Verghese to receive Heinz Award

verghese-150-13ABRAHAM VERGHESE, professor of medicine and best-selling author of the novel Cutting for Stone, has been selected to receive the $250,000 Heinz Award for Arts and Humanities.

“Dr. Verghese’s widely acclaimed writings touch the heart and inform the soul, giving people of all walks of life a true understanding of what it is to heal the whole person — not just physically, but emotionally,” TERESA HEINZ, chair of the Heinz Family Foundation, said in a news release announcing the annual Heinz Awards in five different categories: arts and humanities; the environment; the human condition; public policy and technology; and the economy and employment.

Verghese is vice chair for the theory and practice of medicine. He is a strong advocate for the value of bedside manner and the physical exam — skills he sees as waning in an era of increasingly sophisticated medical technology.

“As a teacher and a caregiver, Dr. Verghese has shown how the best physicians are those who understand that healing is about more than medicine,” said LLOYD MINOR, dean of the medical school. “As a writer, he has shared this message broadly, reminding us all of the enduring power of the human touch.”

Cutting for Stone was on the New York Times bestseller list for more than two years. Verghese’s first book, My Own Country, a memoir about AIDS in rural Tennessee, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. He has been published extensively in the medical literature. His writing also has appeared in The New Yorker and The Atlantic, among other magazines.

“In my work as a writer, I have always tried to convey the notion that medicine is a uniquely human, person-to-person endeavor,” Verghese said. “In my view, it is a ministry with a calling.”

The Heinz Awards are given in memory of U.S. Sen. JOHN HEINZ, a Pennsylvania Republican who died in 1991.

The 19th annual awards will be presented April 3 during a private ceremony at the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh, Pa.