Dean, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
SHE NEVER FORGETS THAT THE BEST MEDICINE IS A HEALTHY COMMUNITY.
UCLA’s first female medical school dean was inspired by measles. After graduating with a literature degree from Harvard, Kelsey Martin joined the Peace Corps and went to Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo). There, she wrote grants to fund measles vaccinations in a small village called Bibanga. That year for the first time, there were no outbreaks and no babies died. Saving lives, Martin realized, was a lot more satisfying than discussing plot points, and she switched her focus to medicine. Today she is one of the pre-eminent neuroscientists in the country, specializing in how the brain makes memories. She joined the UCLA faculty in 1999. As a young doctor, her ability to connect with people fueled her rise as a leader. In September 2015 she became interim dean of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. She was named permanent dean the next year. “It’s important to maintain the idealism that brings most individuals to a career in medicine or biomedical research,” says Martin. “And that’s the desire to help the community.”