Posted by: Academy of Achievement | 04/13/2012

Raga Ramachandran, M.D., Ph.D.,
Class of 1991
Assistant Professor and
Director of Medical Education,
Department of Pathology
University of California, San Francisco

The 20-plus years since the American Academy of Achievement weekend in New York City have been rich with experience for me. I graduated from Stanford University, where the Nobel laureate physicist and Academy member Dr. Richard Taylor regularly hosted the Academy Class of 1991 for barbecues at his home. After graduating with degrees in Biological Sciences, I completed my M.D. and Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania with a research focus on the regeneration of injured muscle. Returning to my home state of California, I completed my residency and fellowship training in Pathology at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Pathology is a wonderful clinical field with ample research opportunities. I now am on the UCSF Pathology faculty and am the Director of Medical Education for our department. My clinical focus is on liver and gastrointestinal disease. I am thrilled to work alongside the experienced physicians who taught me how to evaluate biopsies and surgical specimens from patients undergoing medical treatment.

As a physician, I strive to find a balance between clinical practice, teaching, and research, and when I am faced with a complex post-transplant liver biopsy on a busy day, I think about the exemplary work of Dr. Joseph Murray, who spoke to us about kidney transplantation research and his concurrent work in clinical plastic surgery. As an American gearing up for the 2012 election, I remember the national service exemplified by General Norman Schwarzkopf. As a San Franciscan, I smile whenever I see a Gap store, founded locally by Donald Fisher, and when I drive through the Presidio near Lucasfilm headquarters, I wonder what George Lucas will take on for his next project. When I read a Wallace Stegner novel or watch an Audrey Hepburn movie, I think about the creative energy surrounding that weekend in 1991, when the arts, design, sports, and science were celebrated together. On a personal note, both my husband (Joel Moore, a theoretical physicist at UC Berkeley) and sister (Sohini Ramachandran, a population geneticist at Brown University) are Academy of Achievement alumni. Kudos to the Academy for supporting bright young students and leaders in all walks of life!

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