As I look back at my first year as dean of the UC Davis School of Medicine, I am proud of the dedication, resilience and determination of our students, faculty, staff, and alumni.

In the face of historic challenges and opportunities, the School of Medicine proved itself to be a community of leaders, research innovators and collaborators that are pushing the boundaries of knowledge. This year, we also elevated our national ranking by U.S. News & World Report to 7th (up from 9th) in primary care and 40th in research.

Our culture of collaboration has been invaluable during the pandemic — bringing together our Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing partners, multidisciplinary physicians and researchers to provide the best education and patient-centered care possible.

However, the pandemic also brought to the forefront the unacceptable inequities in health care and our society at large. It has reaffirmed our commitment to advancing equity and creating an inclusive, positive learning environment for everyone.

Since our health system treated the nation’s first apparent case of community-acquired COVID-19 in February, the School of Medicine has been at the forefront, convening cross-campus research that resulted in high-profile COVID-19 clinical trials and treatments, high capacity testing, prominent medical journal publications, and extensive national and global media coverage.

Another important milestone that our school achieved this year was faculty approval to adopt the new I-EXPLORE curriculum, which takes effect August 2021. The leading-edge I-EXPLORE curriculum emphasizes cross-disciplinary collaboration and focuses on the pillars of biomedical science, clinical science and health system science, and will enhance the excellent medical education our school provides.

In the upcoming year, preparing for our reaccreditation will be a top priority. The I-EXPLORE curriculum implementation is foundational to preparing our students for practicing medicine in a rapidly changing world, and preparations are well under way for this two-year process.

Importantly, increasing diversity and inclusion will continue to be a key area of focus. While we have made important strides in the diversity of our medical students, we will work to significantly expand diversity in our faculty and leadership.

Combining research with patient care is what academic medicine is all about. Looking ahead, we will continue to increase clinical trials to offer more patients new, potentially life-saving treatments for COVID-19, cancer and in neuroscience, among others.

We are committed to sharing our stories of excellence in patient care, research and education with you, and in the coming year will accelerate our communication to alumni and the larger community.

I continue to be inspired by and grateful to you for your dedication to serving your communities and for generously supporting our mission in this challenging and rapidly changing pandemic environment — helping us provide the safest and best medical education, innovative research and optimal patient-centered care.

For alumni who would like to learn more about upcoming events and opportunities to become more involved, please contact M.L. Farrell, director of alumni engagement at the School of Medicine, at

Thank you for your support and partnership in our vital work to advance health equity and the well-being of everyone in the communities we serve.