Alumni News

News from the Alumni Office

Greetings, MedCats! I am pleased to share many exciting COM alumni developments: White Coat, Stethoscope and Scholarship Drive Thanks to the generous support of so many of you, every student in the Class of 2019 will receive the gift of a white coat and stethoscope!  In addition, COM alumni and faculty have given more than $20,000 for student...


Message from Dean Cairns: Exciting Conversations, Extraordinary Times

Greetings, Alumni and Friends, We have passed the 90-day mark of our partnership with Banner Health, and it’s really been an extraordinary 90 days. The first thing we’ve been able to do is to show it’s possible to have an evolving and synergistic partnership between a large not-for-profit health-care system and an academic institution. The...


Julia Indik: How a Childhood Longing for Space Adventure Led to a Career in Cardiology

When she was 5, growing up in New York City, Julia Indik wanted to be an astronaut – something a lot of kids want to be. But over time, her longing for space adventure evolved into a passion for math and physics, and that eventually led her to the UA College of Medicine, where she received her MD in 1996. Today Dr. Indik is a cardiologist with the...


Class Notes: Keeping You Connected

April 2015Joel Kunkel, MD, Class of 1972jwklerkim@earthlink.netLife has been good to the Kunkels. We were married in 1964 in Arizona and returned to Tucson in 2014 to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. I’m retired from the Emergency Department, after 32 years, but still work eight hours a week at Med Now PC, a walk-in clinic (aka Doc in the...


Greetings from Interim Dean Chuck Cairns, MD

Greetings, Alumni and Friends,As you know, this is an extraordinary time for the UA College of Medicine. It’s also an extraordinary honor for me to have been appointed interim dean at this time.I want to share a little bit about me, and my thoughts about this College of Medicine and its future.My family and I moved to Tucson last year from Chapel...


Match Day 2015: A Big Boost for Primary Care

The College of Medicine’s 34th Match Day found more students going into family medicine, internal medicine and pediatrics, with nearly half staying in Arizona. More than a third of the students who will graduate in May from the UA College of Medicine - Tucson matched into residencies in primary care – good news at a time when Arizona and the...


Rajni Gunnala, MD-MPH: Since Childhood, a Global Perspective on Health Disparities

When Rajni Gunnala was growing up, her family spent summer vacations in India, her parents’ native country. As a result, young Rajni, who grew up in the U.S., developed an increasing awareness of “the gross social and health disparities in the world, which helped me to nurture a global perspective from early childhood on.” It’s a perspective, and...


Founding and Early Faculty Dinner: Celebrating 'Service, Hard Work and Dedication'

More than 200 people attended this year’s College of Medicine Founding and Early Faculty Dinner, March 10 at Tucson Country Club. It couldn’t have been a prettier evening, with temperatures in the high 70s, a gorgeous Tucson sunset and the Santa Catalina Mountains darkening in the background. The dinner got rave reviews. Faculty enjoyed comparing...


'I Was In Their Shoes'

By Jane Erikson It’s been 40 years since Garry D. Strauser, MD, graduated from the UA College of Medicine. But he still remembers how difficult it was to pay for medical school. “And of course, those struggles pale in comparison to the indebtedness encountered by our current student doctors,” Dr. Strauser said after making a gift to aid a student...


CDC Global Health Director: Ebola Epidemic Still ‘Just a Plane Ride Away’

By Jane Erikson November 14 was an extraordinary day in global health. It was a Friday, the day the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention publishes its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. But on this Friday, the CDC published six MMWRs, all related to the Ebola virus epidemic. Four of the reports focused on the outbreak in Liberia,...


Myra Muramoto, MD, MPH: Interim Head of Family and Community Medicine and Wildcat for Life

By Jane Erikson Myra Muramoto, MD, MPH, the newly appointed interim head of Family and Community Medicine, is widely respected for her more than 20 years of research leading to innovative programs to help people quit smoking. She’s also one who can claim the title of Wildcat for Life. She holds a bachelor’s degree, MD and master’s in public health...


Banner Update: ‘This Relationship Will Make Us Better’

By Jane Erikson Banner Health and the UA Health Network are set to sign an acquistion agreement on Jan. 31 – a bold move that UA Health Network CEO Michael Waldrum, MD, told employees “will transform health care in Arizona.” Acquiring the UA Health Network (UAHN) – comprised of two teaching hospitals, the region’s only Level One trauma center,...


'Just Like Family'

By Jane Erikson At our 2014 Reunion and Homecoming tailgate party, we asked some of you to describe your reunion experience – in one word. The most frequent responses: "fabulous” and “family.” “Family,” said Mark Tamaroff, MD, a graduate of the Class of 1974, and an allergy and asthma specialist in Long Beach. “We were the fourth graduating class...


Alumni Affairs News

Greetings, MedCats! Thanks to the generous support of so many of you, every student in the Class of 2018 received the gift of a white coat and stethoscope, to help each of them get off to a good start in medical school. This was the first formal effort by the Office of Alumni Affairs to create a program of direct support to incoming students....


Like Father, Like Son

Written By: Jane Erikson Of all the family photos in Scott Klewer’s office, one seems especially significant. It’s a 1997 photo of his two young sons, in a frame decorated with quotes. One says, “Dad, we’d like to be just like you.”  Seventeen years later, Klewer, a 1991 graduate of the UA College of Medicine and now chief of the UA Division of...


Andrew Kraft, MD, Appointed Sydney E. Salmon Endowed Chair and Director of the UA Cancer Center

Written By: Jane Erikson During his 35 years as a cancer clinician and researcher, Andrew S. Kraft, MD, has experienced many memorable moments. “One that stands out was when I first used Gleevec to treat a gastrointestinal stromal tumor,” he recalled. “The patient had an amazing response. “This experience in the mid 1990’s taught me that...


Class Notes, October 2014

Gabriel Sarah, MD, Class of 2008Gabriel.Sarah@UCSF.eduI have recently been appointed health sciences assistant clinical professor in the Department of Anesthesia and Perioperative Care at the University of California – San Francisco, with the UCSF division of pediatric anesthesia. Prior to my appointment, I completed my residency in anesthesiology...


Bennett Blum, MD: World-Renowned Forensic Psychiatrist, Expert in Elder Abuse, Rabbi and Private Practitioner

Written By: Jane Erikson In 2004, Bennett Blum, MD, traveled to The Hague, Netherlands, as a United Nations consultant and expert witness in the war-crimes trial of Yugoslav army general Pavle Strugar – a follower of Slobodan Milosevic, the former Yugoslavian president and convicted war criminal. Strugar was found guilty on multiple counts of...


The Class of 2018: Diverse Backgrounds, Common Dreams

Written By: Jane EriksonThe Class of 2018 includes three Native American students, two who came to the U.S. from South and Central America, and a Tucson native. At their White Coat Ceremony in August, they heard from Sister Adele O’Sullivan, MD, CSJ, Class of 1984, and 2014 Alumnus of the Year, who has been nationally recognized for her work with...


Francisco Garcia, MD, MPH: A Catalyst for Change

By Jane Erikson As Director and Chief Medical Officer of the Pima County Health Department, Francisco Garcia, MD, MPH, is responsible for safeguarding the health of more than 1 million people. It sounds a bit daunting. But Garcia, a 1992 graduate of the UA College of Medicine, has been focused on the health of populations – particularly minorities...


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