As fall arrives, I am pleased to share several exciting UC Davis School of Medicine successes and milestones. We continue to lead the nation in training a diverse, culturally humble physician workforce and have reached new heights in research funding, enabling us to deliver tomorrow’s health care today.

UC Davis recently achieved a historic milestone in its research mission, with $1.07 billion in external funding in fiscal year 2021–22. We are now part of a distinctive group of fewer than 20 public universities in the nation to surpass $1 billion in research funding.

The School of Medicine was pivotal to this accomplishment, bringing in a record-high $396 million — nearly 40 percent of the UC Davis total. This achievement is a testament to our ground-breaking faculty scientists and transdisciplinary research teams that are transforming lives with their discoveries.

On July 30, we welcomed 133 talented and diverse incoming first-year medical students in our first “White Coat” ceremony with students’ families and friends in attendance since 2019. Half of our Class of 2026 identifies with groups that are underrepresented in medicine, including 30 percent who are Hispanic/Latinx, 14 percent who are African American/Black and 3 percent who are American Indian/Alaska Native. Women make up 60 percent of the class. Our new students are an inspiring addition to our mission-driven School of Medicine community.

As one of the many support programs we offer our students, this year, I initiated the Dean’s Student Assistance Fund to help meet our medical students’ emergency and unforeseen needs. Thank you to the many donors who have joined me in supporting this and many other programs benefiting our students.

This summer, the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) awarded the School of Medicine a full 8-year reaccreditation, which is the best possible outcome. Our success attests to years of meticulous preparations and extraordinary work by Vice Dean for Education Dr. Mark Servis, the Office of Medical Education, and leaders from across the school and UC Davis Health. It affirms our school’s commitment to excellence, continuous quality improvement, and listening to and addressing our students’ concerns and needs.

We’ve also launched a new collaborative pre-med pathway program for community college students, Avenue M, to address the shortage of primary care physicians in California’s rural, medically underserved areas. This is one of seven of our innovative pathway programs to help diversify California’s physician workforce to better reflect the state’s population, and thus advance health equity and improve the health of diverse communities statewide.

We are also implementing our new 5-year strategic plan in alignment with the UC Davis Health NEXT Clinical Strategic Plan and Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing plan. Developed with the input of more than 200 School of Medicine constituents, the school’s plan is a comprehensive framework to advance our education, clinical care, research, and community partnership missions. We’ve launched five strategic plan workgroups to ensure we translate our new strategic plan into action plans with measurable outcomes.

The School of Medicine continues its groundbreaking innovation and growth trajectory in all our mission areas. Thank you for being an invaluable partner in our mission-driven work!