UCSF Salutes Extraordinary Contributions During Founders Day Luncheon

University Applauds 11 Members of UCSF Community

By Lisa Cisneros

UCSF celebrated the extraordinary contributions of 11 members of the University community for their service at UCSF and beyond during the 30th annual Founders Day awards luncheon on April 27.

Faculty, staff, students, friends, family members and campus leaders gather annually for the luncheon celebration to recognize members of the UCSF community for public service, exceptional university service and management, distinguished nursing and outstanding service at Mount Zion.

UCSF Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellmann, MD, MPH, congratulated the winners and introduced videos which portrayed the awardees' nominators describing their meritorious efforts. Those honored at the festive luncheon in the Millberry Union Gymnasium were:

Chancellor's Award for Public Service

  • Kevin Grumbach, MD, professor and chair of the Department of Family and Community Medicine, UCSF School of Medicine, and chief of that deparment at San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center (SFGH), who was recognized for his long-time commitment to public health;
  • Winifred Kwofie, MBA, associate director, Engineering Services, Campus Facilities Management, who was honored for her volunteer work improving life in Ghana;
  • Neha Das, a third-year student, UCSF School of Dentistry, who was recognized for her leadership at the student-run dental health clinic and teaching children about dental health.

Chancellor's Award for Exceptional University Service

  • Barbara Bagot-Lopez, director of Community Relations for Strategic Communications and University Relations, who was honored for her dedication to fostering honest communication, mutual understanding and creative collaboration with UCSF's neighbors;
  • Julie Lindow, medical student program coordinator, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences, UCSF School of Medicine, who was recognized for her efforts to serve students and create an inclusive environment where all staff voices are heard;
  • Vilma Zarate, administrative analyst, Department of Surgery, UCSF School of Medicine, who was recognized for resourcefulness and resilience in supporting the team in UCSF's pioneering fetal surgery program.

Chancellor's Award for Exceptional University Management

  • Timothy Greer, network manager, Dean's Office, SFGH, who was honored for his drive and passion in support of the public service efforts of UCSF's faculty and staff at the safety-net hospital;
  • Bonnie Johnson, MSW, director of administration, Department of Medicine, SFGH, who was recognized for her passion and commitment to serving patients by addressing their emotional, economic and clinical needs;
  • Cynthia Lynch Leathers, assistant vice provost, Academic Affairs, who was hailed for her ethics, intelligience and hard work with faculty, especially during difficult financial times.

Distinguished Nurse Award

  • Susan Peloquin, RN, MS, CNIV, clinical coordinator, Neonatal Intensive Care Nursery, UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital, who was saluted for mentoring nurses about brain injuries, brain monitoring and cooling therapy in a practice which is a national model of care.

UCSF at Mount Zion Milton and Helen Pearl Award for Oustanding Service

  • Deborah Hamolsky, RN, MS, clinical nurse IV, UCSF Carol Franc Buck Breast Care Center, Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, who was recognized for her service helping patients navigate treatment and clinical research.

Honoring Public Service

Kevin Grumbach, MD

Kevin Grumbach, MD

The Chancellor's Award for Public Service, established by then Chancellor Philip Lee in 1970, annually honors outstanding service to the community at large, above and beyond what is required at UCSF. The award grew out of the recognition that UCSF's faculty, students and staff make important contributions to the health and welfare of the community through myriad public service activities.

Grumbach is recognized for his 30 years of service to UCSF as a public health advocate, his passionate commitment to reducing health disparities and advocating for access to quality health care for all. Grumbach first came to UCSF as a student and then worked as a resident at SFGH. He joined the faculty in 1991 in the Department of Family and Community Medicine, where he has been chair since 2003.

"During that time, Kevin has been one of UCSF's visionary leaders in public service, helping to create several institutional innovations that have enhanced the impact of research and patient care at UCSF on San Francisco's surrounding communities," his nominator wrote.

Throughout his long career at UCSF, Grumbach has been dedicated to creating sustainable programs that can promote and support community partnerships at UCSF. Among his many efforts in this area, Grumbach has served as the initial chair of the University-Community Partnerships Council, led the development of a new community engagement program for UCSF's Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) and now co-directs that program. In this role, Grumbach has spearheaded the creation of the San Francisco Health Improvement Partnership, which aims to connect the University's research capital and expertise and needs of community partners with a goal to implement strategies to measurably improve health in San Francisco.

In short, Grumbach has been a selfless and tireless contributor to the health of the most underserved communities in San Francisco, most notably in the Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood, where his own reseach has shown that residents there have a disproportionately high rate of hospitalization for various medical conditions than other areas in the City and in California. 

Kwofie is recognized for her passion, dedication and dilligence volunteering to help improve the environment, education and living standards in rural areas of Ghana. She serves as an advisor for the Engineers Without Borders Columbia University Students, Ghana team and worked with two of her colleagues to develop and launch a professional development program for college students. Kwofie also has worked to establish a clinic to provide basic medical services to the poor, immigrant community and uninsured people in Worcester County, Mass.

Third-year dental student, Das is hailed for her work in the student-run Community Dental Clinic that serves homeless people of San Francisco by providing dental care at no cost. Das is the student-elected director of the clinic, which provides cleanings and fillings. Das also serves as the community service co-chair for the American Student Dental Association, where she orchestrates events twice a term for ten to 40 students. These students teach children about oral hygiene and provide free flouride varnish to them. And she volunteers with the Student Education Program, which places student volunteers at local elementary schools to promote an interest in science.

Photos by Susan Merrell