UCSF Celebrates Diversity Month

UC San Francisco celebrates the diversity of its campus community during Diversity Month, with events held throughout the month of October. This year’s theme is “Building Community at UCSF."

“This is a wonderful time for the UCSF community to come together and celebrate its rich ethnic, cultural, and social diversity,” said Renee Navarro, PharmD, MD, vice chancellor of Diversity and Outreach. “I look forward to working with the campus and medical center in this opportunity to honor UCSF’s commitment to equity and inclusivity.”

Highlights of the month include film screenings at San Francisco General Hospital and UCSF, Block Party 8 at Mission Bay, Health Disparities Research Symposium VIII, and the First Annual Joint Community Partnerships Celebration between UCSF and San Francisco State University.

This year UCSF will honor 13 diversity champions at the 2014 Chancellor Diversity Awards on October 30. These outstanding individuals are leaders, activists and pioneers in their respective fields and to the communities in which they serve.

Chancellor Diversity Award for the Advancement of Women

Diane Havlir, MD, is a professor of medicine at UCSF and chief of the HIV/AIDS Division at San Francisco General Hospital. She was a physician in training at UCSF when the AIDS epidemic emerged in the 1980s. For more than 25 years she has cared for HIV-infected patients and conducted pioneering studies in HIV treatment.

She has mentored an entire generation of HIV researchers, many of whom are women; has won numerous academic awards; and in 2012 was featured as a "Pioneering Leader in the Fight Against AIDS" in Vanity Fair. Havlir has played an active role on the global stage as an author of the first WHO (World Health Organization) Global HIV Treatment Guidelines. She was also the United States co-chair of the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C. in July 2012, the largest ever gathering of the AIDS research community, and authored the U.S. declaration calling for global support to end AIDS. 

“I am so grateful to those who paved the path for women, like me to pursue my passion and interest in medicine and science," she said. "My trainees are one of the greatest gifts of my career and a constant source of inspiration."

Cathy Garzio, MBA, is the administrative director of the Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging and the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at UCSF. A UCSF manager since 1991, Garzio has held a variety of positions at the UCSF Medical Center and School of Medicine, including administrative director of the Clinical Cancer Center at UCSF, and practice manager in UCSF’s Medical Specialties Clinics.

Cathy serves on a variety of campus and community committees, task forces related to practice management, research administration, academic personnel and clinical operations, and for five years has served as staff co-chair of the UCSF Committee on the Status of Women.

 “It is a particular honor to win this award at this point in my UCSF career," she said. "Over the last 20-plus years it has been my privilege to mentor and guide exceptional women and men, and to give the best advice possible to faculty and chairs. It does indeed take a village and a network to succeed at UCSF, and I have been very proud to play a small role in creating some success for those I work with.”

Crystal Nyitray, a graduate student in the Program of Chemistry and Chemical Biology in Dr. Tejal Desai's laboratory, has spent her time at UCSF focused on advancing diabetes treatment and promoting women in science. She is dedicated to advancing female graduate students, through an assortment of student groups, peer mentoring and leadership roles.

“I am deeply honored to receive this award and would like to acknowledge all the role models and mentors with whom I would like to share this achievement," she said. "I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the individuals who have instilled in me the desire to promote greatness, through every day actions.”

Chancellor Diversity Award for Disability Issues

Maxine A. Papadakis, MD, is a professor of medicine and a practicing internist at the San Francisco Veterans Administration Medical Center. She is the associate dean for students in the School of Medicine and a leading investigator in the field of professionalism.

Recently, "Dr. P," as she is known to her students, has turned her attention to studying the performance of medical students with protected disabilities, focusing on their abilities. Along with her colleague Arianne Teherani, MD, they have conducted the first ever rigorous research study of medical students with protected disabilities in order to begin to understand the areas where students with disabilities need greater support.

“I am deeply inspired by the abilities of all of our students, particularly those with disabilities, without whom UCSF would be a lesser place," she said. "Disabled students display dignity and courage and they want nothing more than a level playing field in order to contribute to patients, education, service and science. I salute them. I would also like to acknowledge the many individuals in student services who support our students every day.”

Bruce Flynn, director of UCSF Risk Management and Insurance Services, provides strategic risk and loss analysis for general, employment, automobile, and property liability programs and develops and implements comprehensive prevention/risk reduction programs. Previously, he managed the UCSF Disability Management program, where he had worked since 1980.

Flynn was appointed as the chair the first Chancellor's Americans with Disabilities Act Advisory Committee in 1989. He also served on the Chancellor's AIDS Task Force, receiving the Chancellor's Special Service Award in 1996 for the group's groundbreaking efforts to educate staff about HIV/AIDS.

“The existence of this award validates that disability issues have taken their rightful place alongside gender, sexual preference, race, and age in the struggle to achieve equality of opportunity for all," he said. "Winning the award is validation that I was of some small service to that much larger effort.”

Bliss Temple is a Primary Care Research Fellow whose clinical work is based at San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center. She graduated from the Duke University School of Medicine. She recently completed her residency at UCSF in the SFGH Primary Care Internal Medicine track, where she developed a social justice-oriented curriculum on disability issues for the residency program.

She previously worked at the World Health Organization's Disability and Rehabilitation Unit, has consulted on disability issues for the Department of Health and Human Services, and worked on a groundbreaking medical text on health care for women with disabilities. She has been involved in grassroots and community work with people with disabilities for many years. Her main research interest is in primary care for people with disabilities.

“I am honored to be selected for the Chancellor's Award for Disability Service," she said. "The health and well being of people with disabilities is an issue that is close to my heart as well as being one of my core professional interests. I applaud UCSF for including disability as part of its understanding of diversity and look forward to continuing to work to improve accessibility and deepen understanding of disability issues on campus.”

Chancellor Diversity Award for GLBT Leadership

An alumna of the former UCSF BS program in dental hygiene, Gwen Essex, EdD, MS, joined the faculty in the School of Dentistry in 1996. While teaching she continued her graduate education, eventually earning an MS in health science, and an EdD in learning and instruction. A long-time clinical faculty member in the school, and director of the first-year clinical course, Essex also served as the first director of educational technology for the school and spent many years developing the foundation of technology supporting the dental curriculum. Recently focusing on her desire to contribute to the research endeavors at UCSF, her current activities are focused on research involving tobacco use in adolescents.

“I am so honored to be recognized alongside the other outstanding members of our campus community acknowledged this year," she said. "It is particularly exciting to be selected as a member of the School of Dentistry, and to also have two awardees selected from the school.  For many years we have been striving to improve the climate for LGBTQQI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, and Intersex) individuals. We’ve moved from having our flyers torn down from the school to this moment in time, and it feels very significant. “

Paul W. Day IV is the manager of events and communications for the Office of Diversity and Outreach. He has been with UCSF for more than five years, and prior to his current position, he worked with the Graduate Medical Education coordinating educational programming and diversity pipeline initiatives for residents and clinical fellows.

He is a member of the San Francisco Human Rights Commission’s Equity Advisory Committee, a 2013 HERO Award winner and a recently appointed board member for Young Audiences of Northern California.

“I am honored to be recognized by my peers and UCSF for the work I have done to provide a safe, equitable space for myself and my community,” he said.

Todor Stavrev, DDS, is currently an orthodontic resident at Columbia University, College of Dental Medicine in New York City. At UCSF School of Dentistry his work focused on various topics in public health such as disparities in access to care in addition to his dental clinical training. Stavrev also revived the Gay Straight Dental Alliance, helped organize the annual LGBTQI Student Health Forum, and served on the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on GLBT issues. He partnered with 360: The Positive Care Center at UCSF to provide education, screenings, and intervention in relation to the oral manifestations of HIV/STIs and oral cancer among HIV positive, homeless, and low-income population in San Francisco. 

“What an amazing way to celebrate my graduation year from UCSF," he said. "This award came as a surprise to me given my initial experiences as the only openly gay student in the School of Dentistry. I am honored and proud to receive it as it signifies how much change has happened in short four years and how hopeful I am that change will continue for an even more welcoming and inclusive environment for everyone in the dental school.”

Chancellor Diversity Award, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Award for Diversity

Carol Miller, MD, grew up in Missouri, raised by a family of modest means and experienced first-hand the living conditions of a racially segregated community, where schools were segregated by law and custom. She was not personally acquainted with any doctors and such role models were distant and unreal. What she did have were parents, grandparents, a couple of teachers and a high school counselor who cultivated dreams and stimulated motivation. So Miller dared to reach. Scholarships supported a college education and medical school at Stanford University.

Trailblazers before her and amazingly talented peers who looked like her and had similar backgrounds kept her thinking and believing she could succeed, too. For Miller, building and improving diversity within the community of doctors is a critically important personal mission. Miller works to bring in more diverse students through mentoring both within UCSF School of Medicine through the Advisory College, UIM mentoring programs and PRIME as well as broader area programs such as the AAMC Bay Area chapter of Mentoring in Medicine, the Physicians Medical Forum, national SNMA advising, and international medical student mentoring.

“The Chancellor Diversity Award in honor of the iconic champion of diversity, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., makes me so very proud to be seen by my UCSF community as a contributor to creating a campus where our belief in inclusion becomes a readily visible reality,” she said.

Rena J. Pasick, DrPH, has been a cancer disparities researcher in the Bay Area for the past 25 years, addressing cancer inequities among diverse and low-income populations in clinical and community settings. Trained in public health and health education, she leads Community Education and Outreach for the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center with an emphasis on partnerships with African American churches.

Having recognized the need for diversity among the leaders in social and behavioral research, she developed and has maintained since 1998 a National Cancer Institute-funded training program that encourages under-represented Master’s level students to pursue the doctorate and careers in cancer disparities research.

“This is a tremendous honor, one which I could not accept had it not been awarded first to my treasured colleague, Priscilla Jane Banks, a 2011 recipient," she said. "The association of my name with Dr. King’s will be a great source of strength and support in my ongoing effort to reduce the most 'shocking and inhumane' inequality, that of 'injustice in healthcare,' as Dr. King said in 1966.”

Winifred (Winnie) Kwofie, associate director of Engineering Services in the Campus Life Services Facilities Department, is a registered State of California Professional Civil Engineer. She plays an instrumental role in the development and delivery of the campus facilities investment programs and other strategic facilities-related initiatives.

Winnie is a member of the Council on Campus Climate, Culture and Inclusion (4CI) and she co-chairs the Council’s staff subcommittee of the 4CI. She is a strong advocate for programs and initiatives aimed at providing professional career advancement opportunities for underrepresented staff groups. She has also established an informal networking and knowledge sharing forum for senior managers to share their leadership experiences with mid-level managers and to provide informal mentoring opportunities for diverse groups of staff.

“For me, this award is a privilege and an honor linking me back to my roots and daring me to continue to be involved, to be part of the voice, the movement and Dr. King’s dream to keeping on advocating for a community and society that truly embraces all and provides the environment for all of us to thrive,” she said. 

Flora Rutaganira was born in Rwanda and immigrated to the United States, where she grew up in Davis, CA. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and molecular biology from the University of California, Davis and was heavily involved in undergraduate research. Rutaganira is currently going into her fifth year in the Chemistry and Chemical Biology Graduate Program and is participating in asthma and infectious disease drug discovery in the lab of Dr. Kevan Shokat. She has enjoyed her research experiences thus far and hopes to continue advancing scientific research after she obtains her PhD.

“I am extremely honored to have received this award," she said. "The work that I have done to increase diversity in the basic life sciences is my outward expression of ‘thank you’ to all the individuals that have played a large role in enabling me to pursue my own scientific achievements through mentorship and advocacy.”

For more about UCSF's diversity, please visit the Office of Diversity and Outreach's website.