University of California, San Diego


Stephen Wasserman, M.D, has announced his plans to step down as chair of the department of medicine at the UCSD School of Medicine effective June 30, 2000.

"With the Department of Medicine's research, teaching and clinical programs thriving, and the search for a new Vice Chancellor of Health Sciences now under way, I believe this is an ideal time to pass the baton," Wasserman said. "I am proud to have led UCSD's Department of Medicine through the most tumultuous years in the history of American medicine. The department has weathered the storm with honors and is in excellent shape to take advantage of the enormous opportunities ahead." After fourteen years of distinguished service, Wasserman plans to turn his focus nationally to the continuing professional development program of the American Board of Internal Medicine. A respected allergy and immunology specialist, he will also return to his research in asthma and allergic disorders, and maintain his active practice and teaching responsibilities in these specialties.

Wasserman, named acting chair of the department in1986, was appointed chair of UCSD's largest academic department in 1988 following a national search. "Under Dr. Wasserman's chairmanship, the department of medicine has firmly established its position nationally as an outstanding academic program, equally renowned for its research excellence and clinical expertise," said UCSD Chancellor Robert C. Dynes. "We are very grateful for his many years of leadership, and look forward to his continued contributions as a researcher, clinician and educator."

"Throughout Dr. Wasserman's tenure as chair, this prestigious department has continued to mature along the pathway initially formulated by his predecessors, Drs. Eugene Braunwald and Helen M. Ranney. The department today is strong and positioned to flourish as one of the country's premier programs in medicine," said David Bailey, M.D., interim vice chancellor for health sciences and dean of the School of Medicine at UCSD. During Wasserman's years as chair, the department has consistently ranked among the country's top programs in NIH research funding, and is currently sixth in total NIH support and fifth in the number of grants to a department of medicine. He has successfully led the recruitment of many nationally prominent scientists and physicians. Among the department's internationally recognized areas of research are programs in genetics, oncology, cardiology, glycobiology, gastroenterology, immunology, infectious disease, rheumatology, pulomonary medicine and molecular biology. The department's faculty includes five members of the National Academy of Science.

The department's clinical programs have experienced major growth during this time, and medicine is the school's most active department in primary care and specialized services. With faculty scientists and clinical specialists who are widely acknowledged leaders in their fields, the department is widely known as an outstanding academic program, helping to attract the best students and post-graduates to UCSD for medical education and training. Wasserman is also credited with nurturing young talent and with promoting diversity within the department.

Dr. Wasserman is currently chairman of the American Board of Internal Medicine, and has served on the Boards of Directors and led both the American Board of Allergy and Immunology and the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

He earned his undergraduate degree from Stanford University and his medical degree from UCLA. He did his internship at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston, and was on the faculty at Harvard Medical School before joining the UCSD faculty in 1979, where he served as professor and chief of the division of allergy prior to his appointment.