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Exceptional Physician Award

Winner Profiles

2022-2023 Award Winners

Atsuko Baba, MD

Professor of Anesthesia & Medical Director
Pediatric Prepare Program

Dr. Baba is a pediatric anesthesiologist and the medical director of the Pediatric Prepare Program, which helps prepare children emotionally and physically for surgery. Her team deeply appreciates her special energy, lightheartedness, and dedication to her work for almost 20 years. She is highly respected by her team for her approachability, recognition of everyone's role, and humanity. Her leadership is seen as a true gift to UCSF, her team, and the patients she serves.


Christopher Barnett, MD, MPH

Chief, Section of Critical Care Cardiology and Director, Critical Care and Inpatient Cardiology
Department of Cardiology

Dr. Barnett is a cardiology and critical care medicine specialist who is the section chief in Critical Care Cardiology and director of inpatient services for cardiology. Dr. Barnett prioritizes team comfort, champions professionalism, respect, and collaboration within the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit team. He has restructured care teams, increased patient care efficiency, onboarded advanced practice providers, improved workflows for outpatient follow-up, and advocates for increasing the presence of underrepresented clinicians in critical care cardiology.


Avi Baskin, MD, MPhil

Urology Resident
Department of Urology

Dr. Baskin is a chief resident in urology, known for his excellent rapport with patients and team members, and his ability to treat others with respect, kindness, and courtesy even in challenging situations. He collaborates effectively with other team members and creates an environment of equity and inclusion. Dr. Baskin is a dedicated, motivated, and self-assured physician who possesses excellent technical skills, as noted by one nominator who expects him to be an excellent academic surgeon in the future.


Hillary J. Braun, MD, MAS

Chief Resident, General Surgery
Department of Surgery

Dr. Braun is a surgical resident and future transplant surgeon. She researches factors predisposing living donor liver transplant recipients to acute rejection and re-transplantation. Dr. Braun is a leader, mentor, and advocate for medical students, residents, patients, and families. She promotes inclusion and gender equity, improves resident well-being and schedules, and lobbies for legislation protecting living donors from discrimination. Dr. Braun is a collaborative and natural leader who seeks equity and fairness for all patients.


Libby Burch, MD

Pediatric Chief Resident
Department of Pediatrics

Dr. Burch, chief resident in pediatrics, creates a positive learning environment, promotes respectful clinical interactions, and supports colleagues to excel. Dr. Burch built best practices for Voalte phones and an online module for interns, improving clinical efficiency. Dr. Burch champions LGBTQ+ rights and models inclusive language and behaviors. Dr. Burch skillfully provides evidence-based, family-centered care and expertly engages learners to advance their patient care skills.


Armond Esmaili, MD

Assistant Clinical Professor
Division of Hospital Medicine
Medical Director of Quality & Safety
Department of Neurosurgery

Dr. Esmaili, assistant clinical professor of medicine and medical director of the medicine unit-based leadership team, is highly respected for his tireless advocacy for his patients and leadership. He is dedicated to ensuring ethical, fair, and empathic care for vulnerable patients with psycho-social challenges, using Trauma Informed Care. Dr. Esmaili is engaged in patient care and is praised for his kindness and caring nature. He is also a peer mentor and role model, earning respect and admiration from everyone he works with.​


Elizabeth Gibb, MD

Associate Professor
Division of Pediatric Pulmonary Medicine

Dr. Gibb is a compassionate pediatric pulmonologist and associate clinical professor of pulmonary medicine in pediatrics, who also directs the Cystic Fibrosis Center and serves as medical director of the UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland Pulmonary Function Testing Lab. She exhibited exceptional leadership in creating a safe space for her team to process their feelings after traumatic events and offering mental health support. Her dedication to diversity is reflected in developing resources for culturally competent care.​


Eva Ihle, MD, PhD

Health Sciences Clinical Professor
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Department of Pediatrics

Dr. Ihle is a board-certified psychiatrist and neuroscientist who works with the Behavioral Emergency Response Team to provide aftercare to recently discharged patients. Her current positions are senior attending on the Pediatric Psychiatry Consultation-Liaison service at Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland and associate director of the Adult Psychiatry Consultation-Liaison service at UCSF Health. Dr. Ihle mentors colleagues, educating the next generation in their commitment to trauma-informed care.​


