PAMF Physician Honored With Distinguished Alumni Award from UC Santa Cruz
SANTA CRUZ, Calf. – Congratulations to David Sofen, M.D., of PAMF Santa Cruz who was recently honored with a Distinguished Alumni Award from the Physical and Biological Sciences Division at University of California at Santa Cruz (UCSC).
Dr. Sofen, an urgent care physician, earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from UCSC’s Kresge College in 1979. He was presented with the award at a dinner on Friday, April 26, 2019, along with two others honored at the Distinguished Graduate Alumni Award luncheon in Santa Cruz.
The UCSC division established the awards two years ago to honor graduates who have gone on to extraordinary accomplishments in diverse fields and whose careers are characterized by sustained and exemplary contributions to society through research, practice, education, policy, or service. Dr. Sofen’s acceptance letter noted that he was selected because he has “shown tremendous heart throughout his career, making Santa Cruz a better place to live.”
Dr. Sofen credits a UCSC internship in Guatemala with inspiring his career in medicine. “So here I am an undergraduate, I was catching babies or sewing people up, starting IVs… and then I thought, I like this. I think I’ll go to medical school,” he told a local newspaper.
He joined PAMF Santa Cruz in 1992. In addition to his role an urgent care physician, Dr. Sofen also has served as medical director of patient experience. He helped developed and teach PAMFCARES, training for staff and clinicians on how to improve the patient experience through communication and empathy.
As many of his colleagues and patients know, Dr. Sofen regularly travels overseas and volunteers to provide care to people in remote areas. He has made one trip to Tanzania and he travels to Haiti once or twice a year with the nonprofit group Flying Doctors (Los Medicos Voladores), teaming up with American and Haitian doctors and dentists to provide care at mobile clinics.
Dr. Sofen received his medical degree from University of California at San Francisco and he completed a family medicine residency at Natividad Hospital in Salinas, followed by stints in emergency medicine and in local safety-net clinics from 1986 to 1992.
“David’s history tells the story of a primary care physician committed to the broader mission of health care and serving the underserved,” said Larry DeGhetaldi, M.D. Area CEO, PAMF Santa Cruz. “He embodies clinical excellence and deep compassion for the human experience.”
Dr. DeGhetaldi added: “UC Santa Cruz embeds in its graduates a commitment to service and the social responsibility of the physician/scientist. David exemplifies the fulfillment of that mission and receives this award from UCSC that closes the circle: to send university graduates into the world to do good and honor them when they finish the journey.”
Paul Koch, dean of UCSC’s Physical and Biological Sciences Division, said in a statement: “Beyond this tremendous work for our community, David has been a great partner for UC Santa Cruz, making PAMF one of the top internship sites for students in Human Biology and offering guest lectures. Through inspired leadership, teaching, and personal humility, he has applied the ethos of UC Santa Cruz to transform everyday care for Californians.”
The other two graduates to receive Distinguished Alumni Awards include Laura Helmuth, health, science and environment editor at The Washington Post, and Pamela Silver, professor of biochemistry and systems biology at Harvard Medical School.