Fireside Chats

In 2017, DOM launched a new series — Fireside Chats. These events consist of DOM Chair Bob Wachter interviewing a prominent UCSF faculty member (or visiting professor) about her/his life in medicine.

All chats are videotaped and shown later on UCTV.

A Life in Medicine: People Shaping Healthcare Today

Dr. Kirsten Bibbins- Domingo

From self-described army brat to a renowned physician and scientist, Dr. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo's career success is due in part to her many interests and her ability to pursue a job in which she could thrive. In this conversation, we learn how she is helping to shape healthcare through her work both at UCSF and as the immediate past-chair of the US Preventive Services Task Force.

Dr. Lloyd "Holly" Smith

From a small town in South Carolina to joining UCSF as chair of the Department of Medicine in 1964, Lloyd "Holly" Smith helped transform UCSF into a leader in research, medical education and patient care. Dr. Smith has earned many honors and had a lasting impact on UCSF. He reflects on his career and the challenges of shaking up the status quo with Dr. Robert Wachter.

Dr. Andy Josephson 

Andy Josephson is one of the most respected academic neurologists in the nation. In addition to serving as chair of UCSF's Department of Neurology, he is a founder of the neuro-hospitalist movement in the United States, an accomplished clinical researcher, the recipient of several teaching awards, and chair of UCSF's Ethics Committee. Our chair interviews him about academic medicine, the evolving science of clinical neurology, and how he combines his disparate interests into a meaningful career.

Dr. Paul Volberding

Dr. Paul Volberding, professor of medicine at UCSF, was perhaps the leading clinician in the United States in the early days of the HIV epidemic. As a young oncologist finishing his training in the early 1980's, Volberding recalls seeing a young gay man with a previously rare tumor: Kaposi's sarcoma. Little did he know that the underlying immunodeficiency that led to KS would come to define his career. Volberding went on to become the founding chief of the AIDS division at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital.

Dr. Talmadge King 

Dr. Talmadge King, Jr. is Dean of the UCSF School of Medicine and Vice Chancellor for Medical Affairs at UCSF. Dr. King is an internationally known expert on interstitial lung diseases. In the interview with our current chair, Dr. King describes his remarkable journey from a small town upbringing – including segregated schools – to the pinnacle of academic medicine.

Dr. Gurpreet Dhaliwal 

Dr. Gurpreet Dhaliwal is a Professor of Medicine at UCSF and is generally considered one of the most skillful diagnosticians in the United States. He teaches medical students and residents in the ER, inpatient wards and outpatient clinic at the San Francisco VA Medical Center.

Dr. Rebecca Berman

Dr. Rebecca Berman was recently recruited to UCSF to direct the internal medicine residency program, generally considered to be one of the nations finest. Dr. Berman comes to UCSF from Harvard, where she directed the primary care residency program at Brigham & Women's Hospital. In the interview, Dr. Berman discusses her upbringing, her longstanding commitment to social justice and health equity, her approach to mentoring and career development, and her view of how medical training needs to evolve to meet the needs of our trainees and patients.

Dr. Christine Cassel

Dr. Christine Cassel, Presidential Chair in the UCSF Department of Medicine talks about her career in healthcare and policy, including her burgeoning interests in new technologies and their impact on the practice of medicine. Cassel has had a storied career in a several areas in healthcare, including geriatrics, ethics, and health policy. She served as chair of the Department of Geriatrics at Mt. Sinai, the Dean at Oregon Health Sciences University, and the CEO of two major national organizations: the National Quality Forum and the American Board of Internal Medicine.

Dr. Steve Schroeder 

Dr. Steven Schroeder is Distinguished Professor of Health and Health Care at UCSF, where he also heads UCSF’s Smoking Cessation Leadership Center. In this interview, he discusses academic medicine, the epidemic of substance abuse, his work at the RWJ Foundation (including the “failed study” that helped build the field of palliative care), and his life in healthcare policy and politics.

Dr. Atul Butte 

Dr. Atul Butte is one of the world’s leaders in precision medicine, data analytics, and artificial intelligence as they apply to healthcare. This interview explores the opportunities and challenges in precision medicine, big data, and artificial intelligence, as well as the work of he and his group – at UCSF and throughout the UC system – to capitalize on the digital transformation of medicine to improve health and healthcare.


Dr. Daniel Lowenstein

Dr. Dan Lowenstein is UCSF's Vice Chancellor and Provost. In this interview, he describes his circuitous path to a career in medicine, his passion for social justice, and the importance of authenticity for leaders. Lowenstein is an accomplished physician-scientist in the area of epilepsy, an award-winning medical educator, and an innovative and forward-thinking leader. In prior roles, he helped launch UCSF's Academy of Medical Educators, led UCSF's Physician-Scientist training programs, and served as Dean for Education of Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Esteban Burchard

A world leader in efforts to untangle the contributions of genes and environment in the expression of common diseases, much of Dr. Esteban Burchard's work centers on childhood asthma, for which he runs the worlds largest cohort of diverse patients in an effort to better understand the risk factors for the disease and the predictors of outcomes and responses to therapy. He has also made major contributions in the areas of health disparities, precision medicine, and the promotion of underrepresented populations in the health professions.


Dr. Catherine Lucey 

Catherine Lucey, MD is Vice Dean for Education and Executive Vice Dean for the UCSF School of Medicine. In her education role, she directs the undergraduate, graduate and continuing medical education programs of the School of Medicine. In her role as Executive Vice Dean, she serves on the executive management team for the Schools Differences Matters Initiative and oversees other strategic initiatives for the medical school and the campus.

Dr. David Shulkin

The Honorable David Shulkin served as the 9th Secretary of Veterans Affairs from 2017 to 2018. An experienced healthcare executive, Shulkin had been CEO of several hospitals and had served as the VA’s undersecretary. So he was entirely prepared for stepping into the role of leader of the nation’s largest integrated healthcare system (and was confirmed by the Senate 100-0). Yet, soon after he began, he realized that he was not fully prepared for the realities of the role in the Trump administration. Ultimately, he was fired by President Trump… by tweet.