Brain stimulation surgery for patients with Parkinson’s disease; promoting liver health on a national level; leading one of the nation’s top ALS clinics; and designing a law that protects the rights of students with epilepsy: these are significant reasons why four UC San Diego School of Medicine doctors were honored during the 18th annual Combined Health Agencies Health Hero Awards breakfast on March 15 at The Prado in Balboa Park.
Each year, the Combined Health Agencies’ 24 health non-profit members each choose a person or company that works daily to improve the lives of local residents affected by chronic illness. This year, four winners who were recognized were UC San Diego physicians David Barba, MD, Rohit Loomba, MD, William Mobley, MD, PhD, and Howard Taras, MD.
Since 2005, Barba, clinical professor of surgery in the Division of Neurological Surgery at UC San Diego Health System, has been involved with the Parkinson’s Association of San Diego. He routinely performs brain stimulation surgery on many patients with Parkinson’s disease and has demonstrated his leadership by organizing a sold-out patient symposium securing top quality speakers in the field. Barba is currently establishing a UC San Diego system for those working on Parkinson’s research to be in direct contact with each other.
The American Liver Foundation considers Loomba, assistant professor of clinical medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology and the Division of Epidemiology in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, a collaborative partner as he serves on the National Board of Directors, and the non-profit local Speakers Bureau promoting prevention and care.
As Chair of the Department of Neurosciences at UC San Diego School of Medicine, Mobley garners national support from physicians and clinicians to join the UC San Diego ALS and Motor Neuron Treatment and Research Center team to raise the level of care and treatment of patients with ALS in San Diego. Through Mobley’s reputation and expertise, the ALS Clinic is quickly becoming known as a place where patients can receive the best care possible in their fight against what is commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
Taras, professor of pediatrics in the Division of Child Development and Community Health, is being recognized by the Epilepsy Foundation for his instrumental work in the passing of SB 161, a bill signed into law in 2011 that protects the rights of students with epilepsy. He has testified numerous times at California State Legislative hearings and spent hundreds of hours educating legislators and the public about the issue of emergency seizure rescue medications. Through this legislation, life-saving medication can be administered to students at school to prevent further brain damage or death.
“We are humbled by the service of these physicians and grateful to have UC San Diego Health System in our community,” said Susan Day, president of Combined Health Agencies.
This year’s event is possible by the generous support of community sponsors UC San Diego Health System, PhRMA, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, BIOCOM, Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego, Sonnenberg & Company CPAs, and The San Diego Business Journal.
Combined Health Agencies has been United Way's health partner in the United Way/CHAD Campaign since 1974. As a federation of 24 local health charities, Combined Health Agencies is focused on improving the quality of life for individuals and families who are faced with chronic health conditions.
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