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    Dr. Robert Gish Wins ‘Humanitarian of the Year’ Award

    CPMC and Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation Hepatologist honored for work in fighting Hep B in Vietnam

    For Immediate Release
    Contact: Kathryn Graham, Director of Communications and Public Affairs
    415-492-4896
    GrahamKL@sutterhealth.org

    San Francisco, CA, May 27, 2010--California Pacific Medical Center’s Dr. Robert Gish is being honored with the ‘Humanitarian of the Year’ Award from the San Francisco-Ho Chi Minh City Sister City Committee for his work in helping combat hepatitis B in Vietnam.

    Dr. Gish, Hepatologist and Medical Director of Specialty Service Development for Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation, is one of the founding members of the White Paper Team, a group of 30 physicians in the U.S. and Vietnam who have developed a bold five-year plan to improve screening and treatment for, and prevention of Hep B in Vietnam. The plan was recently announced in Vietnam and endorsed by the Vietnamese Minister for Health.

    “We are honoring Dr. Gish and his colleagues because of their work in the hepatitis, prophylactic and treatment programs in Vietnam,” says George Saxton, Executive Director of the San Francisco-Ho Chi Minh City Sister City Committee (SF-HCMC). “The sister city program is recognizing individuals and organizations that are helping to improve the quality of life of the people of Vietnam.”

    Chronic, untreated hepatitis B is one of the leading causes of liver cancer in Vietnam. It’s estimated that one in eight people in Vietnam are living with Hep B, one of the highest rates in the world, and many are unaware they have it. Often by the time symptoms appear the disease has already attacked one’s liver. If nothing is done it is estimated that by the year 2025 some 40,000 Vietnamese will die every year from liver cancer. The plan that Dr. Gish is advocating would help create a program to educate the public, and give public health professionals the training and equipment they need to screen for the disease and offer treatment to people with the virus.

    “This award is a tremendous honor and it fully reflects the great amount of work that has been performed by the White Paper Team including Dr. Tam Bui of San Francisco and Dr. Huy Trinh of San Jose,” says Dr. Gish. “I wish to share this great honor with all of the coauthors and the generous leadership at CPMC, including Betty Peters who spearheaded the donation of the Vietnam grant via the Philanthropic Foundation at CPMC. The recognition of this work will provide further impetus for me and others to work further to bring the liver disease care in the Bay Area and Vietnam to the same high level.”

    Dr. Gish is also active in fighting Hep B in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is part of the CPMC team screening thousands of Asian/Pacific Islanders in the San Francisco Hep B Free campaign. He also manages medical treatment of hepatitis patients at clinics in San Francisco and San Jose.

    The Humanitarian Award is being given out as part of the Celebration of Asian/Pacific Heritage Month and the Citizen Diplomacy Program. It is organized by the San Francisco – Ho Chi Minh City Sister City Committee (SF-HCMC) in conjunction with the Mayor’s Office of International Trade and Commerce. The Committee is organized for the purpose of bringing the people of the United States and Vietnam, and more specifically the people of San Francisco and Ho Chi Minh City (formerly called Saigon) closer together.

    The award will be given out at a formal dinner at 6pm on Thursday, May 27 at the Marines Memorial Club and Hotel (609 Sutter St, San Francisco, CA 94102). Proceeds from the dinner will go toward the support of SF-HCMC’s educational programs and other programs that will enable young people of the two sister cities to travel and study in each other’s countries and schools.

    About Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation

    Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation is a non-profit organization that provides patient care through its affiliation with three medical groups. Our 230+ physicians offer primary, specialty and complex medical care throughout San Francisco, Marin, Sonoma and Lake Counties, as well as at outreach clinics in Northern California and Nevada. Our physicians are dedicated to excellent patient care, combining the latest in medical knowledge and technology with a personal touch. Sutter Pacific physicians are part of the Sutter Medical Network and provide hospital services at Sutter Health hospitals in San Francisco, Marin, Sonoma and Lake Counties. Additionally, our San Francisco-based physicians are part of Brown & Toland Physicians.

    About California Pacific Medical Center

    At San Francisco’s California Pacific Medical Center, we believe in the power of medicine. We research the most up-to-date treatments, hire the most qualified individuals, and practice the most modern, innovative medicine available. We deliver the highest quality expert care, with kindness and compassion, in acute, post-acute and outpatient services, as well as preventive and complementary medicine. But we also believe that medicine alone is only part of the solution. That’s why we look intently at each individual case and treat the whole person, not just the illness. It’s why we go beyond medical care and provide our patients with things like disease counseling, family support and wellness treatments. As one of California’s largest private, community-based, not-for-profit, teaching medical centers, and a Sutter Health affiliate, we are able to reach deep into our community to provide education, screening and financial support in some of the city’s most underserved neighborhoods. Medicine can transform a body. But going beyond medicine can transform a life.