UC Davis School of Medicine

A Publication of UC Davis School of Medicine

Volume 13 • No 3 • Winter 2016/2017

Alumni updates


UC Davis School of Medicine Alumni Association happenings

Keeping in touch

Our number-one goal these days is to build a program that will truly engage our UC Davis School of Medicine alumni and as a result, develop a community of medical alumni that reaches all of our alumni – near and far. We want to establish an exceptional network for alumni to connect with one another, as well as with our medical students.

Talking with student leaders recently, we learned that our medical students would relish the opportunity to have more contact with alumni and be able to reach out to those who have been where they are now – and went on to have satisfying and successful journeys in medicine. While students have an exceptional opportunity to interact with UC Davis School of Medicine faculty who are alumni of the school, getting a perspective from those who have taken other paths is equally important to them.

As an alum, your willingness to be an additional resource – whether you connect with a student in person, through a phone conversation or with an email exchange – is invaluable. We are also working to provide more opportunities for alumni to connect with one another. We hope to offer you plenty of chances to rekindle friendships and professional connections as well as to establish new ones. Watch for invitations to alumni events in your home region and on campus. Respond and let us know what interests you (and what doesn’t!).

With all this in mind, please let us know where you are, what you’re doing, and the best way to reach you. Update your contact information (especially the email address that you access regularly) when something changes. Share your news – personal or professional.

You can reach us any time at medalumni@ucdavis.edu or call our office at 916-734-9410. You can also visit UC Davis School of Medicine Alumni Association. to submit your news, update your contact information, keep current on upcoming alumni events, and learn more about the ways you can become more involved with your medical alma mater.

Finally, remember that Alumni Weekend is October 27–29, 2017. Plan to come back and encourage friends and classmates to join you.

Join us in building our UC Davis SOM alumni network – your network!

Portrait of Topher Stephenson, M.D. Topher Stephenson, M.D.
President, UC Davis School of Medicine Alumni Association
Portrait of M.L. Farrell M.L. Farrell
Director, Alumni Engagement

M.D. Alumni

Randall Stenson

The opioid addiction and overdose epidemic has my clinic, CORE, administered by my two sons, Garrett and Marshall, and daughter-in-law, Dr. Christine Bell, who is assistant medical director, in the eye of the tornado. Garrett received the 2016 CalHEP Founders Award for his vision and leadership in statewide efforts to address the Hepatitis C epidemic. Marshall accepted a ‘good neighbor’ award on behalf of CORE from the Midtown Neighborhood Association. Dr. Bell, a UC Davis trained anesthesiologist and ABAM Board Certified addiction physician, recently became one of 2,000 physicians nationwide approved to implant Buprenorphine, which provides six months of effective slow release treatment. We are working with the Citrus Heights community leaders and the county to open a second clinic to assure adequate access to treatments we offer.

Michael Haynes

My wife, Jeanne Sirotkin, and I moved to Traverse City, Michigan when I retired in 2012. I couldn’t have asked for a better career than my 25-plus years at Providence Hospital in Southfield, Michigan as an Orthopedic Surgeon and 3-plus years at St. John Hospital in Detroit as Chief Medical Officer. Part of the fun was as Team Physician for 27 years at my former high school, Detroit Catholic Central. My four children are doing well and have blessed us with seven grandchildren. Stephen, my youngest, lives with his family in Traverse City also. Jeanne and I have been married nearly 41 years and are still going strong. Her book, Wrestling the Bear, published in 2013, won the Stephen F. Austin prize in fiction. I am running for Trustee at Northern Michigan College, so check out my webpage at www.haynes4NMC.com. Hope to make a trip back to California for one of the alumni weekends.

Robin Hansen

I am still on the pediatrics faculty at UC Davis, direct the Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities at the MIND Institute and the Developmental-Behavioral Pediatric Fellowship, and continue research on autism spectrum disorders. Enjoy it all, but the best thing ever is grandparenting and watching my daughters parent, along with their wonderful husbands — two grandchildren, 5 and 17 months, live in Humboldt and one, five months, lives in Davis! I just realized that next year will be our 40th anniversary — hope to see many of you to catch up at the next reunion!

