UC Davis School of Medicine

A Publication of UC Davis School of Medicine

Volume 12 • No 3 • Winter 2015

Alumni updates


M.D. Alumni

George R. Vierya, M.D.

Currently, while completing a locum tenens position, Raeleen is coordinating our ranch enterprise. I look forward to my ENT surgery schedule as well as to the Texas ranch life. 1975. Awesome. 2015. Outstanding. Fiat lux – Ray

Rahnea Sunseri, M.D.
Rahena Sunseri

I now am medical director and clinical assistant professor at University of the Pacific’s new physician assistant master’s program in Sacramento. Retired from direct patient care in internal medicine and primary care. Otherwise enjoying family life with my husband, Franz and children, Nicci and Vito, along with more time with friends. Still interested in wilderness... thus, I ski, hike, cycle and now kayak calm waters.

Stephen H. Taplin, M.D.

Life is full, rich and busy. After completing my family practice residency in 1981, I practiced for two years at a federally qualified health center in Rochester, New York. My family moved from there to Seattle, where I practiced for 20 years at Group Health, obtained an M.P.H., managed a breast cancer screening program, and became a full professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Washington. In 2003 I moved to Bethesda, Maryland and joined the National Cancer Institute, where I am now the deputy associate director of the Healthcare Delivery Research Program in the Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences. Along the way I was blessed with two healthy children (Adam & Emily), three grandsons (Eddie and twins Alex & Ben), two wives (serially), a wonderful stepdaughter (Carolina), the trials, and the benefits, of modern life. I’m now living in Bethesda with my wife Sylvia, managing a growing winery (Taplin Cellars) in St. Helena, California, and thinking about what’s next. Davis prepared me well, and I look forward to catching up with others at a future gathering.

Carol E. Gunn, M.D.
Carol Gunn

I unfortunately lost my 59-year-old sister due to medical errors (that I found and brought back to the institution’s attention). I have a new mission in life. I have become an outspoken advocate for patient safety. I gave a TEDx in July, called, “Medical Errors: The Silent Killer in Medicine.” Despite my loss, I am doing very well, running my own little occupational medicine clinic in Portland, Oregon. Love the outdoor activities, hanging with friends, and playing with my Lab.

Sara B. Karp, M.D.
Karp family photos

It has been five years since my family and I became New Yorkers. I am family medicine faculty at The Mount Sinai Beth Israel Family Medicine Residency in NYC. The practice is a federally qualified community health center serving a very diverse population. My scope of practice includes colposcopy, but I long since gave up obstetrics. I still love teaching.

Bruce and I recently celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. Bruce is chief of G.I. at Mount Sinai Hospital, and continues to do clinical research and a lot of traveling.

My older son Noah finished school and is living at home. He works a part-time job in a local restaurant, and our goal is to increase his independent living skills so he can be living without his parents someday. My younger son Eli is a sophomore at Wesleyan University in Connecticut. He is working hard and greatly enjoying himself.

I hope you are all well and enjoying your lives and your careers.

Thomas A. Pattison, M.D.

Tom continues his private PM&R practice in Sacramento, focusing on Med Legal evaluations for workers compensation. His son Dave married a family practice physician specializing in sports medicine, and they plan to attend the Park City Sports Medicine conference together next March. He lives in El Macero with his wife Sarah. They spend quite a bit of time traveling the U.S. and Canada in their RV, and working on nuclear weapons/world peace issues.

Gary Tsai, M.D.

I graduated from the Class of 2009 (although I took a research year so am most close with Class of 2008). I recently started working as medical director and science officer of the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health’s Substance Abuse Prevention and Control program. As California is the first state in the nation to be approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to participate in the Drug Medi-Cal Organized Delivery System waiver, we’re working to transform the system of care for substance abuse for the 10 million residents of Los Angeles County.

Also, I produced and co-directed a feature-length documentary film on psychosis called VOICES that premiered on PBS this past May for Mental Health Awareness month, and is showing at the National Council for Behavioral Health Conference in Las Vegas in March 2016. We’re hoping to get a broader audience and, given the Steinberg Institute for Behavioral Health Policy and Leadership at UC Davis now, this might be of interest.

In Memoriam

Daniel T. O’Connor, M.D.

The UC Davis School of Medicine has established, in collaboration with his family, a grant honoring an alumnus who was an internationally renowned researcher of hypertension and renal disease.

The Daniel T. O’Connor, M.D. Memorial Research Grant will provide $7,500 annually to a fourth-year UC Davis medical student to support three months of supervised research. UC Davis medical students interested in the grant should apply for it in their third year.

The School of Medicine collaborated with the wife of Dr. O’Connor, Kellie Evans-O’Connor, and his family, friends and colleagues, to establish the grant. Dr. O’Connor graduated from the UC Davis School of Medicine in 1974 and died on Aug. 6, 2014.

After school Dr. O’Connor went on to a career in academic medicine, becoming a distinguished professor of medicine at UC San Diego. He was a world leader in the study of hypertension and renal disease. In 1989, Dr. O’Connor received the UC Davis School of Medicine’s Distinguished Alumnus Award.

After completing a residency and fellowship at UC San Diego, Dr. O’Connor joined the faculty of the school’s Division of Nephrology-Hypertension. During his career, Dr. O’Connor published more than 350 original articles in major, peer-reviewed journals, covering research that spanned basic biochemistry through clinical trials. His research gave his trainees invaluable skills across the full spectrum of medical investigation, and the many fellows and junior faculty trained by Dr. O’Connor have succeeded in academic medicine, pharmacology, biotechnology and nephrology.

Elliot E. Wong, M.D.
Elliot Wong

Born Sept. 20, 1965 in Los Angeles, Elliott grew up in Palo Alto, where he was active in Boy Scouts, earning the rank of Eagle Scout. He graduated from Palo Alto High School before attending UC Davis where he earned his undergraduate degree and his medical degree, which he received in 1992.

Elliott met his wife, Yvonne Otani in medical school and they both stayed on at the UC Davis Medical Center for residency, where he trained in internal medicine. He joined the Sutter Davis Medical Group in 2001 to practice internal medicine. He had several roles at Sutter including medical director of cardiac rehab, electronic health records (EHR) physician lead and EHR physician champion for Sutter Davis Hospital.

He was active in his son’s Boy Scout troop as well as the Buddhist Church of Sacramento, where he taught Sunday school. He volunteered at the Paul Hom Asian Free clinic for many years since his days as a medical student. He was a lifelong athlete enjoying running, skiing, camping and many other sports and outdoor adventures.

He is survived by his wife of 24 years, Dr. Yvonne Otani; daughter Marissa; son Ellison; mother Frances Wong of Menlo Park; and a large extended family. He was a compassionate, thoughtful and gentle person with a great sense of humor and will be dearly missed.