By Margaret Wong
Not satisfied with merely saving lives as an emergency room doctor at UC Davis Medical Center, Garen Wintemute M.D. ’77 works to prevent people from becoming his patients in the first place. He is internationally recognized as a pioneer in gun violence research and was among the first to look at the problem of gun violence as a public health issue.
His interest in injury prevention was first realized while he volunteered in Cambodia shortly after it was liberated from the Khmer Rouge regime.
“From those experiences, I quit my job,” said Wintemute, recipient of the 2015 Distinguished Achievement Award.
Wintemute, the inaugural Susan P. Baker and Stephen P. Teret Chair in Violence Prevention at UC Davis, pursued a public health degree at Johns Hopkins University before returning to UC Davis because it gave him the opportunity to pursue his passions of seeing patients and conducting research. The support of the university and its proximity to the State Capitol and lawmakers has afforded Wintemute with opportunities to see his research in action.
“It would be difficult to estimate the impact of UC Davis; it could not happen like this anywhere else,” he said.
Wintemute’s work has earned him international recognition and, unfortunately, a number of death threats. Despite this, he has remained undeterred in his work, having conducted dozens of interviews for media outlets and government agencies and donating his own money to support the research.
“I am one of those lucky people who has had the opportunity to give everything I have to give to rectify an injustice, to address a social ill,” he said.