2021 Distinguished Alumnus Award

Michael N. Neely, (M.D. ’96)

Board-certified pediatric infectious diseases authority Michael Neely is an internationally recognized leader in development of computerized drug behavior models that help identify the best drug dose to achieve optimal concentrations for individual patients. He has research and clinical expertise in pediatric clinical pharmacometrics, population pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic modeling and simulation.

Neely, a professor of pediatrics and a clinical scholar at the University of Southern California (USC) Keck School of Medicine and a professor of pediatric infectious diseases at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles (CHLA), is the director of USC’s Laboratory of Applied Pharmacokinetics and Bioinformatics. He is chief of infectious diseases at CHLA, where he applies state-of-the-art analytical techniques to optimize therapy for mycobacterium abscessus, pseudomonas aeruginosa, staphylococcus aureus and other tenacious infections, which are particularly problematic for patients with cystic fibrosis and other chronic lung conditions.

Neely, who holds a master’s degree in clinical and biomedical investigations, is a former member of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Anti-infective Drug Advisory Committee, and is a fellow of the American College of Clinical Pharmacology. His research has received funding from the National Institutes of Health continually since 2007, with additional funding from the FDA and private foundations.

2021 Transformational Leadership Award

Christopher A. Longhurst, (M.S. ’00, M.D. ’01)

Even though Christopher Longhurst is a neonatologist, much of the work that he does benefits patients of all ages. Board certified in general pediatrics and in clinical informatics, Longhurst cares for newborns in his clinical practice at UC San Diego’s Jacobs Medical Center in La Jolla, while also serving as the chief medical officer (CMO) and chief digital officer (CDO) for the entire UC San Diego Health system. His CMO responsibilities encompass all aspects of clinical care, including regulatory compliance, patient and clinician satisfaction, quality and safety. As the CDO, he oversees health technology planning and application throughout UC San Diego.

He also is an associate dean overseeing the education and research missions in UCSD’s School of Medicine within the context of the clinical environment. As a professor with dual appointments in the Departments of Pediatrics and Biomedical Informatics, Longhurst teaches medical students, residents and fellows. He obtained his master’s degree in medical informatics as well as his M.D. degree at UC Davis. He conducts research to expand the use of health information technology to benefit patients and staff members, and his findings have been published in the New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA, Pediatrics and other journals.

2021 Humanitarian Award

Bruce Spurlock, (M.D. ’86)

Among a short list of the nation’s top hospital safety advocates and advisors, Bruce Spurlock’s name rises to the top. As president and chief executive officer of Roseville-based Cynosure Health, a nonprofit health care quality consulting and training organization, he is on a quest to eliminate suboptimal care by helping hospitals and medical practices identify and implement patient safety measures. He advances that objective as president and CEO of Convergence Health Consulting Inc., a management consulting firm that works with hospitals, health care plans, purchasers and medical groups. Spurlock additionally is executive director of Cal Hospital Compare, a public reporting initiative through which health plan representatives, consumer groups, state agencies and hospitals assess California hospital performance.

Spurlock, who is an adjunct affiliate with Stanford Health Policy — jointly operated by the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and Stanford University — also has made an imprint internationally. He is vice president of the Raise Your Hand Foundation, which funds educational opportunities and scholarships for young adults in Liberia. Spurlock began his career practicing internal medicine and serving as chief of patient education for the Sacramento Area with the Permanente Medical Group.

2022 Humanitarian Award

Kathryn (Katy) Carlsen, (B.S. ’87, R.S. ’94)

Pediatrician Katy Carlsen had spent the better part of a decade in her full-time Kaiser Permanente practice when she realized that she wanted to help children on a broader scale — particularly foster children. Her quest led her to a position with a Placer County public health agency, as well as to become a UC Davis Health volunteer clinical faculty member beginning in 2000, training medical residents in pediatrics.

She shared a deep concern for foster children with her husband, Dale Carlsen, the founder and former CEO of the Sleep Train chain of mattress retail stores. With a $2.55 million gift for start-up and operating endowment funds, the couple helped establish the CIRCLE (Comprehensive Integration of Resilience into Child Life Experiences) Clinic to furnish trauma-informed medical services for children in the foster care system. UC Davis and the Sacramento County Health Center collaboratively operate the clinic, in partnership with the MIND Institute, the Child and Adolescent Abuse Resource and Evaluation (CAARE) Center and other UC Davis Health units. Through the CIRCLE Clinic, which opened in November 2020 in Sacramento, foster children have primary care access to UC Davis pediatricians — including Katy Carlsen — as well as mental and behavioral health services.

2022 Distinguished Alumnus Award

Robert E. Fontaine, (B.S. ’68, M.D. ’72)

Almost immediately following his graduation from the UC Davis School of Medicine, medical epidemiologist Robert Fontaine joined the staff of the U.S. Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, with which he has remained since. Now a senior advisor in the Workforce and Institution Development Branch of the Division of Global Health Protection at the CDC, Fontaine has distinguished himself as one of the world’s foremost field epidemiologists. He devoted his career to establishing and overseeing field epidemiology training programs (FETPs) throughout the world, including Saudi Arabia, Jordan and China. In that role, he has mentored more than 250 FETP trainees who in turn have trained thousands of others, and who investigate disease outbreaks and apply epidemiological research to solve public health problems throughout the globe.

In response to the SARS breakout in 2003, he advised and trained Chinese physicians to investigate, contain and eradicate diseases, including H1N1 and H5N1 flu viruses. The Chinese government expressed gratitude in 2007 by presenting him with the Friendship Award — the highest honor given by China to a foreigner. In October 2021, the CDC honored Fontaine with a Lifetime Scientific Achievement Award, presented in recognition of his body of work contributing to public health worldwide.

2022 Transformational Leadership Award

David Inwards-Breland, (M.D. ’97)

Pediatrician and health systems administrator David Inwards-Breland has gained recognition and admiration throughout his career for bringing focus to gender-affirming care in adolescent medicine. Since 2020 he has been a UC San Diego clinical professor of pediatrics, chief of the Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine, and co-director of the Center for Gender-Affirming Care at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego. The Center for Gender-Affirming Care treats children, adolescents and young adults with gender dysphoria and related health care needs. Gender dysphoria is the deep emotional distress resulting from a mismatch between a person’s assigned gender at birth and gender identity. The center provides comprehensive care by means of a multidisciplinary, family systems approach, involving mental health professionals, endocrinologists and adolescent medicine specialists.

Inwards-Breland previously was the clinical director of the Division of Adolescent Medicine at Seattle Children’s Hospital. During his 11-year era there he conducted research that was instrumental in establishing the Seattle Children’s Gender Clinic, for which he served as medical director. He performs scholarly studies on adolescent male health, depression, transgender and nonbinary youths, and disenfranchised youths. Inwards-Breland is a member of the American Board of Pediatrics sub-board on adolescent medicine.