Dorre Nicholau, MD, PhD

Professor & Vice Chair, Professionalism & Well Being
Department of Anesthesia and Perioperative Care

Dr. Nicholau is a professor in the Anesthesia and Perioperative Care Department who has dedicated her career to service other physicians by leading the Physician's Well-being Committee, the Committee on Professionalism, and the Patient Advocacy Reporting System. She also reviews documented deficiencies in medical student's performance or professionalism as a longtime member of the Academic Standards Committee. Her efforts largely take place behind closed doors and in strict confidentiality.


Nancy Ann Oberheim Bush, MD, PhD

Associate Professor of Neurological Surgery and Neurology, Clinical Director
Division of Neuro-Oncology

Dr. Oberheim Bush is an associate professor of neurology and clinical director of the Neuro-Oncology Clinic. She has demonstrated exceptional leadership skills during the COVID-19 pandemic and has supported a diverse and equitable work environment. Dr. Oberheim Bush is also committed to providing excellent care for her patients and always puts their needs first. She is a strong proponent of education for her team and neurology trainees, and advocates for all members of her team.


Iris M. Otani, MD

Associate Professor & Medical Director
Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, Allergy, and Sleep Medicine

Dr. Otani is a dedicated medical director and associate fellowship director of Allergy and Immunology, specializing in treating drug allergies. She developed the Inpatient Beta-lactam Allergy Program with the UCSF Antibiotic Stewardship Program, addressed disparities in delivery models, and improved pediatric allergy care with the pediatric team. Dr. Otani contributed to oncology allergy desensitization workgroup and has championed multiple Quality Improvement projects to improve patient care.


Coleen S. Sabatini, MD, MPH

Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, Vice Chair of Health Equity and Academic Affairs
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, BCH Oakland

Dr. Sabatini is the director of the clubfoot program and medical director of the Dance Medicine program at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland. She focuses on pediatric trauma, fractures, and foot/limb deformities, and co-directs the UCSF Center for Health Equity in surgery and anesthesia, advocating for underrepresented minorities in orthopedic surgery and improving surgical care in low resource settings. She is dedicated to training residents, is committed to her patients, and fundraises for those in need.


Lekshmi Santhosh, MD, MAEd

Associate Professor
Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine

Dr. Santhosh is a pulmonary medicine and critical care specialist who founded and directs the long-COVID/post-ICU OPTIMAL Clinic. She is also the associate program director for the curriculum for the internal medicine residency and is committed to diversity, equity, and anti-oppression. Patients value her trustworthiness, kindness, patience, and empathy, and she takes the extra time to refer patients to other specialties while synthesizing information holistically.


Thomas K. Shimotake, MD

Professor of Pediatrics and Medical Director, Intensive Care Nursery
Department of Pediatrics

Dr. Shimotake is a neonatologist and medical director of the William H. Tooley Intensive Care Nursery at Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco, providing care for newborns. He is committed to diversity, equality, and inclusivity, attending every ICN DEI taskforce meeting and encouraging staff to prioritize DEI. He introduced technological advancements to the ICN, including a fiberoptic camera, Elemeno communication system, neonatal hemodialysis, and a new ventilatory system trial to prevent chronic lung disease.


Katsuto Shinohara, MD

Department of Urology

Dr. Shinohara is an excellent physician specializing in urologic oncology, holding the Helen Diller Family Chair in Clinical Urology. His expertise is widely recognized, and he is highly respected for his ability to guide and inspire his colleagues and patients with compassion and patience. He is dedicated to providing ethical, fair, and sincere care to his patients, and his commitment to education and inclusivity has led him to train countless medical professionals.

Virtual Award Presentation

Martina Steurer, MD, MAS

Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics
Department of Pediatrics

Dr. Steurer is an associate professor of pediatrics and director of the Neonatal Cardiovascular Center of Excellence at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospitals. She cares for term and preterm neonates with congenital heart disease. She published several recent studies on the effect of prematurity in congenital heart disease. Dr. Steurer is known for her inclusive approach, excellent bedside manner, and passion for teaching and mentoring trainees.

virtual award presentation



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