Humanitarian Award

Scott Christensen (’87, M.D. ’91, RS ’94, F ’98)

Criteria: The Humanitarian Award, established in 1990, was created to give recognition annually to an alum of the UC Davis School of Medicine or the UC Davis Medical Center for outstanding contributions to their community through distinguished public service.

Scott Christensen, M.D., has made significant contributions as a physician and administrative leader for the cancer community. He continues to make a difference daily for the patients he treats and the colleagues he collaborates with to improve treatment and access to care.

Much of Christensen’s education was completed at UC Davis, including his undergraduate degree, medical degree, internships, residency, and postdoctoral fellowships. He continues to serve the health campus as a physician, administrator, and a health sciences clinical professor in the Division of Hematology and Oncology.

Christensen is widely recognized for his dedication to patient quality of life. He specializes in treating breast cancer, melanomas, sarcomas and AIDS-related malignancies, and also serves as medical director for the UC Davis Inpatient Oncology Unit. He believes in a team-based approach, utilizing the expertise of nurses, pharmacists, social workers, and consultants to provide complete patient care.

Christensen previously served as medical director for Yolo Hospice and the UC Davis Cancer Care Network, and volunteered at Easter Seals of Northern California. He has also worked as a physician for the Center for AIDS Research, Education, and Services in Sacramento, and led the board of directors as president of the Sacramento AIDS Foundation.

Distinguished Alumnus Award

Stuart Cohen (F ’83)

Criteria: The Distinguished Alumnus Award, established in 1988, was created to give recognition annually to an alum of UC Davis School of Medicine or the UC Davis Medical Center for contributions to society and distinguishing themselves through outstanding achievements in medicine.

Stuart Cohen, M.D., holds many critical UC Davis Health leadership roles in a field that’s been front-and-center in medicine recently: Chief of Infectious Diseases, Director of Hospital Epidemiology and Infection Control, and professor. He also serves as a primary infectious diseases consultant to transplant programs.

Cohen is a prolific, highly published and influential researcher with expertise in clinical infectious diseases and infection control in the hospital environment. His substantial body of research encompasses a wide range of diseases including COVID-19, Clostridioides difficile (C. diff), Mpox, and meningitis, among others.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, he was a fearless leader and tireless expert educator for both UC Davis Health and the communities it serves, locally and worldwide. He was also principal investigator for the UC Davis remdesivir clinical trial, which the Food and Drug Administration approved as an important COVID treatment. Cohen’s academic interests also include AIDS, HIV infection, and treatment of immunocompromised patients.

Cohen cares deeply about his patients and is a selflessly dedicated public health educator. With 45 years of experience, he is renowned for personalized and compassionate care given with liberal doses of wry humor – things his patients, colleagues, and students are all grateful for.

Transformational Leadership Award

Bobeck Modjtahedi (’05, M.D. ’09, RS ’13)

Criteria: The recipient of the Transformational Leadership Award is an alum of the UC Davis School of Medicine or Medical Center whose professional achievements and contributions have enhanced the profession, improved the welfare of the general public, provided for personal distinction and brought honor to the alma mater.

Bobeck Modjtahedi, M.D., is a vitreoretinal surgeon and the Director of the Kaiser Permanente Southern California (KPSC) Eye Monitoring Center, which provides virtual care programs for hundreds of thousands of patients in Southern California, Georgia, Colorado, and Hawaii. In this capacity, he has developed programs that have improved access to vision care for a wide range of ophthalmic diseases.

He has worked with other organizations internationally to deploy similar innovative health care delivery models. He is a Clinician Investigator in KPSC’s Department of Research & Evaluation. He also serves as an Associate Professor and the Ophthalmology Specialty Director for the Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine.

Modjtahedi is a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s Public Health Committee, Medical Information Technology Committee, Community Health Clinics Task Force, Myopia Task Force (as lead author for its white paper), and Autoimmune Retinopathy Task Force (Co-Chair).

His work is widely published and featured at international meetings with a focus on real-world “big data” analysis, telemedicine/virtual care, overcoming health care disparities, developing new public health programs, population-based outcomes research, predictive modeling, improving health care outcomes (e.g., cardiovascular, neurologic, and renal disease) using information from ophthalmic images, and artificial intelligence/machine learning.