In 1998, after 29 years, pediatrician Michael M. Sugawara retired from practicing medicine at
Kaiser Permanente. But as a volunteer clinical faculty member at UC Davis Children's Hospital, where he
has been donating his time and financial support for 33 years, Sugawara is still going strong.
Earlier this year, UC Davis Children's Hospital dedicated the new pediatric resource library in Sugawara's
name, reflecting his instrumental role in establishing the endowment to create the library. However, Sugawara
had no intention of seeking this kind of recognition for himself. "Several years ago, someone asked me
to contribute to a book fund at UC Davis," he recalled. "I wanted to do something more permanent, so that
books would always be available." Sugawara initiated the library fund with an $18,000 contribution, and
his subsequent gifts have grown the total to more than $70,000.
Sugawara also launched the "Eli Gold, M.D., Outstanding Junior Pediatric Faculty Prize" endowment with
a $5,000 contribution. Gold was a former chair of the UC Davis Department of Pediatrics.
Such philanthropy is nothing new for Sugawara. He has been contributing to the University of California
since his graduation from medical school at UC San Francisco modestly at first, then more substantially
as his income allowed. "I felt that UC had given me the tools to pursue my profession," he said, "so I
wanted to give back regularly and generously."
In addition to his financial support, Sugawara volunteers with UC Davis pediatric residents, helping
them develop critical thinking skills and make better diagnoses. "In any profession, there is a continuity
of passing on knowledge," he explained. "I was determined to continue this tradition."
Sugawara's significant donation of about four weeks a year has earned him the longest volunteer tenure
record with UC Davis Children's Hospital and UC Davis Medical Center.
Sugawara tries to be a role model for residents and colleagues, encouraging them to donate time and
resources to the community and the medical school.
In particular, Sugawara is working to cultivate more contributions from his peers. "I would like to see
physicians be more generous, as they certainly have the means, he said. Physicians need to be donors.
For Sugawara, his commitment to giving goes hand in hand with serving the public through his skills
as a doctor. I have always felt that donating my time and money was important, explained Sugawara. Whether
I d been a physician or something else, I would have done the same thing. While other retirees like to
golf or play tennis, Sugawara actively participates in fundraising efforts for UC Davis as trustee of
the UC Davis Foundation and advisory board member for UC Davis Children s Hospital, continuing his longstanding
tradition of volunteerism. I guess I ll keep doing it as long as I m healthy, he said.
For more information about supporting UC Davis programs, contact Health Sciences Advancement at (916)