Piemonte Receives Kingfisher Award

Piemonte Receives Kingfisher Award

When Nicole Piemonte, PhD, accepted this year’s Kingfisher Award, she related how surprised she was when she first learned that her background in medical humanities would be extremely valuable at Creighton.

A leader in medical humanities, Piemonte has created and implemented new curricula for Creighton’s two campuses, including the new Master of Arts in Medical Humanities.

As assistant dean of student affairs for the medical school in Phoenix, assistant professor of medical humanities and the Peekie Nash Carpenter Endowed Chair in Medicine, Piemonte has been instrumental in making humanities a core element of Creighton medical student formation.

“I am so, so grateful, honored, humbled and shocked to be receiving this award,” she said, recalling when a now-colleague asked to meet with her at a national conference after hearing that she held a PhD in medical humanities.

“I’d been hired as an academic support person for third- and fourth-year medical students in Phoenix, and I thought perhaps my academic work in the medical humanities would just be a minor part of my everyday work,” Piemonte said.

She learned that day that the medical humanities “are critical to medical education at Creighton” and that the medical school’s dean, Robert “Bo” Dunlay, MD’81, is a “huge supporter of the medical humanities and wanted more of it in the curriculum.”

The medical humanities help future physicians and health care professionals see that medicine is about more than biological functions; it is a study of the human condition, she said.

The Kingfisher Award is presented annually by the Office of the President in partnership with Creighton’s Kingfisher Institute to recognize faculty and staff who demonstrate the creative application of humanities principles and practices and integrate the humanities and other disciplines or professions.

Piemonte is the author of two books, Afflicted: How Vulnerability Can Heal Medical Education and Practice and her most recent, Death and Dying.

This year’s Kingfisher Award also was given for the first time in an honorable mention category. Matt Seevers, PhD, professor and associate dean, and Debbie Wells, PhD, associate professor and interim chair of the Department of Accounting and Business Intelligence and Analytics, both of the Heider College of Business, and Rebecca Murray, PhD, BSSOC’96, professor and associate dean, Amy Wendling, PhD, professor, and Holly Ann Harris, PhD, professor and associate dean for the natural sciences, all from the College of Arts and Sciences, established the newly created Kingfisher Concentrations, part of the Heider Mindset Curriculum, connecting otherwise separate areas of study.

Through the leadership of Seevers, these concentrations enrich the academic experience for both business and arts and sciences students, giving them greater exposure and space to explore other fields.