UC Davis School of Medicine

A Publication of UC Davis School of Medicine

Volume 12 • No 1 • Spring 2015

Alumni updates


M.D. Alumni

Geoffrey Smith

I am still teaching locally and in Southeast Asia. I rarely see any of my classmates. We were a small number in the first class and those of us left are nearing or over 70. I have advised premed students to investigate other fields such as management, academic medicine and research, or just research, since medicine is no longer the field it was. Older docs are seeing the major erosion of quality of life as a doc, and primary care is being taken over by the physician assistants and nurse practitioners working for a corporation or non-physician entity. The most rewarding is the charity work I do and teaching. If I were going into medicine today I would be ONLY an academic/researcher.

Perry Pugno
Perry Pugno

I retired after 15 years at the American Academy of Family Physicians. My wife Terry and I are looking forward to more time with family. This year, I was honored by my colleagues through two national awards: F. Marian Bishop Award from the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine Foundation and Thomas W. Johnson Award from the American Academy of Family Physicians. I am grateful to the UC Davis School of Medicine for a top-tier medical education. As one of the first medical schools to establish a department of family medicine and recognize the importance of primary care to the overall health of the nation, I have benefitted immensely from that foundation and the opportunity to learn from some of the pioneers in the discipline.

Bruce Greenberg

I’m still involved in the full-time practice of full-scope rural family medicine in California’s southern Monterey County, as I have done for the past 36 years. I continue to be involved with the UC Davis Rural-PRIME program as a lead family medicine preceptor and clinical site coordinator. Mentoring the upcoming generation of physicians has been one of the most enjoyable parts of my practice. For me, what seems very routine, remains challenging and exciting for a medical student. It is so encouraging to see their enthusiasm, and reminds me of how I felt during my own medical training. Also, I provide medical coverage for our local youth sports teams, and this has been very rewarding. It’s great doing something positive for the local community.

Stu Zeman

Most useful from medical school:
Easy way to get drugs.

Interaction with classmates:
We play dominos at the nursing home.

Most challenging health-care issues today:

Next generation mentoring:
Go to local bar at night.

Most rewarding about being a physician:
The caring attitude of insurance companies.

Let’s not forget laughter is the best medicine!

John Friden
Friden family photo

Our family today: Mom and Dad, five daughters and husbands and our treasure – 18 grandchildren, all unique but universally happy and playful. I retired from family practice about two years ago. We not only are part of their cheering section, we do some unsolicited coaching of their soccer, basketball, baseball, football, golf and boating wake surfing. We are impatiently awaiting the start of women’s gymnastics on the collegiate level as our oldest granddaughter participates in vault and floor exercise. We recall with fondness and gratitude our “learning” days at UC Davis and wish our classmates well in their current endeavors.

George Gharda-Ward

UC Davis was, early on, a different kind of medical school. Its mission was unique, to invite older, weirder people, unlike the rich sons and daughters of doctors who populated most medical schools. One of my classmates came from a family who owned an ambulance service in Eureka. Several were, like me, Vietnam Vets, who had no chance at a traditional medical school. One of them was in his 40s! We had no common ground other than a real dedication to helping people. I think that defined the UC Davis medical school classes of the late 70s and early 80s. Our commencement student speaker spoke of Caesar Chavez and our guest speaker was Linus Pauling. It was the best of times.

Diane Sipkin

I finally retired after nearly 33 years of family medicine in September 2014. My husband Dennis and I have relocated back to Santa Cruz, Calif., which is where we first met as undergrads. We are loving every minute of our life back on the beautiful Central Coast!

Kathy Love-Osborne

Most useful from medical school:
I really enjoyed all of my clinical rotations, even those that don’t relate directly to my job today.

Interaction with classmates:
Living out of state, I don’t see my classmates as often. I am on Facebook with quite a few, and enjoyed seeing them at the reunion.

Most challenging health-care issues today:
The hardest thing for me as a primary care provider is not feeling like I have enough time to spend when patients are more complicated.

Next generation mentoring:
I work with third-year medical students, pediatric interns, family medicine residents, and adolescent medicine fellows. I love to show trainees that taking care of teenagers is a challenging and never boring job!

Michael Carl
Carl family photo

Susan and I are both doing well, and we have a new grandson coming in December (third boy, where are all the girls?!). Since I retired in 2013, I have been precepting at the student run clinics to keep up my knowledge base and skills. The students probably teach me more than the other way around! Since I’m retired, I don’t face a lot of challenging issues in the health-care environment like colleagues who are still practicing. However, obtaining care is much more difficult for those patients not enrolled in a clinic system, and they continue to use the default of emergency departments.

Andrew Olson

Most useful from medical school:
I think the most important thing I learned in medical school at UC Davis School of Medicine is the rapport building that I learned in doctoring. The skills I learned there I use every day.

Most challenging health-care issues today:
The increasing fragmentation of care and the difficulty that this presents to patients. As a hospitalist, I find it striking how hard it is to coordinate with primary care.

Most rewarding about being a physician:
I have a lot of non-clinical responsibilities but my favorite part of my job is sitting with patients and hearing their stories. It sounds corny but I am thankful every day to get up and get to live my dream of being a doctor.

Cindy Chambers
Chambers Family photo

We just welcomed Chambers baby number three into the world. So now it’s Charley (age 5), Cali (age 3) and our littlest member Levi (3 months).


Robert Stempfel, Jr., M.D.

Dr. Robert “Bob” Stempfel, Jr., founding chair of the UC Davis School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics, died Nov. 3, 2014. He was 90. He was born on July 13, 1924, in Indianapolis. He graduated from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine where he completed his pediatric residency. He also completed a fellowship at Johns Hopkins University. During his career, he was a pediatric endocrinologist and professor at Duke University. In 1968, he accepted the position of professor and chairman for the department of pediatrics at UC Davis. He retired in 1993 as director of the Mailman Center for Child Development at the University of Miami. Dr. Stempfel is survived by his wife Sarah; daughter and son-in-law, Anna and Gary Zatkoff; son Ted Stempfel; sister and brother-in-law, Susan and Charles Kinnaird; and many grand-children, nieces and nephews.

Arleen Saenger, M.D., M.P.H.

Dr. Arleen Saenger, a 1975 undergraduate of UC Davis and a 1979 graduate of the School of Medicine, died late last year. She was a long-time member and a Fellow of Aerospace Medical Association. After entering the U.S. Air Force, Dr. Saenger became a flight surgeon, based at Norton AFB, in California, and in 1982, she became chief of flight medicine there. She was then stationed at Rhein-Main AB Clinic in Germany in 1985, becoming chief of aeromedical Services in 1987. In 1988, Dr. Saenger was assigned to Travis AFB, serving as chief of flight medicine at David Grant Medical Center. After promotions and assignments at other locations, Dr. Saenger retired from the Air Force as a colonel and joined the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), where she became manager of the FAA’s Aeromedical Policy and Standards Branch in Washington, DC. She received a meritorious achievement award in 2014 from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) for her extraordinary contributions to the safety mission of the Office of Aerospace Medicine.