Allison Brashear joined UC Davis Health on July 22 as dean for the School of Medicine. Alongside her is Stephen Cavanagh, the new dean for the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis. After more than a week on the job, we wanted to get their initial impressions. Today, Dean Brashear reflects on her time so far.
What’s your biggest a-ha moment, so far, of the School of Medicine?
I knew that UC Davis was committed to diversity and two events this week really highlighted this for me.
First, meeting the new students at orientation Tuesday morning was inspiring. This is the most diverse class in history with 64% women, 19% African American and 24% Latinx students preparing to be doctors. Just seeing the excitement on their faces about starting medical school reminds us all of the importance of our educational mission.
Second, I attended the Prep Médico graduation last Saturday. Forty-five college freshmen and sophomores completed a 6-week program to prepare them for a career in medicine. I learned that only 5% of physicians in California are Latinx, highlighting the importance of programs that increase the diversity of our health-care providers. I was impressed that a collaboration between UC Davis School of Medicine and Kaiser Permanente and its Permanente Medical Group created Prep Médico in 2016. Four years later, 72% of the first-year class is taking the MCAT. The need to improve health disparities is great, and we can reach closer to that goal if providers better understand the cultural backgrounds of their patients. This week I came to appreciate even more the commitment of UC Davis School of Medicine and our community to make a difference in improving health.
What’s your initial reaction to your introduction to the UC Davis Health community?
I have been so impressed with the interest of everyone’s commitment to excellence in patient care, research and education.
The hospital team wants to learn about research, the researchers want to see how we can help patients. Everyone is working on the same team to improve health and they want to learn from each other. UC Davis Health is a great academic medical center and I am sure we will be setting the bar for the entire country. I’ve been impressed by the patient-focused collaboration across every discipline.
There is also a commitment from leaders in other schools on both campuses to work together to tell the UC Davis story. All of us are firmly committed to the success of the university, and to our triple aim of exceptional clinical care, cutting edge research, and of course the education of our students. I am so proud and honored to be joining the UC Davis team.
What are you most eager to get to work on now that you’re here?
I am spending time meeting students, researchers and clinicians. Listening and learning from them and understanding how the dean can help move their vision to reality. I believe that the best care comes from the intersection of clinical care, education, and research. That, together with involvement from community, can improve health. Of course, I look forward to working with Dean Stephen Cavanagh at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing and collaborating on models of care that will encase our missions. when we work in teams to provide care it benefits the patients, their families and the providers.