Harold S. Luft Mentoring Award 2017

We are delighted to announce that Mary-Margaret (Meg) Chren, MD, has been selected as this year's recipient of the Harold S. Luft Award for Mentoring in Health Services and Health Policy Research. 

Meg Chren, MD

Meg Chren is a Professor in the Department of Dermatology at UCSF where much of her academic work has focused on understanding, measuring, and improving comprehensive health outcomes of patients with chronic diseases.  In addition to being internationally recognized for her expertise in dermatology, including dermato-epidemiology, Meg directs the Program for Clinical Research. This Program came into being because Meg envisioned a unit that would apply the public health sciences to research questions in skin disease—a paradigm-shifting concept for dermatology that previously revolved largely around basic science research.  She was successful in implementing that vision, and now the renowned program draws highly-trained dermatologists who aspire to careers as physician investigators in clinical and health services research that directly impacts patients and policies.  For these individuals and many others, Meg is an inspirational academic leader, stellar mentor, and role model.
In her own words that are echoed by her many mentees, mentoring has always been a very high priority for Meg. They laud her tremendous commitment and skills in guiding trainees and faculty through all stages of their research and career development. (Link to photos)

Excerpts from letters nominating Meg Chren:

The key reason I still work at and commute to UCSF is Meg Chren’s mentorship.  Meg has Michelle Obama’s class and strength, Sheryl Sandberg’s drive, and Mother Teresa’s compassion. Seriously.

Meg has managed to nucleate a health services and population health unit within our department—a productive and enthusiastic unit that attracts and retains strong junior faculty; this requires substantial mentoring on her part.

Meg doesn’t shy away from controversial work, and she inspires her mentees to take on important but difficult issues facing the profession.

Meg taught me the role of diplomacy in introducing real change.  When I have worked on projects that were considered controversial and unconventional by others in our field, she encouraged me to publish in a powerful and understated way, guided me in navigating pushback, coached me to talk with journalists and leaders in the field, and facilitated my presentations to present the findings. 

She clearly takes joy in the success of those around her and often places their needs before her own.

On more than one occasion, when we have run into a problem with author limit, Meg has offered to be taken off the author list.

Meg has been instrumental in developing a community of leaders (recently dubbed “the House of Chren”).  When past mentees visit, the warmth and friendship is clear.

Looking around the room at the annual Dermatoepidemiology Society meeting, I realized that she had in some form mentored everyone in the room.  In fact, when referring to her in dermatology circles, I usually refer to her just by her first name, since everyone knows who “Meg” is.

Previous Winners

2016: Andrew Bindman, MDProfessor, Medicine, Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies, UCSF School of Medicine

2016: Dean Schillinger, MDProfessor of Medicine and Chief of the UCSF Division of General Internal Medicine at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital

2015: Ken Covinsky, MD, Clinician-Researcher, Division of Geriatrics, UCSF School of Medicine

2014: Wendy Max, PhD, Professor and Director, Institute for Health & Aging, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, UCSF School of Nursing

2013: Edward H. Yelin, PhD, Professor, UCSF Department of Medicine’s Division of Rheumatology and the Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies

2011: Ruth E. Malone, PhD, MS, RN, Professor and Chair, Department of Social & Behavioral Sciences, UCSF School of Nursing

2010:  Michael D. Cabana, MD, MPH, Professor and Director, Division of General Pediatrics, UCSF School of Medicine

2009: Lisa A. Bero, PhD, Professor and Vice Chair for Research, Department of Clinical Pharmacy, UCSF School of Pharmacy (currently Professor in Pharmacy and the Charles Perkins Center at the University of Sydney, Australia)

About the Harold S. Luft Mentoring Award

We established this award in 2008 in honor of Hal Luft’s outstanding contribution as an exemplary mentor.  All senior UCSF faculty with research and teaching interests in health services and/or health policy research are eligible to be nominated.  The Award Committee, representing the four UCSF professional schools, makes the selection based on the following award criteria exemplified by Hal:

  1. Inspire and stimulate mentees to do their best and most creative work.
  2. Expand mentees’ ways of thinking by fostering an appreciation of different points of view.
  3. Develop career opportunities for mentees.
  4. Create communities of learners and maintain life-long contact with mentees.
  5. Serve as a role model in leadership, professionalism, integrity and life balance.

About Hal Luft

Harold (Hal) Luft, PhD, joined the Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies and UCSF in 1978.  Before that, he was a faculty member at Stanford University and Associate Director of the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program.  He became Associate Director of the Institute in 1986, Acting Director in 1993, and Director in 1995. Since its inception in 1972, the Institute has been extremely fortunate to have leaders with broad vision, exceptional standards of excellence, and clarity of purpose.  As the Institute's second director, Dr. Luft contributed to and exemplified the Institute’s legacy of leadership and service.

That legacy includes the training and mentoring of future health services and health policy leaders.  Dr. Luft often refers to himself as a 30+ years' postdoc because he has been involved in teaching and mentoring graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, and interns for more than 30 years and has also advised junior faculty.  He has been an exemplary teacher, mentor, and role model, and under Dr. Luft's directorship, the Institute, which is an organized research unit, continued and enhanced its leadership role in interdisciplinary training.

Dr. Luft was named Director of the Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute in July 2008, but he maintains an Emeritus Professor title at UCSF and continues to serve as a mentor.  Indeed, he has built training and research bridges between the two institutes.