It is no surprise that UT Southwestern Medical Center attracts outstanding students. Those who complete their medical degrees at UT Southwestern Medical School join thousands of alumni who have traversed the world, striving to improve the health of others. And within their ranks exists a remarkable group, the recipients of the Ho Din Award.

Established in 1943 in honor of Dr. Edward H. Cary, the Ho Din is the highest recognition that can be bestowed on a UT Southwestern Medical School graduate and is given by Southwestern Medical Foundation. The award’s name is a Greek acronym meaning “the spirit of medical wisdom” and honors those who combine medical wisdom with human understanding at the highest level.

Regarding inspiration for the award, a 1944 Dallas Morning News article quotes an anonymous UT Southwestern faculty member saying, “The idea is to foster and stimulate in Southwestern Medical College the spirit that the school wants to turn out real physicians with a kindly understanding of their patients as human beings – not just to turn out brilliant scientifically trained men without any of the attributes of the truly great physicians of the past who served their patients with sympathy as well as skill.”

The first recipients of the Ho Din Award were eight physicians designated as the “Founders.” This group included Dr. Cary, who was noteworthy for leaving an indelible mark on the medical profession in Dallas and medical education in the state of Texas, as well as Dr. G.T. Caldwell, whose exceptional abilities were in part responsible for the institution’s early reputation as a medical school graced with noteworthy faculty.

Over the years, many prominent physicians have received the prestigious award, including Nobel Laureate Dr. Joseph Goldstein and Dr. Charles James Carrico, the first physician to examine President John F. Kennedy when he arrived at Parkland Memorial Hospital on Nov. 22, 1963. Dr. Mary Alice Bone became the first woman honored with the Ho Din in 1955.

In special circumstances, the award is also given to UT Southwestern faculty members or administrators who embody the spirit of the Ho Din through their service to humanity. The most recent recipient of the honor in this capacity was Dr. Donald Seldin in 2016.
With Dr. Phil Tolley receiving the Ho Din in 2018, the award’s legacy continues. The honor inspires future generations of medical students to combine the traits essential to being both an excellent physician and a humanitarian.

Dr. Goldstein, a Regental Professor, holds the Julie and Louis A. Beecherl, Jr. Distinguished Chair in Biomedical Research, and the Paul J. Thomas Chair in Medicine.