Four Receive UCSF Medal at Founders Day Gala

By Lisa Cisneros

An oncologist who revolutionized the treatment of a particular form of cancer, a scientist whose seminal contributions have shed light on how the AIDS virus destroys the body's defenses, a global advocate for equity in health and education and a pioneering clinical pharmacist who led the University’s top-ranked pharmacy school have been honored with the 2013 UCSF Medal.

The four recipients of the UCSF Medal are:

  • Brian Druker, MD, director of the Oregon Health & Science University Knight Cancer Institute;
  • Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the National Institutes of Health;
  • Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; and
  • Mary Anne Koda-Kimble, PharmD, dean emeritus of the UCSF School of Pharmacy.

UCSF Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellmann, MD, MPH, presented the medals to the four honorees at a festive gathering on April 4 at Pier 48, where hundreds of friends, family members and supporters celebrated the annual Founders Day gala.

The UCSF Medal is given to individuals who have made outstanding contributions in areas associated with the University’s mission, goals and values. Initiated in 1975 by then-Chancellor Francis Sooy, the award replaced the granting of honorary degrees. Selection of the recipients is made annually by a distinguished committee composed of members both inside and outside UCSF.

Brian Druker has revolutionized the treatment of cancer through research to develop and market Gleevec, the first drug to target a molecular defect in patients suffering from chronic myloid leukemia (CML). Unlike traditional chemotherapy, the drug (imatinib), targets the genetic abnormality that causes the cancer and leaves healthy cells alone, thereby causing far fewer side effects.

Druker performed critical laboratory studies of the drug in collaboration with Novartis, then spearheaded the highly successful clinical trials of the drug to treat CML.

The drug’s approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in June 2001 prompted intense media coverage, and helped many patients achieve complete remission of the disease while on the drug.  

Druker’s role in the drug’s development and its application in the clinic have resulted in numerous honors and awards. He has been elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, the American Association of Physicians, the National Academy of Sciences, and most recently, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

He became interested in cancer during medical school at the University of California, San Diego. During his first year, he took an elective class about the history of chemotherapy and learned that over the course of 20 years, acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), the most common form of childhood bone marrow cancer, could be cured with two drugs. Before they became available, children suffering from ALL would die within weeks.

Druker has since devoted his career to the belief that understanding the molecular basis for a disease can lead to specific and effective treatment.

He completed his residency in internal medicine at Barnes Hospital, Washington School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri, and trained in oncology at Harvard’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Anthony Fauci has made seminal contributions to the understanding of how the AIDS virus destroys the body's defenses leading to its susceptibility to deadly infections.

Fauci has been instrumental in developing highly effective strategies for the therapy of patients with this serious disease, as well as for a vaccine to prevent HIV infection. He continues to devote much of his research time to identifying the nature of the immunopathogenic mechanisms of HIV infection and the scope of the body's immune responses to the AIDS retrovirus.

Fauci serves as one of the key advisors to the White House and Department of Health and Human Services on global AIDS issues, and on initiatives to bolster medical and public health preparedness against emerging infectious disease threats such as pandemic influenza. He was one of the principal architects of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which has already been responsible for saving millions of lives throughout the developing world.

Appointed director of NIAID in 1984, Fauci oversees an extensive research portfolio of basic and applied research to prevent, diagnose and treat infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections, influenza, tuberculosis, malaria and illness from potential agents of bioterrorism. NIAID also supports research on transplantation and immune-related illnesses, including autoimmune disorders, asthma and allergies.

Fauci also has made many contributions to basic and clinical research on the pathogenesis and treatment of immune-mediated and infectious diseases. He has developed effective therapies for formerly fatal inflammatory and immune-mediated diseases such as polyarteritis nodosa, granulomatosis with polyangiitis and lymphomatoid granulomatosis.

