UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine names new director of clinical programs

By Nancy Chan

Donald I. Abrams, MD -----

The UCSF Osher Center of Integrative Medicine today announced the appointment of Donald I. Abrams, MD, professor of clinical medicine, as the center’s new director of clinical programs.

Abrams, a UCSF faculty member for 23 years, has been a part of the Osher Center clinical group since 2005, providing integrative medicine consultations for patients living with and after cancer.  In tandem with his new position, Abrams will remain chief of the Hematology/Oncology Division at San Francisco General Hospital Medical Center and a member of the UCSF Comprehensive Cancer Center Executive Committee.

He replaces Sylver Quevedo, MD, who recently was tapped to head an integrative medicine department at Duke University in North Carolina.

“Dr. Abrams’ long-standing interest in complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies and his lifelong work as an oncologist and researcher form a great blend of expertise and knowledge,” said Susan Folkman, PhD, director of the Osher Center.  “We know he has plans to do great things here.”

Over the years, Abrams has been involved in many studies to evaluate a wide range of CAM treatment methods, including botanical therapies, traditional Chinese medicine herbal therapies, mind-body treatments and the medical use of marijuana. In 2004, he completed a fellowship at the University of Arizona Program in Integrative Medicine directed by renowned integrative medicine expert Andrew Weil, MD. Abrams is currently collaborating with Weil on editing an integrative oncology text for Oxford University Press.

Since the early 1980s, Abrams has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS research and treatment. For more than 20 years he served as chair of the Community Consortium, a group of nearly 200 doctors who participate in clinical research on HIV that has become a model for community research.

He has received numerous honors, including the Assistant Secretary of Health’s Award for Outstanding Accomplishment (1990), American Foundation for AIDS Research Award of Courage (2000), and the International Association of Physicians in AIDS CARE Heroes in Medicine Award (2000).

Abrams recently stepped down from his role in providing patient care at the UCSF Positive Health Program at SFGH after 23 years in order to devote more time to his work in integrative medicine and oncology.

“I see this as a wonderful opportunity to grow and expand programming and research,” Abrams said. “This center has the potential to be the premier integrative medicine center in an educational setting in the country, so it’s really an exciting time.”

UCSF is a leading university that consistently defines health care worldwide by conducting advanced biomedical research, educating graduate students in the life sciences, and providing complex patient care.