It's award season! No, not the kind of awards that come with red carpets, tuxes or glamorous evening gowns – instead, it's the season for the annual UC Davis School of Medicine Alumni Awards. I am so pleased to share that two School of Medicine pathologist alums who are also alums of our residency program are recipients of two major awards for 2017: Our very own Regina Gandour-Edwards MD has received the Distinguished Alumni Award, and Jose Galvez MD has received the Transformational Leadership Award!

Awards serve many purposes, including well-deserved recognition to those whose accomplishments have advanced our missions and bring honor to our school and our profession. Just as importantly, awards serve to inspire others to take the same journey to achieve similar success. Awards also inspire mentors in their roles as guides to the younger generation so that mentees can maximize their potential, achieve their personal best, and have impact on their community and the world. Mentorship is an important value in our department and at UC Health that we actively seek to nurture and encourage. Nothing makes a mentor more proud than seeing a mentee achieve success, including receiving an award – it is positive recognition of a job well done for both the mentor and the mentee.

For all these reasons, I want to share the accomplishments of our awardees. I hope that you feel as proud as I do to have such wonderful graduates from our school who chose pathology as the specialty to share their talents and create impact. They are truly an inspiration.

Regina Gandour-Edwards MD, Professor and Vice Chair of Undergraduate Medical Education, UC Davis: Dr. Gandour-Edwards exemplifies the spirit of the Distinguished Alumni Award which was established in 1988 to recognize an alumna/us for contributions to society and for outstanding achievements in medicine. An award-winning medical educator, Dr. Gandour-Edwards has shaped the educational experience for UC Davis medical students for almost 30 years, and influenced pathology education of students nationwide. Recognized by the Association of Pathology Chairs (APC) with the 2014 Michelle Raible Award, our specialty's highest honor for undergraduate medical educators, Dr. Gandour-Edwards has also received our school's highest educational honor, the Tupper Award, in 2015, and is a multi-year recipient of both the Kaiser Award for Teaching (2002, 2008) and Outstanding Instructor in Basic Sciences (2005, 2006, 2007). Active in medical student education since beginning her career as an Assistant Professor at UCD, she is well-known as an innovator, and was among the first course directors at a US medical school to replace glass slides with digital technology in 2003. She was also the first course director in our school to integrate a course longitudinally across the curriculum in 2001, and to replace lecture-based content with interactive team-based learning modules. To prepare medical students for 3rd year clinical clerkships, she created and implemented a three-day course, “Transitions to Clerkship” which became a staple in the curriculum. In recognition of her innovation and leadership, Dr. Gandour-Edward served as Chair of the Block Council, advising the dean on curriculum organization and integration, and is now chair of the Committee on Student Progress.

Nationally, Dr. Gandour-Edwards is a past chair of APC's Undergraduate Medical Educators (UMEDS) group, initiating development of national pathology competencies for medical students, as well as a joint project to create genomic pathology teaching cases for medical students, a national curricular resource necessary to prepare physicians of the future. She established the first joint educational session between UMEDS and the residency program directors group, bridging the levels of medical education to address the important issue of evaluation of pathology curriculum for medical school accreditation. Recognizing the growth of new medical schools, Dr. Gandour-Edwards led outreach to newly-accredited schools, increasing UMEDS membership and attendance by 30%.

Dr. Gandour-Edwards continues to have national impact on medical education. As the long-standing Councilor for UCD's AOA Medical Honor Society, she was appointed two years ago as Councilor Director to the national AOA board. She is also a member of the United States Medical Licensing Examination Test Material Development Committee. To learn more about Dr. Gandour-Edwards, please see her on-line bio.

Jose Galvez MD, Chief, Office of Biomedical Translational Research Information System (BTRIS), National Institutes of Health: As one of the earliest medical informaticists, Dr. Galvez is an excellent choice for the Alumni Society's Transformational Leadership Award since he has played a national role in establishing informatics as a discipline and demonstrating its impact in translational research. Throughout his career, Dr. Galvez has led the development of novel informatics programs and tools to support research and discovery, transforming the ability to use scientific information for biomedical discovery and patient care. His work has been recognized with multiple awards, including the 2014 NIH Award of Merit for Clinical Trial Repository Collaboration with FDA; the 2012 NCI Director's Award: Marker Nomenclature and Database Committee for the Clinical Trials Reporting Project (CTRP); and the 2010 National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Star Award.

A 1993 graduate of our medical school, as well as a graduate of our residency program in Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Dr. Galvez was one of the first trainees to complete UC Davis Health's medical informatics fellowship program, a training program which we are now re-establishing as an accredited fellowship within our department. Dr. Galvez began his career here at UC Davis Health as assistant professor of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine and Director of Bioinformatics and developed the UC Davis' Health Informatics Program, supported many national-level efforts such as the National Cancer Institute (NCI)-sponsored Mouse Models of Human Cancer Consortium, and served as a member of that group's Image Archiving Committee. While at UC Davis, Dr. Galvez created many innovative tools eventually used as a model by the NCI, including the Visible Mouse, which he developed for UC Davis' Center for Comparative Medicine's Mouse Biology program. Dr. Galvez later became Senior Clinical Informaticist with the National Heart, Blood and Lung Institute's Center for Biomedical Informatics, providing senior-level assistance to the Program Director, building their then-emerging clinical trials management system. Before taking on his current role at BTRIS in 2016, Dr. Galvez was the Program Director of the National Cancer Institute's Clinical Translational Informatics program, where he helped create and manage a portfolio of all NCI-funded clinical trials, and guided many scientific collaborations, including the United States-Latin American Cancer Research Network in partnership with Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, and Uruguay. To learn more about Dr. Galvez's career and work, please see his on-line bio.

I hope that you will join me in extending congratulations to our outstanding alums. I also congratulate everyone at UC Davis Health – after all, it is our community of faculty, staff, and housestaff who together provide the expertise and the supportive learning environment that enable our graduates to become award-winning stars who improve lives and transform health care.