Claire Pomeroy is clearly looking forward to her new job. Effective Feb. 1, 2005, she becomes
vice chancellor for human health sciences and dean of the School of Medicine at UC Davis. The combined
position replaces that of the medical school dean, held since 1997 by Joseph Silva, Jr.
Pomeroy appears relaxed and her eyes sparkle as she looks at the road ahead.
"I am very excited about this opportunity," she says. "The health system is such an exciting place to
be, surrounded by excellence and with a momentum that will take us far."
Pomeroy, who will oversee the $777 million UC Davis Health System, joined the School of Medicine as executive
associate dean in January 2003. She is also a professor of infectious diseases and of microbiology and
She has played a leading role in developing a new strategic plan for the UC Davis Health System, one
that integrates the missions of teaching, research, patient care and community engagement within the school
and medical center.
"The overall mission of UC Davis Health System is, quite simply, discovering and sharing knowledge to
advance health," says Pomeroy, looking over at the draft document on her desk, that was awaiting her final
approval. "That really says it all, doesn't it? There are lots of hospitals and clinics in the area that
provide patient care, but we're discovering and sharing. That is what makes a university medical center
From bench to bedside
An active researcher herself in infectious diseases, Pomeroy is a strong proponent of translating basic
research findings into improved clinical care.
"I am committed to providing the resources laboratory space, the latest research equipment
and the best faculty needed for cutting-edge innovation," she says. "And we will always
focus on how these discoveries will help make doctors and patients everywhere better."
She points to the newly designated General Clinical Research Center funded by the National Institutes
of Health as an important stimulus to scientific investigation. A partnership between UC Davis School
of Medicine and Veterans Affairs Northern California Healthcare System, the facility is already a boon
to researchers and to community members, who can now more easily participate in clinical trials.
The new Clinical Research Investigator Services Program (CRISP) is another major effort to promote discovery
it is aimed primarily at younger faculty members to allow them to more easily translate probing clinical
questions into innovative research. Pomeroy, who studies host defense mechanisms of cytomegalovirus in
a mouse model, is pleased that UC Davis Health System recently passed the goal of $100 million in research
funding and is rapidly moving up in NIH rankings.
Fine-tuning patient care
Pomeroy takes pride that UC Davis Health System is well known for its compassionate, state-of-the-art
clinical care. The adoption of a formalized clinician/patient communication program promises that patient
satisfaction will continue to be a high priority. The program helps caregivers communicate effectively
with patients and their families, ensuring that all parties share health goals and work together to meet
Patients also will benefit from the health system instituting electronic medical records, assuring that
patient medical information is available when needed.
Excellence in education
Pomeroy is already working on a big change in the education arena all four years of the medical
school curriculum will move to Sacramento. The new education building will be a critical hub for the 140-acre
"It is so important to have the older students on hand to serve as role models," she says. "This will
allow us to truly integrate the basic sciences with clinical experiences."
Challenges to meet
Pomeroy looks squarely at the many challenges in health care at the institutional, national and global
"There are so many challenges in our community," she says. "How do we address disparities in access to
health care? How can we assure that our emergency department always stays open?
"Just in infectious diseases, you don't have to look farther than the newspaper to see there are huge
problems SARS, West Nile virus, influenza, antibiotic-resistant bacteria and AIDS," she ticks off. "We
need new answers and new ways to protect the community."
But far from appearing bent from shouldering such an enormous burden, Pomeroy continues to look straight
ahead and confident. "We are taking a leadership role," she says. "We are making sure that
all our brainpower is working together to make an impact on these challenges. We have the right resources
to make progress."
She says that the founders of the medical school would "be amazed and fulfilled about how far we've come
from our origins in the 1960s. We're recognized for excellence and national prominence," she says proudly.
"We are a regional and national treasure we make this a better community in which to live."
Before moving on to her next meeting, Pomeroy emphasizes that School of Medicine alumni are partners
in her endeavor. "Tell the alumni we need their involvement," she says. "I hope they're as excited as
I am with our growth and excellence. I look forward to working with them we have an exciting future