Anne Hazelton
Anne Hazelton with son David, in Burlingame

I’m enjoying retirement immensely! In addition to Argentine tango dancing and Mah Jongg, I’ve taken up pickleball and am learning bridge. With the three grandkids a few minutes’ bike ride away, life is good! I was able to visit the peninsula and Sacramento in early September, and went to Devil’s Canyon Brewery for their Friday night food truck fest, where the original Tesla Roadster was made! (I’ve got my Model 3 reserved.) The picture is with my son David in Burlingame during my visit in September. Ping (Wang) Fisher took the photo.

John R. Clark
John R. Clark sitting on bench, with granddaughter

Greetings, I’m still alive and well here in Keene, Kentucky, just outside Lexington. Still practicing emergency medicine (37 years as of July), but have been winding down my hours slowly over the last few years and spending more and more of my time on our 25 acres of pasture and forest with my wife of 13 years and our dogs, cats and horses. I’m not quite ready to hang up my stethoscope completely, but when I do, I have to say, it’s been a good run. I am thankful for the education I got at UC Davis. That’s my granddaughter with me in the picture.

George Palma
George Palma with wife, Sheree

I retired from clinical practice with The Permanente Medical Group in December 2012. Since then I have been working as a lean consultant, now with IBM Watson Health; it’s very interesting work. Sheree has reduced her hours of work as a school nurse for the Loomis Unified School District. We still live in the country with goats, a dog, a cat, and many birds. We don’t know how much longer we’ll be willing to keep up with all the work this place demands. We are also doing a lot more traveling. Best trip so far: Africa. My son Nick lives nearby in Auburn, and is doing volunteer work with the SPCA. My daughter Cassandra is the third mate on the MV Ohio, an oil tanker plying the waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the east coast of the US. Still riding my mountain bike, though definitely on less technical trails that I used to ride. Takes too long to recover from a crash!

George York

I just retired from the practice of neurology after 34 years, the last 24 at Kaiser Permanente in Stockton. I also spent ten years as Treasurer and Chair of Finance and Audit for the medical group. I write two to three essays per year, mostly for medical audiences; believe it or not, one of them won a literary award. I see our classmates George Palma and David Steinberg (who lives across the street) regularly. I live in the metropolis of Fiddletown, population 100, with my wife Pamela Wehrlie York (B.S. UC Davis ’74).

Paul Beninger

I’m winding down my career in the pharmaceutical industry after eight years at the FDA, 11 at Merck and now ten at Genzyme, a Sanofi company, while have the fortuitous opportunity to ramp up an encore career at Tufts, teaching pharmacoepidemiology and serving as the Director of the MD/MBA program. My wife, Betsy, and our daughters, Martha and Anna, are well. I am blessed.

Elise Smith-Hoefer
Elise Smith-Hoefer fishing in river

I retired from my private orthopedic surgical practice two years ago and now divide my time between Davis and Big Sky Montana. I could not have picked a better career! The gifts of patient-doctor relationships I enjoyed over 30 years changed my life by encouraging multi-cultural empathy and understanding. My current goal is to live an active, interesting, creative and thoughtful life. As such, global travel and family time has dominated much of my free time. My sons live in the Bay Area. The youngest works as an airline pilot and fortunately feeds my travel addiction with a “parent pass.” My eldest trained as a psychiatrist and is amazed that I have adapted to the non-M.D. life so easily. Life can take many directions and I feel fortunate to have lived long enough to reach retirement. I wish the same for all of the Class of 1980!

Henry Walther

I have now been practicing anesthesiology with CASE Medical Group in Roseville since 1993, and in solo practice for four years before. My accomplishments are mostly quotidian, but I have made it to Africa for six month-long trips, passing on my skills to 3rd-world docs. The two boys are off to college and Lia and I celebrated our 24th this year. The profession we mostly love has certainly changed, hasn’t it? Yet our idealism and vigor as a class still warms me; I hope our patients still see it in us! Some of us have passed, and I still think of Shawn Smith often. I can be found, barely, on Facebook. Blessings to all!

