In May, cardiologist Joseph Gascho ‘68 received the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award, given annually at Penn State College of Medicine by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation. (Courtesy photo)

Cardiologist Joseph Gascho ’68 honored with Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award

Cardiologist Joseph Gascho ’68 was selected from among nine nominees to receive the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award, given annually at Penn State College of Medicine by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation.

Dr. Joseph Gascho ’68 with his photography in January 2018 at the Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. (Photo courtesy of Penn State Health)

The award recognizes and honors one faculty member “who demonstrates both clinical excellence and outstanding compassion in the delivery of care and who shows respect for patients, their families and healthcare colleagues.”

More than 100 medical schools present the annual award to a deserving graduating senior or a doctor.

Gascho is described in a press release as a “gifted physician, professor, photographer and poet.”

He directs the Cardiology Fellowship Program, incorporating humanism into learning by sharing cardiology images that have inspired poetry.

Medical students have praised Gascho as a “reflective encouraging teacher who always pushed his students to think deeply about tough professional, ethical and social issues, and modeled himself as doing the same.”

Gascho has exhibited photographs of his patients and support staff at Penn State. “In hospitals, I want people to see that people are more than they appear to be on the surface,” he said in a January 2018 article posted on the Penn State Medicine blog. “Patients are more than just patients, and doctors are more than just doctors.”

Gascho’s photography and poetry often includes images of the heart, like this one of the left atrium, left ventricle and aorta with the color demonstrating the flow of blood into and out of the heart. (Courtesy of Joseph Gascho)

Among his publications on cardiac enzymes and interventional cardiology is a first-prize award for poetry in the Annals of Internal Medicine. He has published a book of poetry, Cornfields, Cottonwoods, Seagulls and Sermons: Growing up in Nebraska (Cascadia, 2017).

“As a cardiologist,” Gascho says, “I see diastole as a symbol of humanism. Diastole is when the heart fills with blood. I want my patient interactions to be ‘diastoles,’ times when I ‘fill,’ not just with the obviously important medical facts, but also with the equally important non-medical aspects of their lives.”

Gascho, who has been taking photos since the 1960s (he took his favorite through a pair of binoculars in 1965 at President Lyndon B. Johnson’s inauguration), presented about his photography, poetry and work at EMU during the 2015 Homecoming weekend.

Join the Discussion on “Cardiologist Joseph Gascho ’68 honored with Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award

  1. In addition to being an excellent cardiologist, Joe is a quintessential person in many other ways. His roots in Anabaptist theology run deep. Dealing forthrightly with tough ethical and social issues exemplifies the practicality of his theological commitments. His compassionate care connects deeply with the Spirit of Jesus.

  2. Congratulations, Joseph!
    Your weaving together of science, humanity, and the ordinary is a beautiful gift to us all!

  3. What a wonderful and well-deserved recognition for someone with the great gifts of weaving the fabric of truth across many different disciplines. Congratulations Joseph!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *