Claire Brindis Receives 2016 Lifetime Achievement in Mentoring Award

By Mike Billings

Claire Brindis poses for a photo with her husband during a standing ovation behind them
Claire Brindis (center) with her husband, Ralph Brindis, MD, MPH, a clinical professor of Medicine at UCSF, during the Lifetime Achievement in Mentoring Award ceremony. Photo by Susan Merrell

Claire Brindis, DrPH, MPH, has been awarded the UCSF Faculty Mentoring Program's 2016 Lifetime Achievement in Mentoring Award.

Each year the Campus Council on Faculty Life's Faculty Mentoring Program presents an award to a senior UCSF faculty member who best embodies the principles and practice of mentorship.

Brindis – a professor of Pediatrics and of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, director of the Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies and co-director of the Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health, and the Adolescent and Young Adult Health National Resource Center – received the prestigious mentoring award during a ceremony June 21.

“When someone wins an award, it’s usually said that it is well-deserved,” said Nancy Adler, PhD, one of the two primary nominators of Brindis for the award. “But in this case, it is more than well-deserved. I’d describe her selection as a 'slam-dunk.'”

Adler, who was a mentor for Brindis, went on to praise Brindis’ work as a mentor.

“Claire exemplifies everything we could ask for in a mentor,” Adler said. “She deserves the award not for the quantity of her mentoring, though that is considerable, but the quality of her mentoring.”

Kathryn Phillips, PhD, who also was a primary nominator, said Brindis’ mentoring style sets a bar for what mentors should be.

Claire Brindis is congratulated by colleague Steve Schroeder, MD, during a reception honoring her achievements as a mentor. Photo by Susan Merrell

“She emulates to me what a mentor should be for two reasons,” Phillips said. “One is she’s a visionary leader – she sets an example. Second is she’s a warm, caring, generous person. And she combines those two in ways that I want to myself.”

Mitchell Feldman, MD, MPhil, director of the Faculty Mentoring Program, noted Brindis’ long commitment to mentoring. “We are grateful to the tremendous contributions Claire has made to mentoring at UCSF, and to the lives and careers of so many of her mentees.”

Brindis said the award was an honor and a personal affirmation. She thanked the people who nominated her, her co-workers and the many mentors in her own life. Those mentors included her parents, and notably, Philip R. Lee, who established the Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies; Connie Wofsy; and her husband, Ralph Brindis.

Brindis said that in a way she would like to see the order of the words for the award switched to an achievement in lifetime mentoring. “I have seen the importance that mentoring plays on my own life and in the lives of others in making a really important contribution.”

She ended her acceptance speech with a call for the continued work for the campus-wide mentoring program at UCSF, with a particular focus on those that may be marginalized and who need “additional welcoming doors or nurturing to succeed.”

“I offer a mantra for our campus,” said Brindis, holding up a Golden State Warriors T-shirt. “Strength in numbers.”

Watch highlights from the June 21 ceremony:

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