Kathleen Jennison Goonan

Lots of changes this year. After building a consulting practice within Massachusetts General Hospital, Mongan Institute for Health Policy (2003-2011), and then taking that incubated practice private at Goonan Performance Strategies (2011-2016), I sold my company to Navigant Consulting, Inc. in January. I decided to do this because I wanted to work with a bigger, more diverse team of experts and that has proven both exciting and educational, a true growth opportunity for my team and myself. My daughter Kelly graduated from Cornell in May and moved to San Diego, where she’s looking for opportunities to use her research skills while applying to medical school, to be a “real” doctor, not like Mom. Very exciting, she is in California and bringing me back home regularly. Husband Tom is well and thriving, chief legal officer for Natick Labs U.S. Army. We are living in Baltimore area, be in touch and come visit. Kate.Goonan@Navigant.com

Nancy Griffith
Nancy Griffith

Three years ago I left my group practice in family medicine to open my own concierge practice in Torrance, CA. I love it! It is great to have the time and energy to do what my patients need. I am using what I have learned from my Masters in Public Health from Loma Linda University (1986) in helping my patients stay healthy. I love being back in the hospital, taking care of my patients during hospitalizations as well as in my office. If anyone is interested in doing this type of practice I would be happy to talk to you about it. My husband still has his solo oral surgery practice. Our vegetable garden has gotten bigger and continues year-round. We are learning creative ways to encourage ourselves to eat more vegetables. We enjoy the music and art in Southern California. I am looking forward to seeing my classmates at the reunion next year.

Randy Reed
Randy Reed with wife Linda

As two of the senior members of our respective classes, Linda is planning to retire from her dermatology practice by the end of 2017, and Randy retired from family practice last year. If you know of a good dermatologist wanting to relocate to Chico, she/he would have a wonderful group of patients-in-waiting. Linda returned to paper charts, is much happier and with more time since she no longer spends one to two hours nightly trying to make electronic health record notes coherent. Randy is the unpaid, part-time office manager, but has good benefits and more time to run and read and plan travel adventures (the enclosed photo is New Zealand in March). Our son Grant has a biology degree from UC Davis, and is studying computer programming with the goal of bioinformatics work in research or industry. Our family is doing well and offers best wishes to all.

Paul Bigeleisen

I work at the University of Maryland Medical Center providing anesthesia and I am also the director of pain management for the hospital. My daughter, Eve, works as a therapist in Boston. My daughter Hannah works as an artist in NYC and my son, Aaron, is studying to be an opera singer at Eastman Conservatory. My wife, Laurie, is retired from teaching.

Susan Ruffner-Statzer

This has been another year of tremendous change for me; I retired in March. I love having time for my new mastiff puppy, Charlie, a retired doctors book club, gardening, and quilting for a local teen center. I am planning to be in Italy and Croatia next year — what no paid vacation? I’m adjusting to being an empty nester and finding meaning outside of medicine — it’s an interesting process of redefining who I am apart from what I do for a living. I just visited with Pat Duletsky in Colorado, and I would love to see you all next year at the reunion!

Linda Davis-Reed

(See Randy Reed ’83)

Roxanne Tagayun
Roxanne Tagayun image collage: in helicopter, at beach

It’s still hard to believe that it has been 30 years since I left UC Davis — omg. Currently, I’m a staff anesthesiologist and physician in charge of the main operating room at Kaiser Orange County, working with a wonderful bunch of physicians and nurses. I’m married with a daughter starting her sophomore year at UC Berkeley. Moments of empty nest still creep up occasionally but overall happy and very thankful. I enjoy good food, great company, crazy books and movies, and traveling to different places. Looking forward to hearing from everyone.

Robert L. Berkowitz
Robert L. Berkowitz accepting First Prize at San Diego International Piano Competition

I continue to enjoy practicing psychiatry in full-time outpatient private practice. I have also been keeping up with my piano studies by participating for the past five years in a continuing education class at the New England Conservatory. Though my fiancé and I live outside of Boston, we visit California a few times a year to see my mother who resides in San Diego. This year, I entered the inaugural San Diego Inter-national Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs and was awarded First Prize. The weekend coincided with our celebration of my mother’s 94th birthday, and she was in the audience for all three rounds.

