Improving Health Locally – and Globally

reprinted from Issue 20, Spring 2015 of Frontiers of Medicine (PDF)

Talmadge E. King, Jr., MD

One lesson from the current Ebola epidemic is how truly connected we all are. The best way to ensure our community’s health is to strengthen health systems and address health inequities, whether they occur close to home or across the world. As a public institution with a broad commitment to service, the UCSF Department of Medicine has long been a leader in this endeavor.

As our cover story illustrates, the new HEAL Initiative seeks to train a cadre of global health experts who have both the clinical skills to care for patients in resourcepoor settings, and the knowledge to build health systems by creating effective partnerships. Co-founded by Sriram Shamasunder, MD, DTM&H, and Phuoc Le, MD, MPH, DTM&H, the HEAL Initiative has equity built into its organizational DNA. For every fellow who comes from a high-resource setting like the US, the program will also train a fellow based at partner sites in low-resource settings, e.g., Haiti, Liberia and Native American reservations.

Global health includes improving health among vulnerable and underserved populations in the US. Two of our outstanding alumni – Mia Lozada, MD, and Jennie Wei, MD, MPH – describe how they use skills they developed during residency to help their Navajo patients at Gallup Indian Medical Center in New Mexico.

This issue of the newsletter also includes a profile of Michael Peterson, MD, chief of medicine at UCSF Fresno, which has grown enormously under his leadership and serves a diverse mix of patients in the Central Valley.

We are tremendously grateful for two recent gifts to the Division of Cardiology. They are launching centers to address atrial fibrillation – an irregular heart rhythm that affects millions of Americans – as well as sudden cardiac death, the country’s leading cause of death. These gifts are part of Cardiology 2020, an ambitious plan to put UCSF at the forefront of discovery in cardiology. We are also pleased to highlight the Center for Prevention of Heart and Vascular Disease, which was established through another generous gift and helps patients prevent heart disease before it develops.

The UCSF Department of Medicine is committed to continually improving the quality and safety of care. As featured on page 12, we are pleased to showcase our new Systems Innovation, Quality Improvement, and Patient Safety Portfolio, a powerful new tool for recognizing faculty excellence. We are also proud to highlight several faculty members who have been appointed to leadership positions and those who have been recently named to endowed positions.

As always, I truly appreciate your extraordinary support, which provides seed money for some of our most creative and important efforts. Philanthropy is truly the engine of innovation, and we are grateful for your partnership in helping to create a world where everyone has access to quality health care.


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

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