Raising the bar

UC Davis Health System and former California Senate leader Darrell Steinberg have established a Behavioral Health Center of Excellence at UC Davis with $7.5 million in funding from California’s Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission. The center will become the university’s hub for research, education, clinical care and community engagement in neuroscience, mental health and public health improvement. It complements a similar, $7.5 million center at UCLA. “Having dedicated behavioral-health centers in the state will be the catalyst for improving our understanding of the human mind and finding answers for individuals and their families,” Steinberg said.

Making a point

More than 100 UC Davis medical students laid down for nearly an hour outside the Education Building as part of the national “#whitecoats4blacklives” die-in. Students from more than 70 medical schools throughout the country staged “white coat die-ins” as part of a grass-roots movement to link racial bias and violence with public health issues and the health of communities. The symbolic protest was an extension of the protests across the nation in reaction to the deaths of unarmed black men in Ferguson, Mo., and New York at the hands of police and grand jury decisions not to indict the officers involved.

Ready

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified UC Davis Medical Center as one of the U.S. hospitals designated as an Ebola treatment center. The designation is the result of weeks of preparation as the Ebola epidemic escalated in West Africa. Chief Medical Officer J. Douglas Kirk and Chief Nursing Officer Carol Robinson led a special Ebola preparedness task force that met almost daily to develop a coordinated strategy against the deadly virus. The task force included more than 20 physicians, nurses and clinical resource specialists with expertise in an array of disciplines, from infection prevention and emergency medicine, to critical care, pathology and equipment procurement. Physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists and environmental service workers received intensive training, including the proper usage of personal protective equipment.

On Top

UC Davis Medical Center ranks among The Leapfrog Group’s list of Top Hospitals for 2014, an elite distinction that recognizes UC Davis for meeting tough national standards for safety and quality. The annual award is widely acknowledged as one of the most competitive awards a U.S. hospital can receive. UC Davis is one of 94 best hospitals nationwide.

A distinguished gent

Cal Aggie Alumni Association awarded its 2015 Distinguished Achievement Award to Garen J. Wintemute, a 1977 graduate of the UC Davis School of Medicine. In addition to saving lives as a front-line emergency medicine physician at UC Davis Medical Center, Wintemute conducts groundbreaking studies on gun violence. Last fall, Wintemute was awarded the School of Medicine Alumni Association’s Transformational Award.

Making a difference

Fragile X researcher Randi Jenssen Hagerman received the prestigious C. Anderson Aldrich Award in Child Development from the American Academy of Pediatrics for her outstanding contributions in the field of developmental and behavioral pediatrics.

putting best foot forward

Michael Yardley has been named to the new position of associate vice chancellor for Strategic Communications and Marketing at UC Davis Health System. Yardley oversees a staff of 30 professionals who handle marketing, public relations, media relations and advertising, as well as print and digital communications. He was a communications leader at Mayo Clinic for 14 years at its Scottsdale, Ariz., location where he was helping to launch an expansion of Mayo Medical School into the Phoenix area.

Looking at big picture

Brad Pollock, a leading researcher on the incidence and control of childhood and adolescent cancer, is the new chair of UC Davis’ Department of Public Health Sciences. Pollock came from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, where he was the founding chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics in the School of Medicine. He is the principal investigator of a $19 million National Cancer Institute grant to engage community physicians in expanding participation in cancer clinical trials.

say what?

The American Academy on Communication in Healthcare presented its George Engel Award to Richard Kravitz. Kravitz has focused much of his research on topics ranging from patient expectations for care and how physicians respond to a patient’s request for services to the influence of direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs on physician decision making.

Top choice

The American College of Emergency Physicians has honored emergency medicine physician Nathan Kuppermann with its EBSCO/PEMSoft Achievement Award. The annual award is given to an individual who has contributed significantly to evidence-based medicine in pediatric emergency care.