Jerilyn ‘De Von’ Wartell-Jackson

Greetings All! I have enjoyed a combination primary care/urgent care practice at a local community clinic over the past seven years, after a decade of practicing full-scope primary care medicine, followed by seven years of exclusive work in a hospital-affiliated urgent care center. Also, three years ago I was able to start a tax-exempt, 501(C)3 non-profit organization called, De Von Jackson, M.D. Ministries, Inc. (DJM), which has four areas of focus: 1) Preach/Teach God’s Word (Media Ministry); 2) Scholarships and other support for disadvantaged Students; 3) Medical Outreaches--USA & Abroad; 4) Sharing charitable support, acts of goodwill and kindness to persons in crisis. Further info at our website: www.djmd.org.
Take Care, De Von

Nolan Mayer

After a fellowship at UC Irvine I joined a cardiology practice in Oxnard, then joined Ventura Cardiology Consultants in Ventura in 2000, where I have been ever since. During the housing crash, I was able to buy an ocean view house in Santa Barbara, which my wife and I remodeled extensively and then moved into five years ago. I still work in Ventura, which is a quick thirty-minute drive against traffic but also practice at a Cottage hospital in Santa Barbara, which has been a lot of fun. Play tennis two to three days a week, go to many concerts around town and in LA and I am just having a great time. Never had children and lost our dog Poncho, a ten-pound Chihuahua/jack Russell mix, last year which was incredibly stressful but looking forward to having another family member soon.

Tom Brogan

(see Marisa D’Angeli 1992)

Marisa D’Angeli
Marisa D'Angeli and husband Tom hosting mini-reunion in Seattle

My husband Tom (Brogan ’90) and I hosted a mini-UC Davis Medical School reunion in July at home in Seattle. Joining us were Josephine Lindt (’91), Ali Moiin (‘91), Kathy (Liniecki) Gregory (’90), Nina (Dinh) Newell (’91), and spouses and children. The friends were thrilled to be in the same town for a weekend and enjoyed catching up with each other, seeing art, cooking together, eating fine food, drinking wine, and celebrating friendship.

Tom and I, married 25 years this year, have three children, Benicia, 27, Adrian, 17, and Linus, 17. Tom is attending in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Seattle Children’s Hospital and I am Medical Epidemiologist at the Washington State Department of Health. We thank UC Davis School of Medicine for bringing all of us together.

Mark Drabkin
Mark Drabkin with wife and two kids

I still recall many great times and great people from my medical school days. I am always grateful for the education and opportunities that I received from UC Davis. After training in ophthalmology at Ohio State University, I eventually made my way back to California and have been living in Davis and working at Kaiser South Sacramento since 1999. I finally got married in 2006 to a beautiful and inspiring lady and have two great kids, Lyla, 6, and Samuel, 4, who are the light of my life. If only I could get ten percent of their energy, I think I would be able to solve all the problems of the world. I have been very fortunate to be able to travel from time to time on humanitarian surgical missions; and over the years have been able to do short term work in Central America, Africa, and Asia. I am always impressed when I travel to these other countries to see the ingenuity of the local doctors who are able to accomplish so much and do great surgeries with the limited resources that they have to work with. I am hoping to see a lot of my classmates again at the reunion next year

Dale Lensing
Dale Lensing with wife and four kids at a lake in Yosemite

Married to my lovely wife Lisa for 29 years. We have four children Jonathan, 22, Jacob, 20, Joseph Samuel, 17, and Jacqueline, 15. Oldest one is in his sixth week of medical school at University of Iowa in Iowa City. He wants to do either oral surgery or plastics. Second one is wiser; he wants dental school. I have been at the same practice for almost 20 years, but no longer private. We are currently hospital owned. We really miss being private, but it’s obviously very difficult in today’s environment. We live in the Dutch community of Pella, Iowa. It is near Des Moines and has about 12,000 people. Our photo is from Yosemite this past summer. We took all of the kids for a final family vacation together back to California for ten days. Still a very lovely state and my most favorite vacation spot. Would love to retire there if my kids will let us. If you are ever in Iowa come visit us.

