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

Alumni honorees with Claire Pomeroy © UC Regents
Claire Pomeroy (second from right), dean of the UC Davis School of Medicine, honored this year's distinguished alumni for their contributions to medicine and service to the university and the community.

Posted May 18, 2011

Three distinguished alumni of the UC Davis School of Medicine were honored for their contributions to medicine and service to the university and the community at the 25th Alumni Day Reunion Dinner in Sacramento on May 14.

The honorees include:

  • Simon Cohn, a nationally recognized expert and leader on health-information policy whose groundbreaking work on electronic health records has had a major impact on the national health-care landscape.
  • Katherine Flores, founder of the Doctors Academy that works with disadvantaged youth in pursuing careers in the health sciences.
  • Steven Edelman, a prominent diabetes educator who founded Taking Care of Your Diabetes, designed to educate people with diabetes and their health-care providers on how to live long, healthier lives.

Distinguished Alumnus Award: Simon Cohn

Dr. Simon CohnSimon Cohn is the associate executive director of Health Information Policy for the Permanente Federation, the national umbrella organization for the Permanente Medical Groups. During a 30-year career in clinical practice and health-care administration and policy, he has held substantial management responsibilities and has played an important role in moving Kaiser Permanente and the nation toward electronic health records.

He pioneered the introduction of a computer-assisted medical charting system for emergency department physicians and others at Kaiser Permanente in the early 1980s — one of the earliest applications of a graphical computer interface, or a Macintosh computer, to health care.

His expertise led to his work on standardizing administrative aspects of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). He is past immediate chair of the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics (NCVHS), the statutory public advisory committee to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on health information policy, HIPAA and the national health information infrastructure.

A graduate of the UC Davis School of Medicine class of 1975, Cohn is a fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians and is vice chair of the board of directors of National eHealth Collaborative. He has received the President's Award from the American Medical Informatics Association for his contributions to the field, and also has received a Leadership in Technology Award from the Workgroup on Electronic Data Interchange.

The Distinguished Alumnus Award recognizes contributions to society and outstanding achievements in medicine.

Humanitarian Award: Katherine A. Flores

Dr. Katherine FloresKatherine Flores, who received her medical degree in 1979, is an assistant clinical professor of family and community medicine with UC San Francisco's Fresno Medical Education Program. She is the founder of the Doctors Academy, a four-year preparatory program that offers accelerated classes with an emphasis on math, science and writing for students from economically or educationally disadvantaged backgrounds who are interested in becoming health-care professionals.

Flores also is principal investigator and project director of UCSF Fresno Health Careers Opportunity Program, a partnership with California State University Fresno that provides academic enrichment and social support to disadvantaged university students in preparation for admission into health professional schools.

Both programs encourage its graduates to become health-care professionals who will practice in the Central Valley, providing care to the medically underserved and helping to reduce health disparities.

Flores is the director of UCSF-Fresno's Latino Center for Medical Education and Research, a unit of the UCSF Fresno Medical Education Program which addresses the persistent under-representation of Latino health-care practitioners and medical school faculty. She was recently named chair of the National Hispanic Medical Association, is the director of the California Health Professions Consortium, and is one of the 15 appointed members of the National Health Care Workforce Commission, which was created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

The Humanitarian Award is given to an alumnus or alumna for outstanding community contributions through distinguished public service.

Transformational Leadership Award: Steven Edelman

Dr. Steven EdelmanSteven V. Edelman is a clinical professor of endocrinology and metabolism at UC San Diego and the Veterans Affairs Healthcare System of San Diego, and director of the Diabetes Care Clinic VA Medical Center in San Diego. Valedictorian of his 1982 class at UC Davis School of Medicine, he is a long-time champion of patient advocacy for people with diabetes.

About the UC Davis School of Medicine

The UC Davis School of Medicine is among the nation's leading medical schools, recognized for its research and primary-care programs.

The school offers fully accredited master's degree programs in public health and in informatics, and its combined M.D.-Ph.D. program is training the next generation of physician-scientists to conduct high-impact research and translate discoveries into better clinical care.

Along with being a recognized leader in medical research, the school is committed to serving underserved communities and advancing rural health. For more information, visit UC Davis School of Medicine at

Edelman founded Taking Control of Your Diabetes (TCOYD), a nonprofit organization that uses a variety of information portals — conferences, lectures, television, newsletters, and social media — to both provide health-care professionals with the techniques and tools to care for people with diabetes. It also educates and motivates people with diabetes to take a more active role in their condition and empower them to pursue healthier and more productive lives. TCOYD has organized 125 national conferences and also has a strong international presence.

He is a member of the American Diabetes Association, the Juvenile Diabetes Association, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists and The Endocrine Society. He continues his clinical research, primarily in the area of developing, testing, and evaluating new technologies and pharmaceutical agents for the treatment of type-1 and type-2 diabetes.

Past recognitions include the 2011 Distinction in Clinical Endocrinology Award of AACE, the 2009 Outstanding Educator in Diabetes Award of the American Diabetes Association, the Distinguished Alumnus Award from UC Davis School of Medicine, and Chief Resident's Teacher of the Year Award from UC San Diego multiple times.

The Transformational Leadership Award acknowledges professional achievements and contributions that have enhanced the medical profession, improved the public welfare, provided for personal distinction.