Skip to Content

2014 Arnold P. Gold Foundation Humanism in Medicine Award

Cynthia Haq, M.D., University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health


Growing up in Indiana and Pakistan, Cynthia Haq, M.D., took great interest in people around her who were living in poverty. Today, she is known around the world for her humanistic and compassionate care of medically underserved populations. 

Dr. Haq received her B.A. and M.D. from Indiana University. Since her first job as a practicing physician, she has been committed to providing high-quality, patient-centered health care to the most marginalized world citizens. During her family medicine residency at the University of Wisconsin (UW), she arranged an elective to serve as medical director at the Kasangati Health Center and Makerere University, in rural Uganda. At the time, armed disputes and diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV were ravaging the country. Upon arriving in rural Kasangati, administrator Josiah Mafigiri cautioned, “You could treat patients 24/7 and not make much of a difference, but, if you teach my staff and promote health in the community, you will leave something valuable behind.” Internalizing this advice, Dr. Haq has exemplified this principle throughout her career.

Dr. Haq returned to UW in 1989, where she has continued to dedicate her life’s work to train future generations of physicians to promote health equity and improve access to health care for disadvantaged populations. She has spearheaded educational programs at Wisconsin to accomplish these goals, including the UW Center for Global Health and the Training in Urban Medicine and Public Health (TRIUMPH) program, a one-and-a-half year clinical, community, and public health experience for medical students in health professional shortage areas of Milwaukee. TRIUMPH recruits and prepares future doctors to pursue careers with urban populations.

Students rave about—and work to emulate—Dr. Haq’s kind and caring demeanor. “[She] taught us that patience and serenity can actually be just as efficient,” says one student.

Her commitment to improving global health is steadfast. Dr. Haq helped establish the first family medicine residency programs in Pakistan, Uganda, and Ethiopia. She has served as a consultant to the World Health Organization and American Academy of Family Physicians to enhance medical education and expand access to primary health care. She recently has undertaken work to strengthen medical education and reduce gender disparities in Ethiopia.

Deeply committed to her patients, Dr. Haq has practiced family medicine in rural Bellville and Madison for nearly 20 years. Today, she teaches residents and provides patient-centered care in urban Milwaukee.

Dr. Haq’s career embodies the heart and soul of this award—and even its namesake—in her medical teaching and practice. “Everything Cindy Haq touches turns to gold,” attests a fellow professor at the UW School of Medicine. 

Watch the video spotlight on Dr. Haq here.

More about Dr. Haq

Arnold P. Gold Foundation Humanism in Medicine Award

This award honors a medical school faculty physician who exemplifies the qualities of a caring and compassionate mentor in teaching and advising medical students.