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Medical school dean, veterinary parasitologist elected to prestigious Institute of Medicine

October 17, 2011

Claire Pomeroy, vice chancellor for human health sciences and dean of the UC Davis School of Medicine, and Patricia Conrad, a professor and veterinary parasitologist in the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, have been elected to the Institute of Medicine, one of the nation’s highest honors in health and medicine.

“In electing Dean Pomeroy and Professor Conrad, the Institute of Medicine has chosen two of the brightest, most visionary health scientists in the nation,” said UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi. “Their innovative thinking will be a tremendous asset in guiding the nation’s key decision makers.

“It is quite fitting that together, they represent the field of One Health, which encompasses both human and veterinary medicine and is one of UC Davis’ exceptional strengths as it addresses vitally important health issues at home and abroad,” Katehi said.

One Health is a global movement that promotes collaborative efforts between health professionals from various fields, working with other disciplines to find solutions to human and animal health challenges and environmental change.

The election of Conrad and Pomeroy brings to 11 the total number of current and emeritus UC Davis faculty who are Institute of Medicine members. This prestigious group has more than doubled in the last year. This year UC Davis successfully recruited two members of the Institute of Medicine: James Hildreth, dean of the College of Biological Sciences, and Michael Lairmore, dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine.

The institute, an independent, nonprofit branch of the National Academy of Sciences, announced the elections of Pomeroy and Conrad today, along with those of 63 other new members and five foreign associates, during its 41st annual meeting. Lifelong members and associates volunteer their time and expertise for a variety of activities, including participation on national advisory committees that offer authoritative advice on health and health-care issues.

Pomeroy oversees UC Davis Health System and all of its academic, research and clinical programs, including the School of Medicine, the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing, the 800-member UC Davis Medical Group and the 645-bed acute-care UC Davis Medical Center.

Pomeroy’s dedication to reducing health disparities and improving health outcomes has made her a role model for academic health leaders nationwide. She created the UC Davis Center for Reducing Health Disparities to directly address the social determinants of health. She also led the way in creating medical education programs designed to increase the number of physician leaders who are trained in and committed to serving medically underserved communities.

Pomeroy’s inspiring creativity has resulted in multiple high-impact programs that incorporate advanced technologies to improve health-care access and quality. Under her leadership, UC Davis established one of the nation’s most expansive telemedicine networks to enhance access to clinical services in rural and other medically underserved regions of the state. Recently, UC Davis Medical Center achieved the Stage 6 designation of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society Analytics Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model, a distinction recognizing the use of technology solutions to improve patient safety and quality of care.

Pomeroy has nurtured several transformative, interprofessional research and education endeavors to bolster the next generation of pioneering investigators and trainees. Her accomplishments include establishing the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing, creating the UC Davis Clinical and Translational Science Center, starting the Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health program at two institutions, and advancing the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine as a member of its governing board. As one of the nation’s leading infectious disease physicians, Pomeroy has conducted significant research on the role of a group of proteins known as cytokines in modulating viral infections. She is chair-elect of the board of directors of the Association of Academic Health Centers and incoming chair of the council of deans of the Association of American Medical Colleges

Conrad, an expert on how disease-causing single-celled parasites are transmitted between wildlife, humans and domestic animals, is co-director of the One Health Center at the University of California Global Health Institute. In this leadership position, she promotes collaborative research and education that address the interconnectedness of humans, animals and the environment. Information about the center is available at: http://www.ucghi.universityofcalifornia.edu/.

Conrad is known worldwide for her work on babesiosis, a tick-transmitted parasitic disease that afflicts humans, rodents and dogs. Her experience working on tick-transmitted diseases in Africa led to the discovery of two new species of related babesial parasites in dogs and humans in the United States.

In addition, she and her collaborators in the School of Veterinary Medicine have worked to improve the diagnosis and control of neosporosis, a major cause of fetal death in cattle, which takes a significant economic toll on the California dairy industry.

A member of the UC Davis faculty since 1984, Conrad leads a team of researchers investigating the presence of disease-causing parasites and bacteria in freshwater, marine and coastal ecosystems in California. Of particular interest are parasites and pollutants that are finding their way into the coastal waters and undermining the health of sea otters. Information about the project is available at http://seaotterresearch.org.

In addition to her research, Conrad is a mentor to graduate and professional students and has developed innovative computerized educational programs to encourage active, problem-based learning in parasitology and global One Health.

In 2004, she became the first veterinarian to receive the prestigious Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellowship for her work on pollutants and the health of the Southern sea otter. She continues to be committed to conveying science to policymakers and the public, to improve animal and human health and environmental sustainability.

About UC Davis Health System

UC Davis Health System is advancing the health of patients everywhere by providing excellent patient care, conducting groundbreaking research, fostering innovative, interprofessional education, and creating dynamic, productive partnerships with the community. The academic health system includes one of the country's best medical schools, a 645-bed acute-care teaching hospital, an 800-member medical group and the new Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing. It is home to a National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center, an international neurodevelopmental institute, a stem cell institute and a comprehensive children's hospital. Other nationally prominent centers focus on advancing telemedicine, improving vascular care, eliminating health disparities and translating research findings into new treatments for patients. Together, they make UC Davis a hub of innovation that is transforming health for all. For more information, visit http://healthsystem.ucdavis.edu.

About the School of Veterinary Medicine

The UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine provides statewide teaching, research and service programs of the highest quality to advance animal health, public health and environmental health in California and beyond. The School of Veterinary Medicine is California’s only public school authorized to confer the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree, a four-year course of academic study and clinical training. The school also offers master's and doctoral programs in disciplines related to veterinary medicine and science. Faculty experts treat more than 35,000 animals each year, teach essential clinical skills to veterinary students and train specialty veterinarians at the William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital. Faculty accomplish their research in academic departments and centers of excellence that promote studies into the health of food animals, wildlife, equines, companion animals and other species. For further information, visit http://www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/.

About UC Davis

UC Davis is a global community of individuals united to better humanity and our natural world while seeking solutions to some of our most pressing challenges. Located near the California state capital, UC Davis has more than 34,000 students, and the full-time equivalent of 4,100 faculty and other academics and 17,400 staff. The campus has an annual research budget of over $750 million, a comprehensive health system and 13 specialized research centers. The university offers interdisciplinary graduate study and 99 undergraduate majors in four colleges and six professional schools.

Media contact(s):

  • Karen Finney, Health System Public Affairs, (916) 734-9064, karen.finney@ucdmc.ucdavis.edu
  • Patricia Conrad, School of Veterinary Medicine, (530) 304-4808, paconrad@ucdavis.edu (Conrad is currently in Africa, but can be reached by cell phone and e-mail or on Skype at patricia.conrad33.)
  • Pat Bailey, UC Davis News Service, (530) 752-9843, pjbailey@ucdavis.edu

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