UC Davis School of Medicine honors three alumni for contributions to the field of medicine

Posted June 3, 2009

Photos from the May 16 UC Davis School of Medicine Alumni Day Reunion

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Reunion picnicL-R: Antonio Velasco, M.D., Isabel Velasco, Bridget Byfield, Clyde Byfield, M.D., Tom Nesbitt, M.D. and Lisa DeAmicis


Magician entertains childrenTrevor the Magician entertained children during reunion picnic.


Class of 1999UC Davis School of Medicine Class of 1999


Alumni reunion picnicL-R: Antonio Velasco, M.D., Isabel Velasco, Alan Cabrera, M.D., Karly Cabrera, Debbie Cabrera and R. Paul Miller, M.D.


Class of 1979UC Davis School of Medicine Class of 1979


Mothers and babiesL-R: Julie and Amelia Letsinger, Stacie Bennett, M.D. and Spencer, Cynthia Ng, M.D., Stephanie and Sophia D'Augustine


Dr. Schaefer and Dean PomeroyDr. Schaefer receives his award from School of Medicine Dean Claire Pomeroy.



Dr. Nesbitt with Dean Claire PomeroyDr. Nesbitt receives his award from School of Medicine Dean Claire Pomeroy.



Judy Scheible and Dean Claire PomeroyJudy Scheible accepted award from School of Medicine Dean Claire Pomeroy on behalf of Dr. Terrence Smith.


For copies of additonal photographs, contact the Alumni Office.

Terrence E. Smith has dedicated thousands of hours to refugees of Myanmar who enter Thailand's Mae Tao Clinic with burns, missing limbs, AIDS, malaria and other injuries and diseases. Saul Schaefer is committed to finding ways to limit damage to heart muscle during heart attacks and major surgery. And Thomas S. Nesbitt has worked tirelessly to improve health by using technology to link rural physicians with medical specialists.

These three distinguished alumni of the UC Davis School of Medicine were honored for their contributions to medicine and service to UC Davis and the community at the school's 23rd Alumni Day Reunion Dinner in Sacramento on May 16.

Smith was recognized with the Humanitarian Award, which is given to an alumnus or alumna for outstanding community contributions through distinguished public service. Schaefer was given the Distinguished Alumnus Award, which recognizes contributions to society and outstanding achievements in medicine. Nesbitt was honored with the Transformational Leadership Award, which acknowledges professional achievements and contributions that have enhanced the medical profession, improved the public welfare, provided for personal distinction and brought honor to UC Davis.

Humanitarian Award

Dr. Terrence SmithSmith is a part-time physician at the CommuniCare Health Centers in Yolo County who has dedicated himself over the past ten years to caring for impoverished and refugee populations in the developing world. At the Mae Tao Clinic, a 120-bed clinic in Thailand, he serves disenfranchised people who cross the Moei river, which separates Thailand and Myanmar (formerly known as Burma), to escape a military junta government and collapsed public-health system. Patients seek treatment for a wide range of ailments, including malnutrition, chronic diarrhea, malaria, tuberculosis, parasitic intestinal disorders and AIDS. The clinic also provides dental and obstetrical care and fabricates prosthetic limbs for victims of land mine detonations. Working without salary, Smith and volunteer doctors from other nations oversee about 200 medics, who perform most of the patient care.

Before he began his international volunteer work in 1999, Smith maintained a family medical practice in the Yolo County community of Courtland and was chief of the Program Policy Section of the Maternal and Child Health Branch of the California Department of Health Services (now the California Department of Public Health) from 1994 to 2001. He also served as a volunteer clinical professor with UC Davis Health System from 1982 to 2004. In addition to his medical degree from UC Davis, he has a master's degree in public health.

View TV clip iconClick here to see NBC Today Show's coverage of Dr. Terrence Smith and the Mae Tao Clinic.

Distinguished Alumni Award

Dr. Saul SchaeferSchaefer is a UC Davis professor of cardiology and an eminent authority on the cellular mechanisms involved when the heart muscle does not receive enough oxygen. He is a practicing cardiologist whose basic and clinical research aims to identify endogenous and pharmacologic mechanisms that protect the heart. His ultimate goal is to find cellular pathways that can be engaged to limit injury during heart attacks and major surgery. His clinical practice encompasses responsibilities as an attending physician at UC Davis Medical Center and as chief of cardiology at the VA Northern California Health Care System. He has been named among the Best Doctors in America for each of the past eight years and is the author of a book, Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy.

A member of the UC Davis faculty since 1991, Schaefer has served in numerous capacities, including director of interventional cardiology, director of the Executive Physical Program and associate chief of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine. He has served on the boards of numerous medical journals, received the School of Medicine's Faculty Research Award in 2002 and is chair of the Medical Student Research Fellowship Committee.

Transformational Leadership Award

Dr. Tom NesbittNesbitt is a family practice physician whose work to improve conditions for rural physicians and their patients has placed UC Davis squarely at the national forefront of telemedicine technology implementation.

An associate vice chancellor for strategic technologies and alliances at UC Davis Health System, Nesbitt is a vigorous and thoughtful contributor to public health and disaster planning and a highly regarded expert on projects that use telemedicine as a critical component. He is a pioneer in the field of telehealth and is dedicated to improving health and health care in underserved communities.

As founding director of the UC Davis Center for Health and Technology, Nesbitt oversees the health system's clinical and training programs in telemedicine. He also works closely with the UC Office of the President, health-care policy leaders and the California Governor's Office to implement the federally funded California Telehealth Network and Proposition 1D, which included $200 million in building and equipment funds to expand medical education and telemedicine technologies. Through these and other roles, including his recent appointment as executive director of teleheath services for the California Center for Connected Health, he is advancing telehealth efforts and the broadband network infrastructure that supports it.

Nesbitt, who received his medical degree from UC Davis in 1979, is a professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine. He also serves as chief scientist representing UC Davis in the multi-campus Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society. Based in Berkeley, the center engages scientists from UC campuses at Berkeley, Davis, Merced and Santa Cruz, as well as industrial researchers from participating corporations, in devising novel applications of information technology in response to societal, environmental and health-care needs.

About UC Davis School of Medicine:
UC Davis School of Medicine is among the nation's leading medical schools, recognized for its specialty- and primary-care programs. The school offers combined medical and master's degree programs in public health, business administration and rural health, as well as a combined medical and doctoral degree for physician scientists interested in addressing specific scientific, social, ethical and political challenges of health care. Along with being a leader in health-care research, the school is known for its commitment to people from underserved communities and a passion for clinical care. For more information, visit UC Davis School of Medicine.