NEWS | April 17, 2009

UC Davis physician wins prestigious award from the national Academic Pediatric Association


Nathan Kuppermann, a professor of emergency medicine and pediatrics and chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at the UC Davis School of Medicine, has been awarded the Miller-Sarkin Mentoring Award by the national Academic Pediatric Association (APA).

The award will be presented during the Pediatric Academic Societies annual meeting in Baltimore May 2 through 5. The event is a joint meeting of the four largest national pediatric organizations: the Academic Pediatric Association, American Pediatric Society, the Society for Pediatric Research and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The Miller-Sarkin Award recognizes “the contributions of an Academic Pediatric Association member who has provided outstanding mentorship to learners and/or colleagues, both locally and nationally, and who serves as a model to others who aspire to mentor others as they mature,” said APA Associate Director Connie McKay.

The award is named for and honors the work of physicians Steven Miller and Richard Sarkin, who were killed in an airplane crash in Missouri in October 2004 while en route to a presentation to a group of physicians. Both were highly respected for promoting humanism and professionalism in medicine. They were the award’s first recipients, a joint honor bestowed upon them posthumously in 2005.

Kuppermann said the award holds special significance for him because of his close personal and professional friendship with Steven Miller. Kuppermann and Miller met and worked together through the Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network (PECARN).

Kuppermann is the principal investigator of PECARN's Academic Centers Research Node which, in addition to UC Davis, consists of the children's hospitals of Philadelphia, Wisconsin, St. Louis, Cincinnati and Salt Lake City. Kuppermann served as the founding chair of the PECARN Steering Committee from its inception in 2001 until late in 2008.

In fact, Kuppermann said he was in the process of arranging to have Miller and Sarkin lecture on professionalism in medical education at UC Davis at the time of their deaths. Kuppermann said that Miller was both a great friend and a "mentor on life" who helped him understand how to better motivate trainees and "better understand human nature itself.”

"It is deeply moving for me to receive this award because of my close friendship with and deep admiration for Steve Miller," Kuppermann said. "I think Steve would be happy and proud because he is in fact partly responsible for why I am receiving this award – for beliefs we shared in common and for what I learned from having known him."

Claire Pomeroy, vice-chancellor of Human Health Sciences and dean of the UC Davis School of Medicine, said that medical education leaders — both at UC Davis and beyond — look to Nathan Kuppermann for guidance in their own mentoring roles.

“Nathan Kuppermann is truly one of the finest mentors I know. During the past 10 years, UC Davis medical students, physicians and researchers of all ages have been the fortunate beneficiaries of his dedication to creating and growing a nurturing culture grounded in strong mentoring relationships,” Pomeroy said.

“I find this accomplishment to be all-the-more noteworthy considering the challenging and time-consuming nature of his current position as chair of the emergency department at UC Davis Medical Center — the region’s only level I trauma center,” she said.

Nathan Kuppermann holds the Bo Tomas Brofeldt Endowed Chair in the Department of Emergency Medicine. He received his doctor of medicine degree from the University of California, San Francisco. He performed his residency at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, Calif., and a fellowship in emergency medicine at Children’s Hospital, Boston. He also holds a master's degree in public health from the Harvard School of Public Health. He received a bachelor of science degree from Stanford University.

Kuppermann is board certified in pediatric emergency medicine. He is a member of the Academic Pediatric Association, American College of Emergency Physicians, American Pediatric Society, Society for Academic Emergency Medicine, Society for Pediatric Research, Western Society for Pediatric Research and the American Academy of Pediatrics, and was the founding chair of the Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network (PECARN), the only federally funded research network in pediatric emergency medicine in the United States.

In 2003, Kuppermann was the recipient of the UC Davis School of Medicine Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research and Clinical Mentoring. In 2007, he won the UC Davis-wide award for Outstanding Contributions to Faculty Development and Diversity, and this past year received the Dean’s Excellence in Research Award.

UC Davis School of Medicine is among the nation's leading medical schools, recognized for its specialty and primary-care programs. The school offers combined medical and master's degree programs in public health, business administration and rural health, as well as a combined medical and doctoral degree for physician scientists interested in addressing specific scientific, social, ethical and political challenges of health care. In addition to being a leader in health-care research, the school is known for its commitment to people from underserved communities and a passion for clinical care. For further information, visit UC Davis School of Medicine.