We’ve accomplished so much since the beginning of this pandemic. Last February, UC Davis Health started treating our first patients for COVID-19 as we all faced the effects of a spreading pandemic. We never lost sight of our patient-centric approach in the months that followed. The care provided by our team to all our COVID patients — and our regular medical patients — has been so caring, so personal, and so warm, reflecting our core values and exercised on a daily basis despite the stress our entire team was experiencing.

That type of humanity defines UC Davis Health. In this issue, we share more about this through the COVID-19 timeline that spotlights our efforts on vaccination, testing outreach and other achievements on behalf of our patients and underserved populations in the region. The game changer was last December when our first employee received one of the first shots in the first U.S. batches of the Pfizer vaccine — we participated in those clinical trials — and soon we were rolling vaccines out to patients and our greater community. We’re fully engaged and committed to overcoming this pandemic, working with our patients and our surrounding communities every step of the way.

On other key fronts of patient health, we’re proud to cover additional examples of UC Davis Health expertise and innovation, including the MIND college program, our successful conjoined twins surgery, and the world’s first, FDA-approved human clinical trial to treat the most serious form of spina bifida with stem cells, among other compelling content.

Everything we do is about helping people live better, fuller, healthier, happier lives. We believe that each patient who walks through the doors of the UC Davis Medical Center is a very special person, inclusive of their background, orientation, and material circumstance. Equitable access to quality and compassionate health care is foundational to an advanced, democratic society.

And so, I’d like to emphasize the role of compassion here at UC Davis Health. Stephen Trzeciak is the author of Compassionomics: The Revolutionary Scientific Evidence that Caring Makes a Difference, which found that compassion in medical and clinical relationships leads to better patient outcomes, lower health care resource use, and reduced medical costs. To quote Trzeciak, “Once you believe it’s powerful, you’ll want to use it as much as possible.”

This concern for our patients’ total well-being is in our DNA and mindsets. As you’ll discover in this magazine, we’ve learned so many lessons during the last year, and now we’re pivoting to help our region recover in the post-pandemic world, expanding our virtual health systems in patient-centric ways, reducing health equity gaps and investing in care for our surrounding neighborhoods, all while serving as a leading-edge health care model on these issues among others. UC Davis Health is truly transforming health care for people, delivering “Tomorrow’s Healthcare Today”!