|Gold-Headed Cane Award|
The Gold-Headed Cane Award is the pinnacle to which a Mount Sinai physician may aspire. This award is rarely presented, and only then to the physician who best represents the professional and personal traditions of Mount Sinai.
This award was established in 1941 by Bernard S. Oppenheimer, MD (H. 1904), Chief of the First Medical Service. The cane, which is passed on to succeeding generations, is a replica of a cane that is in the library of the Royal College of Physicians in London. In remarks given in 1982 when he passed the golden cane to Arthur Aufses, Jr., MD (H. 1957), Morris Bender, MD (H. 1934), described the meaning of the original cane:
"The history of the gold-headed cane, which was carried by a series of distinguished physicians, began in London in the 17th century. It was first carried by a Dr. Radcliffe from 1689 to 1714 and it accompanied him on many consultations. He was known by royalty for his medical skills. He treated King William III for asthma with success, but he could not cure the fatal smallpox of Queen Mary. Radcliffe explained the medical failure with the excuse, which is used to this day, 'I have been called too late.' "
Dr. Oppenheimer, a former Alumni President, appreciated the value of tradition and had a replica cane made. On February 10, 1942, Dr. Oppenheimer presented the cane to Eli Moschcowitz, MD (H. 1903), then Chief of the First Medical Service. It became the custom that the cane is passed along when retirement age is met, or is chosen by the current holder and any former honorees still living.
Holders of the Gold-Headed Cane
Eli Moschcowitz, MD
George Baehr, MD
Ralph Colp, MD
Solomon Silver, MD
Morris Bender, MD
Arthur H. Aufses, Jr., MD
David Sachar, MD
Donald Gribetz, MD
Harry Spiera, MD