Sunil Bhopale

I have been busy with my family and being chief of the emergency department at Kaiser in Redwood City. I have been particularly focused on opioid management as well as acute stroke management at a regional level for Kaiser Permanente Northern California. Had a chance to see Lynn Mortensen earlier this year and ran into Elmer Pineda on a cruise in the Baltic Sea last year!

Abdul K. Harris
Portrait of Abdul K. Harris

Re-married for five years, with five girls, ages 3–19. One daughter is in her second year of college. I recently received a Medical Hero award from the Northwest Chapter American Red Cross. Still working as community surgeon and trauma specialist in Santa Rosa for the last 15 years! Local volunteer with Operation Access and mentor. My wife and I were just featured on HGTV’s Mexico Life.

Kimberly Carter

I’m still in Westchester, NY. I’m a partner at WestMed Medical group doing family medicine/urgent Care for about 12 years now and still enjoying it! Miss the west coast weather though!

Michelle Goldman Ashley
Michelle Goldman Ashley hiking with husband and two kids

I work part time as a psychiatrist in my own practice in West Los Angeles. My husband Robert is an internist. My son Colin is in 8th grade and working on becoming an Eagle Scout and plays the tenor saxophone. My daughter Shawna is in 5th grade and enjoys tap, soccer, basketball, writing and playing the ukulele. I coached my daughter’s U8 and U10 soccer team for two seasons and am now an assistant referee for AYSO.

Anne Cooper

My wife, Kim Wilson, and I raise our daughters in Washington State. I have been teaching at a family medicine residency, and Kim is a historian for the Makah Tribe of Indians. Our children are in college and high school now, and we plan to split our time between Austin, Texas and Washington in the coming years. The only other UC Davis graduate I know of is in Spokane ­— Dave Fregeau, who is still a pediatrician over there, as far as I know. I am grateful for, and have many happy memories of, the Davis community.

Elmo Agatep
Elmo Agatep, team physician for USA's Beach Volleyball team in Rio during Olympic Games

Greetings from rainless Southern California! Since completing a residency in family medicine and a fellowship in sports medicine, I found a home in a group practice in Seal Beach, California. My wife and I also now have two daughters who run us ragged but have bought so much joy and laughter to our lives. Apart from practicing medicine, I am a volunteer faculty member at the Sports Medicine Fellowship Program at Harbor UCLA. I also am the team physician for USA Beach Volleyball and was fortunate to accompany the team to Rio during the Olympic Games. It was definitely an experience of a lifetime and I am honored to continue to work with these exceptional athletes. I miss my time at Davis and look forward to visiting soon! In the picture I’m third from the left in the front row.

Rebecca Clendenin
Rebecca Clendenin with co-workers Yulan and Molly

I am living in San Francisco with my husband Mark and our two children Caroline and Margaret, ages 10 and 4. I completed my residency in psychiatry at California Pacific Medical Center in 2013 and spent the past three years working in Psychiatric Emergency Services at San Francisco General Hospital. As of September 1, 2016, I am working full-time as an outpatient psychiatrist at Kaiser San Francisco. I was lucky to be hired by and now to work with Dr. Molly James-Myers (MD 2008) and Dr. Yulan Liao (MD 2001). This summer I had a lovely but brief visit with my dear friend Dr. Amy Harley (MD,MPH 2009) and her family in Bellingham, Washington where she works as a pediatric hospitalist. I also keep in touch with Dr. Sweta Shah (MD 2008) who has recently launched her private psychiatry practice in San Francisco. When I am not planning a complete Aggie takeover of the Kaiser San Francisco Department of Psychiatry, I still enjoy skiing in Tahoe, Mt. Biking, and being a very distracted room parent for my youngest daughter’s preschool class. The picture (from right to left): Yulan Liao (MD 2001), Rebecca Clendenin (MD 2009), Molly James-Myers (MD 2008).

