Preventing Disease

reprinted from Issue 19, Fall 2014 of Frontiers of Medicine (PDF)

Talmadge E. King, Jr., MD

The UCSF Department of Medicine is at the forefront of developing better therapies and treatments. We are also pioneers in prevention, helping to keep patients healthy and avoid the need for medical care in the first place (primary prevention) and helping to halt or slow the progress of disease after an illness or serious risk factors have already been diagnosed (secondary prevention).

The advent of Accountable Care Organizations is encouraging health systems to focus on the whole patient, providing timely interventions that can keep many people out of the hospital. This issue of Frontiers of Medicine highlights a few of our Department’s many innovative efforts in prevention:

  • Hilary Seligman, MD, an internist at San Francisco General Hospital and a core faculty member of the UCSF Center for Vulnerable Populations, has become one of the nation’s foremost medical experts on food insecurity. Moving beyond the clinic, she is partnering with food banks nationally to pilot interventions for diabetes patients, and also advocates for policy changes at local and statewide levels.
  • Sheri Lippman, PhD, MPH, has piloted novel approaches to preventing the spread of HIV in Brazil and South Africa, strengthening communities to increase their capacity to confront this disease. As a member of the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies (CAPS), she and her colleagues are helping to turn the tide of this epidemic.

These are just a few examples of our faculty’s groundbreaking work to develop new approaches that help ensure interventions actually reach people who need them.

This newsletter also features a distinguished alumna, Susan Desmond- Hellmann, MD, MPH, whose career has included leadership roles in biotechnology, serving as chancellor of UCSF, and now heading the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. We are also proud to feature the four newest members of our Council of Master Clinicians, who inspire all of us with their exceptional knowledge, passion for teaching and outstanding care of patients.

The Quality & Safety Corner reports on the exciting projects featured in our annual Quality and Safety Innovation Challenge, which has also spurred dissemination of new scholarship. In the last year, about one-third of symposium projects have been presented at regional and national conferences, and several have been published in peer-reviewed journals.

In addition, we also are honored to receive support from the Gloria and Richard Kushel Foundation to recruit and retain top-notch junior faculty members. We are privileged to partner with many of you in advancing our joint missions of clinical care, research, education and public policy. We thank you for your generosity, and are deeply grateful for everything that you make possible.


Talmadge E. King, Jr., MD
Chair, Department of Medicine
Julius R. Krevans Distinguished Professorship in Internal Medicine

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