recognized as two individuals who demonstrate compassion, respect for patients and families, and clinical excellence.  The award is sponsored by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation.

Brenham’s nominator said she displays “compassion for patients, devotion to community service and wonderful leadership skills.  She always is willing to take time out of her busy life as a physician and mother to help others….Dr. Brenham is always available to students when they need her.  She is a superb mentor to medical students and an enthusiastic teacher.  Her clinical interests include preventing domestic abuse and dealing with victims of child abuse….In 2000, she was the student recipient of this same humanism award.”  Brenham joined SIU’s faculty in 2003.

Valencia’s nominator said “…she has helped to organize the Cover the Uninsured Week activities at SIU and volunteered for a migrant worker clinic in Beardstown that primarily serves Latino patients….She consistently demonstrates the highest levels of empathy, professionalism and true devotion to medicine and community service.  Her cultural sensitivity, concern about physical and psychological well-being of her patients and excellent communication skills allow her to take on a role of advocate for her patients.  She is an outstanding example of what a medical student can be.”  Valencia received the combined MD/JD degree after six years of study in both medicine and law.

During the graduation reception, Dr. John E. Murphy, professor and chair of the pathology department, received the Golden Apple Award for outstanding teaching.

His student nominators said “Dr. Murphy has played an integral part in our medical education and instilled a passion for learning pathology.  He held a voluntary series of preparatory lectures and his elective in pathology is one of the most sought after classes.  He has been not only a teacher, but a friend to our class and always has been there to give words of wisdom and encouragement."  Murphy has been a volunteer faculty member since 1977 and was named department chair in 2003.  He has previously received SIU’s Golden Apple Award four times.

The graduates also honored two faculty members with roles during the commencement ceremony.  Dr. David A. Rogers, professor of pediatric surgery, read the Hippocratic Oath.  Dr. Andrew Varney, associate professor of internal medicine, hooded the graduates.

The class previously honored Kara Caruthers, a former gross anatomy instructor, as the Carbondale Teacher of the Year for her efforts during their first year.

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Valencia will enter a preliminary internal medicine residency at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center in July, followed by diagnostic radiology residency at St. Joseph’s Hospital, both in Phoenix, Ariz.  She is the daughter of Michael and Socorro Cabrera of Richland, Wash., and is married to Luis Valencia.  She is a graduate of Rancho Buena Vista High School (1994) and MacMurrary College, where she earned her bachelor’s degree (1999).

Brenham completed a faculty development fellowship and her family medicine residency both at SIU (2004, 2003).  She earned her medical degree at SIU (2000) and bachelor’s degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1996).  Brenham is board certified in family medicine.


thern Illinois University School of Medicine Office of Public Affairs News Releases P.O. Box 19621, Springfield IL 62794-9621, 217-545-2155