Erin Meierhenry Noren
Wedding photo of Erin Noren with husband Erik

I’m in my final year of Internal Medicine residency at UCLA. I plan to continue on at UCLA next year as faculty in primary care, with an active role in medical education. My husband, Erik, is a general surgery resident at USC and we recently celebrated two years of marriage. In the little spare time we have, we enjoy the beach, hiking and exploring the many food adventures that LA has to offer!


Michael Schermer

Ophthamology Residency

Through this note the UC Davis Depart-ment of Ophthalmology & Vision Science offers its congratulations to Michael Schermer, M.D, the honoree for the Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser Award presented by the California Capital Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals in conjunction with National Philanthropy Day this November. This award recognizes those who exemplify the ethics, commitment and dedication necessary to improve our society. For his countless contributions to the UC Davis Eye Center and to the blind and visually impaired in our community, we are incredibly proud of Dr. Schermer for receiving this honor.

George York

Neurology Residency

(See note Class of 1978)

John C. (Jack) Rutledge
John Rutledge with wife under stone archway

Internal Medicine Residency (current UC Davis Professor, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine)

Still doing cardiology clinic and wards. New research interests are the vascular contributions to dementia and lipotoxicity and insulin resistance in skeletal muscle. Working with a great group of people in the SOM, SOVM, and DBS.

Paul Beninger

Internal Medicine Residency

(See note MD Class of 1979)

David Elkin

Psychiatry Residency

I have been working with San Francisco General Hospital Consultation Liaison Service and Psychiatric Emergency Services since graduating residency. I’m a clinical professor of psychiatry at UCSF and co-coordinator for medical student education, and a member of the Academy of Medical Educators. My interests include education, ethics, medical humanities, and critical thinking in clinical and ethical decision-making. I completed a Masters in the Study of Law (MSL) at UC Hastings this past winter. I live in Oakland with my wife, Claudia Toomey, a psychologist whom I met during residency at a talk by Oliver Sacks. We have a son and daughter in college.

Nolan Mayer


(See note Class of 1989)

Abdul K. Harris

General Surgery Residency

(See note Class of 1995)

Tara Arness Vu

Family Practice Residency

My husband Kelvin Vu and I are happy practicing full-spectrum Family Medicine on California’s northern coast in Humboldt County, where I practice family medicine and obstetrics including C-sections, and Kelvin is active in medical leadership with Open Door Community Health Centers. We had a son, Iver, in 2014.

Kelvin Vu

Family Practice Residency

(See Tara Arness Vu)


Gwen Stephens MD - UC Davis Medical School Class of 1992

With a heavy heart I wanted to relate the passing of Gwen Stephens back in July of 2014 after a battle with cancer.

Gwen had returned to school in her late thirties and fulfilled her dream of becoming a doctor, in spite of numerous difficulties in her way as a newly-single parent with three children (such as a four-hour daily commute during her first two years of medical school).

Gwen’s great comfort during difficult personal and financial circumstances of medical school was her children and all the relationships she developed at UC Davis. Gwen was always devoted to her children and ended up raising a teacher, a pilot, and a lawyer.

She was a Canadian citizen and moved back up to British Columbia after school to complete her training in infectious diseases. She ended up working in Saudi Arabia for most of her career where she was on the front lines of the emerging MERS epidemic; and in fact was one of the team members that gave MERS its name.

Gwen’s daughter Jill relates that her mom was “an amazing cook, a benevolent parent, a medical whiz, and a kind soul.” She shielded her children from the difficult circumstances of her life and was very grateful for the assistance of the UC Davis Medical School and all her friends there in helping her overcome many of the obstacles she faced in getting through school. At some point Gwen received a “True Grit” award from her fellow students. Jill relates that her mom “beamed when she brought it home and continued to do so later in life. I think this small but prized token bestowed in united recognition of her struggles meant more to her than her colleagues could have ever guessed.”

Because of the warm feelings Gwen had for the UC Davis community she came back to Davis in death and was buried here in the local cemetery. She will be greatly missed by her family and friends. May her memory be a blessing.

Mark Drabkin, M.D.
UC Davis School of Medicine Class of 92