As the child of a single mother growing up in one of San Francisco’s poorest neighborhoods, Dr. Esteban Burchard’s background makes him particularly sensitive to issues surrounding health equity. He is a world leader in efforts to untangle the contributions of genes and environment in the expression of common diseases. Much of his work centers on childhood asthma, for which he runs the world’s largest cohort of diverse patients in an effort to better understand the risk factors for the disease and the predictors of outcomes and responses to therapy.
He has also made major contributions in the areas of health disparities, precision medicine, and the promotion of underrepresented populations in the health professions. He is a Professor of Pharmacy and Medicine at UCSF and director of the UCSF Center on Genes, Environment and Health. He is proud of being able to merge his personal passion with academic rigor.
His honors include membership on President Obama’s Precision Medicine task force, as well as election to the Alumni Hall of Fame at San Francisco State University and his selection as an Academic All-American for wrestling.
Watch — Dr. Esteban Burchard – A Life in Medicine: People Shaping Healthcare Today
Dr. Rebecca Berman was recently recruited to UCSF to direct the internal medicine residency program, generally considered to be one of the nation’s finest. Dr. Berman comes to UCSF from Harvard, where she directed the primary care residency program at Brigham & Womens Hospital.
She sits down with Dr. Bob Wachter, Chair, Department of Medicine, UCSF, to discuss her upbringing, her surprising undergraduate pursuits and her longstanding commitment to social justice and health equity. She discusses her approach to mentoring and career development, and her view of how medical training needs to evolve to meet the needs of trainees and patients. She also talks about how her work-life balance and describes being a doctor as a great Mom job.
Watch Dr. Rebecca Berman – A Life in Medicine: People Shaping Healthcare Today
They may not seem related, but Dr. Sandro Galea, Dean of the Boston University School of Public Health, says we can approach guns, obesity and opioids in the same manner: population health. Dr. Galea breaks down the key concepts of population health – a relatively new field – during the inaugural Colloquium on Population Health and Health Equity at the UCSF School of Medicine.
Dr. Galea argues guns, obesity and opioids are the three epidemics of our time, and three of the main reasons life expectancy is declining in the United States. They also share three key characteristics: They are important, costly health concerns. They are complex. They are resistant to simple solutions. The key to overcoming these challenges Dr. Galea says, is using the population health approach.
He lists nine principles of population health, but focuses on four, including the concept that small changes in ubiquitous causes of health problems can have a greater impact than big changes to rare causes. Dr. Galea uses the example that while much has been done to curb the overprescription of opioids, the epidemic continues to grow. That’s because other options, like synthetic opioids, have become more widely available. Dr. Galea says that’s where population health comes in – finding ways to improve health on a large scale, and addressing epidemics from every angle.
Watch Guns, Obesity, and Opioids: A Population Health Science Approach to Contemporary Concerns