In 2003, an Institute for Scientific Information study indicated that in the 20-year period from 1983 to 2002, Fauci was the 13th most-cited scientist among the 2.5 to 3 million authors in all disciplines throughout the world who published articles in scientific journals during that time frame. Fauci was the world's 10th most-cited HIV/AIDS researcher in the period 1996-2006.

Through the years, Fauci has received numerous prestigious awards for his scientific accomplishments, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the National Medal of Science, the George M. Kober Medal of the Association of American Physicians, the Mary Woodard Lasker Award for Public Service, the Albany Medical Center Prize in Medicine and Biomedical Research, and 38 honorary doctoral degrees from universities in the United States and abroad.

Melinda Gates, a businesswoman and philanthropist, is co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Along with her husband, Bill Gates, she shapes and approves the foundation’s strategies, reviews results, and sets the overall direction of the organization.

Together they meet with grantees and partners to further the foundation’s goal of improving equity in the United States and around the world. They use many public appearances to advocate for the foundation’s issues.

In July 2012, Gates made headlines by spearheading the London Summit on Family Planning, with the goal of delivering contraceptives to an additional 120 million women in developing countries by 2020.

While involved in all of the organization’s endeavors, Gates believes that empowering women in developing countries to decide whether and when to have a child is a critical driver of her work at the foundation, since this decision can be the source of transformational improvements in the health and prosperity of whole communities.

Gates received a bachelor’s degree in computer science and economics from Duke University in 1986 and a master’s degree in business administration from Duke’s Fuqua School of Business in 1987.

After joining Microsoft in 1987, she distinguished herself as a business leader in the development of many of Microsoft’s multimedia products and was appointed as Microsoft’s general manager of Information Products. She married Bill Gates in 1994. In 1996, Gates left the organization and since then, has directed her energy toward the nonprofit world.

Listed as No. 4 on Forbes list of the most powerful women, Gates has received several honors and awards for her philanthropy. In 2011, the charity gave away $2.6 billion and to date has made more than $25 billion in grant commitments in poverty eradication, public health and education, according to Forbes.

Mary Anne Koda-Kimble, a nationally renowned leader in clinical pharmacy and education, retired after 46 year as a member of the UCSF community.

Koda-Kimble is dean emeritus of the UCSF School of Pharmacy, where she received her PharmD from UCSF in 1969. She joined the faculty in 1970, rising through the academic ranks of the health sciences university and serving 14 years as dean.

During her tenure as dean, she has left an impressive legacy, from strengthening and expanding laboratory-based research programs to breaking new ground in fostering programs that move research discoveries closer to clinical application. She also oversaw the school's accreditation and continued review of a revamped PharmD curriculum.

The top-ranked school has received more funding from the NIH than any other pharmacy school in the United States every year since 1979. Underl Koda-Kimble’s leadership as dean, funding from NIH grants increased from more than $4 million in 1999 to more than $27 million.

She is a member of the USP (United States Pharmacopoeia) Board of Trustees and recently completed a five-year term on the American Council of Pharmaceutical Education Board of Directors, a body that accredits schools of pharmacy and continuing education providers.

Koda-Kimble is a past president of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy and has served on the California State Board of Pharmacy, the Food and Drug Administration's Nonprescription Drugs Advisory Committee, and many other boards and task forces of national professional associations.

She is the recipient of many teaching and practice awards. Koda-Kimble was designated a "Founding Member and Distinguished Practitioner" of the National Academy of Practice in Pharmacy, and in 2000, she was elected to the prestigious Institute of Medicine for her major contributions to health and medicine.

Early on Koda-Kimble was part of the movement — begun at UCSF — for pharmacists to assume clinical patient care responsibilities and to not serve merely as drug dispensers. She collaborated with other editors to put together the world's first clinical pharmacy therapeutics textbook based on patient case histories — now in its ninth edition — and has continually been a relentless advocate of the pharmacist’s role in patient care. The textbook, Applied Therapeutics, is widely used by health professional students and practitioners throughout the world.

She was featured in a “Voices” video honoring the diversity of the UCSF community.

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