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

Alumni invitation © UC Regents
UC Davis School of Medicine Alumni Day invitation

Posted May 26, 2010

Bryna Kane has helped nearly 5,000 former gang members and at-risk youths in the Los Angeles area erase their past and go forward with their lives through a free tattoo removal program she founded. Dennis Bourdette has spent his career trying to unlock the mysteries of the brain, benefiting thousands of people suffering from neurological disorders, especially those with multiple sclerosis. And Kathleen Taylor, executive director of Prevention International: No Cervical Cancer, is screening and treating poor women with cervical cancer in developing countries.

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 24th Alumni Day Reunion Dinner in Sacramento on May 15 at the UC Davis MIND Institute.

Kane was recognized with the Humanitarian Award, which is given to an alumnus or alumna for outstanding community contributions through distinguished public service. Bourdette was given the Distinguished Alumnus Award, which recognizes contributions to society and outstanding achievements in medicine. Taylor received 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.

Dr. Kane and Dr. Pomeroy
Bryna Kane (left) accepts the 2010 Humanitarian Award from Claire Pomeroy, vice chancellor for human health sciences and dean of the School of Medicine at UC Davis.

Humanitarian Award

Kane has helped gang members and young people at risk turn their lives around. She co-founded the "Erase the Past" tattoo removal program in Long Beach in 1997, giving troubled youths a chance to move forward with productive lives.

Erase the Past holds monthly tattoo removal clinics at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center for gang members and at-risk youths in exchange for their completion of community service projects in which they learn the value of giving back. Since its inception, Erase the Past has removed the tattoos of more than 5,000 youths ages 14 to 28.

Kane has practiced adult and pediatric dermatology for nearly 25 years and is the founding partner and co-owner of the Laser Skin Care Center/Dermatology Associates in Long Beach, Calif. She holds a clinical teaching appointment at UCLA, where she is assistant clinical professor of medicine and dermatology.

Kane received her medical degree from UC Davis in 1980. She completed her residency in pediatrics at UCLA and completed a second residency in dermatology at Harbor UCLA Medical Center, where she was chief resident. She has been a keynote speaker at numerous local and national events on how to negotiate as a woman physician in today's medical environment and on her experience with gang tattoo removal.

She was the first woman physician-partner to work at Memorial Medical Group in Long Beach and the first woman physician to serve on the Long Beach Memorial Medical Center board of directors. She is past president of the Southern California American Medical Women's Association.

Distinguished Alumni Award

Dennis Bourdette
Dennis Bourdette

Bourdette is the Roy and Eulalia Swank Family Research Professor and chair of the Department of Neurology at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, Ore. He has been at OHSU since 1984, first as assistant professor in the Department of Neurology and then as a professor since 1997 and chair since 2004.

At OHSU, he founded the OHSU Multiple Sclerosis Center. Bourdette is widely recognized as a national expert on the clinical care of multiple sclerosis, with patients referred to him by neurologists from throughout the Pacific Northwest. Under his direction, the center has become a regional clinical center of excellence.

Bourdette also directs an internationally recognized research program at the center that is supported by funding from the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the National MS Society.

In his research, Bourdette discovered that an anti-oxidant — lipoic acid — was effective in an animal model of MS. He has begun to study lipoic acid in early clinical trials in MS. In collaboration with other researchers, he discovered that inactivation of a mitochondrial protein — cyclophilin D — is neuroprotective in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. This discovery has served as the basis for a patent application and he is working with a Swiss biotechnology company to develop one of their drugs as a novel therapy for MS.

Bourdette has published more than 140 scholarly articles. He received his medical degree from UC Davis in 1978 and completed his residency in neurology at OSHU and his neuroimmunology fellowship at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Portland.

Transformational Leadership Award

Dr. Taylor
Kathleen Taylor

Taylor is the founder and executive director of Prevention International: No Cervical Cancer, which is based in Oakland. The program trains medical providers in countries with the highest burden of cervical cancer to use a low-cost, low-technology portable screening method. In the five years since the she founded the nonprofit organization, Taylor has led teams of volunteer doctors, nurses and non-medical volunteers in training hundreds of practitioners in Central America, Africa and India to provide life-saving care.

Taylor received her medical degree from UC Davis in 1980 and completed her residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Kaiser Foundation Hospital in San Francisco. She practiced as an obstetrician-gynecologist for 21 years at Rockridge Health Care in Oakland and in private practice. She directed Women's Health Care in Oakland, which became the largest Medi-Cal obstetrics provider in the Bay Area, establishing a program incorporating social service, nutrition, health education and prenatal yoga that became a national model.

From 1989 until her retirement in 2005, she maintained an obstetrics and gynecology practice at Kaiser Permanente in Fremont and was assistant chief of the obstetrics and gynecology. During this time, she served on the medical board of Planned Parenthood and an advisory board on women and depression. She headed the Kaiser Hayward Baby Friendly certification effort that resulted in Kaiser Hayward becoming the first California hospital to qualify for this important breastfeeding program.