NEWS | September 23, 2014

School of Medicine alumni honored

Annual awards recognize graduates for giving back to communities

(SACRAMENTO, Calif.)

This year’s UC Davis School of Medicine Alumni Day honored three physicians and medical alumni for their longstanding commitment to excellence on both professional and personal levels. Robert B. Miller, Garen J. Wintemute and Douglas S. Gross were recognized for their work with patients, as well as to the causes and issues closest to their hearts.

Robert B. Miller
Bob Miller, who is medical director of Advanced Valley Eye Associates in Yolo County, received the Humanitarian Award for the thousands of miles he has logged to ensure vision for those in need around the world. For the past 20 years, Miller has helmed Yolo SightSavers, a group of doctors who travel regularly to Sinaloa, Mexico, providing cataract surgeries to patients with little or no resources. Often, the eyesight of these individuals has been completely impaired. Miller and his partners work to restore the vision in their patients, which also helps ensure the patients’ ability to work and live independently.

Closer to home, through his ophthalmology practice, Miller has been able to focus on serving the underserved and uninsured, while also creating one of the finest refractive surgery practices in the region. In addition, as a volunteer clinical faculty member at UC Davis, Miller works with ophthalmology residents, who have twice named him clinical teacher of the year.

Garen J. Wintemute
Not satisfied with merely saving lives as a front-line emergency medicine physician at UC Davis Medical Center, Garen Wintemute also works to prevent people from ever becoming patients in an emergency room.  Honored with the Transformational Leadership Award, Wintemute is nationally known for his efforts to collect data and insights on gun violence by going undercover at gun stores, pawn shops and gun shows to delineate issues around firearms, including highlighting loopholes in U.S. gun control legislation. He has extensively studied the impact of inadequate policies on innocent victims, including victims of domestic violence, children accidentally shot by other children, and those injured or killed by stray bullets.

As the director of the Violence Prevention Research Center at UC Davis, Wintemute has been a powerful voice for change and the author of two books on the subject. He was featured in the 2010 HBO documentary “Gun Fight,” directed by Oscar-winning filmmaker Barbara Kopple, which brought to light the complex issues surrounding firearms and the debate over how best to reduce violence.

Doug Gross, Garen Wintemute and Robert Miller © UC Regents
L-R: Alumni honerees Robert Miller, Garen Wintemute and Douglas Gross

Douglas S. Gross
Recognized with the 2014 Distinguished Alumnus Award, Doug Gross has been teaching UC Davis medical and undergraduate students, as well as pediatric residents, for more than three decades. One estimate suggests he has taught more than 12,000 students, and his numerous teaching awards are a testament to both his excellence and popularity with students. Beyond the classroom, Gross has worked extensively as a pediatrician in Africa and Central and South America, and has served as a consultant to the World Health Organization.

He also is a member of California’s federal Disaster Medical Assistance Team, and served with disaster teams during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the Haiti earthquake and Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. In addition, Gross established the University of California’s Haiti Initiative, a systemwide program involving the State University of Haiti and all 10 UC campuses to help improve the care for Haitian patients and furnish much needed equipment and supplies. Always active, Gross is involved in the Yolo County foster care system, in which he and his wife have cared for more than 30 children over the years, including two who were adopted by the Gross family.

The UC Davis School of Medicine is among the nation's leading medical schools, recognized for its research and primary-care programs. The school offers fully accredited master's degree programs in public health and in informatics, and its combined M.D.-Ph.D. program is training the next generation of physician-scientists to conduct high-impact research and translate discoveries into better clinical care. Along with being a recognized leader in medical research, the school is committed to serving underserved communities and advancing rural health. For more information, visit UC Davis School of Medicine at medschool.ucdavis.edu.