May 20, 2013 - By Susan Ipaktchian
To an already impressive list of honors, Gabriel Garcia can now add one more: He is the 2013 recipient of the Dr. Augustus A. White III and Family Faculty Professionalism Award.
Garcia, MD, is a professor of gastroenterology and hepatology, and the associate dean of MD admissions for the School of Medicine. He will receive the award June 3 during a reception at the Li Ka Shing Center for Learning and Knowledge.
The award is administered by the school's Office of Diversity and Leadership, and honors a faculty member who has worked to help reduce health disparities or to enhance the effectiveness of minorities in the university community through research, education, mentoring or service. It is named for White, MD, PhD, who was the medical school's first African-American graduate and has been a pioneer and role model for underrepresented minorities in academic medicine.
In a letter nominating Garcia for the award, former medical school dean Philip Pizzo, MD, wrote that Garcia demonstrated deep commitment to admitting a highly diverse group of medical students each year. "More specifically, Dr. Garcia has championed recruiting students with broad and different backgrounds, from those deeply engaged in science and research to those committed to social justice, art and the humanities," Pizzo wrote.
Garry Gold, MD, professor of radiology, wrote that Garcia has long taken his interest in diversity beyond the borders of the campus. For instance, he noted that Garcia is the co-founder of the Patient Advocacy Program, a yearlong course that trains pre-medical and medical students in community and free clinics, including the Ravenswood Family Health Center in East Palo Alto.
"Community outreach is at the core of collaborative enterprise centered on the patient, and Dr. Garcia's local accomplishments have certainly furthered the School of Medicine's ability to impact minority populations," Gold wrote in his nomination letter.
Garcia has also sponsored "alternative spring break" trips for undergraduates that examine health issues of farm workers in the Salinas Valley, and a similar spring break trip for medical students to study Native American health issues at the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota. And he helps lead the Community Health in Oaxaca Program, which is designed for students committed to working with the immigrant Latino population in the United States
Garcia also works closely with an organization founded by medical students in 2007 to contribute to the field of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender health, and to advocate for LGBT patients and providers. In addition, he served as faculty director of the university's Haas Center for Public Service from 2006 to 2010.
In 2012, he received the Miriam Aaron Roland Volunteer Service Prize from the Haas Center. That same year, he was named the William and Dorothy Kaye University Fellow in Undergraduate Education, part of the Bass University Fellows in Undergraduate Education program.
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