In Memoriam: Harold J. Simon, MD, PhD

Harold J. Simon, MD, PhD

Harold J. Simon, MD, PhD

The Department of Medicine celebrates the life and mourns the passing on August 6 of Harold J. Simon, MD, PhD, professor emeritus of medicine and inaugural chief of the Division of International Health and Cross-Cultural Medicine, now the Division of Global Public Health.

An influential leader in the field of international health and health policy, Simon was a founding father of the UCSD School of Medicine. He was recruited to the school in 1966 and served as its first dean of admissions, education and student affairs.

He wove global health training into the curriculum, designing community-based and international programs for students. Among these were courses in Spanish and cross-cultural issues that were the first of their kind in the nation.

Nationally and internationally, Simon advanced global health training and cultural awareness in medicine. His many achievements included the establishment of the Division of International Health for the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. With particular concern for small, isolated countries, he advised developing nations as they established medical education and health care delivery systems.

In 2001, the Harold J. Simon Chair In International Health and Cross-Cultural Medicine was established in his honor at UCSD.

Quoted in a UCSD press release at that time, Simon said, “I think it is necessary for all students to realize that there are significant differences in disease incidence and prevalence, in the way health care is delivered, and how concepts of health and illness are viewed by diverse cultures throughout the world. Medicine doesn’t recognize any geographic or national borders.

“In a world where the inequalities of health are grotesque; where for many millions of people health is absent throughout life; where nevertheless every individual has the right to the enjoyment of health, are we as doctors content to leave things as they are?”

Dr. Steffanie StrathdeeThe Harold J. Simon Chair In International Health and Cross-Cultural Medicine is now held by Steffanie Strathdee, PhD, Associate Dean of Global Health Sciences, Harold Simon Professor and Chief of the Division of Global Public Health.

Quoted in a La Jolla Patch memorial story about Simon last week, Strathdee said, “He will be remembered by our division as its founder and tireless mentor, and by his students the world over as their inspiration to a career in global health.

“For me personally,” she said, “I have lost a treasured friend.”

More Information:

Press release: UCSD Chair in International Health and Cross-Cultural Medicine Named For Harold J. Simon, M.D., Ph.D. UCSD School of Medicine News, Health Sciences Communications press release, February 8, 2001.  |  Read the story

Video interview: Harold Simon, Founding Father at UC San Diego School of Medicine. UCSD Medical Center video posted February 2, 2012. |  Watch video

Interview: Dr. Harold Simon of La Jolla reviews his legacy in medicine at UCSD. La Jolla Light interview posted on February 28, 2012.  |  Read interview

Memorial story: Harold Simon, Founding Member of UCSD School of Medicine, Dies at 85. La Jolla Patch story, posted on August 15, 2013.  |  Read story

Memorial story: First Dean of Admissions at UCSD’s School of Medicine. San Diego Union-Tribune, posted August 18, 2013.  |  Read story

Presenting at Medicine Grand Rounds September 4: Dr. Ian Jenkins

Dr. Ian JenkinsMedicine Grand Rounds will resume on Wednesday, September 4, 2013, with a presentation by Ian Jenkins, MD, Health Sciences associate clinical professor in the Division of Hospital Medicine at UC San Diego.

His presentation is titled, “America’s Cost-Quality Crisis.”

Jenkins holds a number of leadership positions in the Society of Hospital Medicine (SHM), the largest professional organization dedicated to hospitalists and hospital quality improvement.

Jenkins is an advisor for the SHM Quality Improvement Resource Rooms.

At the annual meeting of the SHM in May 2013, Jenkins co-directed the pre-course, “QI for High Value Healthcare: Making the ABIM Foundation Choosing Wisely® Campaign a Reality.”

Jenkins was part of the UCSD team that conducted the award-winning Optimal Prevention of Hospital Acquired Venous Thromboembolism study funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

Subsequently, he headed a study of the impact of optimal venous thromboembolism prophylaxis on the rate of heparin-induced thrombocytopenia. The study was published in The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety in 2011.  |  Read study abstract

In the UCSD School of Medicine, Jenkins co-directs the “Principles to Practice” pre-internship course, a required clinical core course for fourth-year medical students. His hospital quality improvement projects for UC San Diego Health System include an effort to improve the management of alcohol withdrawal.

Jenkins received his MD degree from the University of Virginia Medical School in Charlottesville, Virginia, and did his residency training at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts.

The 2013-2014 schedule for Medicine Grand Rounds is posted here.

Dr. David Brenner Speaking at Grand Rounds March 13

David A. Brenner, MD Speaking at Medicine Grand Rounds on March 13 is Dr. David A. Brenner, vice chancellor for health sciences, dean of the UCSD School of Medicine and professor of medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology.

A physician-scientist, Brenner is widely respected for his translational research in liver disease. He will speak at Grand Rounds on new approaches to therapy for fibrosis.

Brenner is a member of numerous honorific societies including the American Society of Clinical Investigation, the American College of Physicians and the Association of American Physicians, of which he is immediate Past President. Last year, he was elected to the Institute of Medicine.

UC San Diego press releases about his recent research:

Read Dr. Brenner’s School of Medicine Biography

About Medicine Grand Rounds

UCSD’s Medicine Grand Rounds is held weekly on Wednesday mornings, 7:30 – 8:30 a.m., in the Liebow Auditorium, second floor, Biomedical Sciences Building on the UCSD School of Medicine Campus. There is a hiatus in summer.

To see this year’s schedule and find video viewing information, visit the Medicine Grand Rounds page on the Department of Medicine website.

Scarring Cells Revert to Inactive State As Liver Heals

Research with mice reveals possible strategy to reverse fibrosis in liver and other organs

An international team of scientists, led by researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, report that significant numbers of myofibroblasts – cells that produce the fibrous scarring in chronic liver injury – revert to an inactive phenotype as the liver heals. The discovery in mouse models could ultimately help lead to new human therapies for reversing fibrosis in the liver, and in other organs like the lungs and kidneys…. Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom


Dr. David A. Brenner
Senior author of the study report is David A. Brenner, MD, vice chancellor for Health Sciences, dean of the UC San Diego School of Medicine and professor of medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology.

Among the coauthors is Wolfgang H. Dillmann, MD, Helen M. Ranney Professor and Chair, Department of Medicine and translational researcher in the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism.

Insulin Resistance, Inflammation and a Muscle-Saving Protein

In the online May 2 issue of the journal Cell Metabolism, researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine publish three distinct articles exploring:

  • the complex interactions of lipids and inflammation in insulin resistance
  • the roles of omega 3 fatty acids and a particular gene in fighting inflammation
  • how elevated levels of a particular protein might delay the muscle-destroying effects of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Type 2 diabetes has reached epidemic proportions around the world … Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom


Dr. Jerrold Olefsky
Dr. Jerrold Olefsky coauthored two of the three articles published:

  • Perspective article: Inflammation and Lipid Signaling in the Etiology of Insulin Resistance – Free full text
  • Omega 3 Fatty Acids and GPR120 – Article summary

Dr. Olefsky is Associate Dean for Scientific Affairs, UC San Diego Health Sciences; and Distinguished Professor of Medicine in the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism.