Brian Shafa

February 07, 2011

The Wayne State University School of Medicine Student Senate recognized Brian Shafa with a Student Golden Heart Award. The annual award honors a medical student who has displayed care and understanding of patients, and who balances scholastic achievement with outstanding patient care, community service and leadership.

Shafa received the award during the annual Student Gala at the Motor City Casino Hotel on Jan. 29.

Senate Executive Board President Andy Isaacson said that Shafa has “continued to show leadership and professionalism through his numerous volunteer and student representative positions. Whether it is sitting on the curriculum and admission committees, serving as a clinical campus representative, co-founding a public health organization for management of infectious disease in Haiti following the earthquake or doing local community service at places such as Covenant Clinic, [Shafa] works tirelessly not only for the betterment of the Wayne State University School of Medicine, but also for world health.”

A fellow student who nominated Shafa said of him, “His dedication to others throughout medical school has surpassed anyone’s expectations for a medical student.” Another said Shafa “has never sat idly while complaining about any aspect of our school or chosen profession. He continues to create opportunities to make changes, even if most of the changes affect others more than himself.”

Originally from Los Angeles, Calif., Shafa is a third-year medical student studying to become a surgeon.

“Receiving this recognition from my colleagues and classmates is a great honor,” Shafa said. “I am excited to represent the student body in each activity with which I am involved, and do my best to make the students, faculty, administration and school proud.  I have received great support from my classmates since the beginning of first year, and am happy to see that they continue to trust and support me as we all work together to further our medical careers. … The fact that my classmates allow me to represent them in working with the administration is thanks enough, but this award is something I will cherish throughout my career.”

While studying and working in hospitals remain his top priorities, Shafa, who completed his undergraduate studies in biology and public health at Johns Hopkins University, said he has always believed that “a truly well-rounded medical education must include community outreach, whether that be my school community, the local Detroit community, or reaching out to Haiti.

“The faculty and administration have been incredibly generous, allowing me to travel and invest the necessary time to complete my goals,” he said. “Though it is possible that I have lost some potential book-study time, I feel the education that I have gained through my volunteer work has more than compensated. It may be due to my background in public health, but I will always feel that the practice of medicine can not, and should not, be separated from community outreach, and I hope that I can remain equally involved wherever my career may take me.”

150 years in the heart of Detroit