University of Pittsburgh

The Dickson Prize in Medicine

The Medal in Detail


The Front

Hippocrates is the "father of medicine." Like the Dickson Prize, he is not associated with any one branch of medicine but rather with medical excellence in general.

A postmodern sense of cropping, with Hippocrates moved to the left and violating the edge of the medal, creates a break in rhythm that attracts the eye.

Hippocrates facing right—a positive direction for Western audiences—focuses attention on the words “Dickson Prize" and the Roman numerals for 1970, the year the award was established.


The Back

The reverse side of the Dickson Prize in Medicine medal features the rod of Aesculapius (rather than the historically incorrect caduceus) to symbolize medicine and physicians.

In addition to being simple and beautiful, the rod of Aesculapius is in keeping with the idea of returning to the “roots” of medicine, as symbolized on the front of the medal by Hippocrates.



Medal with ribbon

The Medal with Ribbon

Just as the Dickson Prize in Medicine medal puts a modern twist on the traditional form of a medal, the ribbon features an updated design that’s half green (the academic color for medicine) and half blue and gold (Pitt’s colors).

The metal tab on the green side of the ribbon is engraved with the Dickson Prize winner’s name and the date the prize is awarded.

Visually, the medal tab unifies the whole piece, bringing the silver color of the medal up into the ribbon.