Honoring the Legacy of Two Trailblazers at UCSF Fresno

Honoring the Legacy of Two Emergency Medicine Trailblazers at UCSF Fresno

Compassion motivated by knowledge. A drive to collaborate and a passion to serve. These are the qualities that exemplify UCSF Fresno faculty leaders as they advance our mission to improve health in the Central and San Joaquin Valley through teaching, patient care, research and community partnerships.  

Lori A. Weichenthal, MD, FACEP and Gene W. Kallsen, MD were two such exemplary faculty physicians in the UCSF Fresno Department of Emergency Medicine. Together they provided 74 years of combined service to UCSF Fresno and are considered trailblazers in the field of Emergency Medicine (EM). Their leadership directly influenced and inspired countless faculty members, residents, fellows and medical students, and laid the foundation for the revolutions in medical education, advancements in patient care and scientific progress that define UCSF Fresno today. 

Dr. Weichenthal, UCSF Fresno Associate Dean for Graduate Medical Education and Clinical Affairs and UCSF Professor of Clinical Emergency Medicine, passed away on Feb. 3, 2023. She was one of only two women in the UCSF Fresno Department of Emergency Medicine when she began her residency in the 1990s. For the next 28 years, Dr. Weichenthal was held in the highest esteem as an innovator, leader and role model in the fields of Emergency Medicine and Wilderness Medicine and a vanguard for physician wellness.  

The Lori A. Weichenthal, MD ’94 Physician Wellness Fund at UCSF Fresno was established in her honor to help address physician burnout and depression which impacts not only health care providers and their families, but also the patients they care for. As the fund takes shape, our medical education community can have an even greater impact on the positive long-term mental, physical and emotional health of UCSF Fresno learners and physicians and continue UCSF Fresno’s long-standing commitment to physician wellness. 

Dr. Kallsen, former chief of the UCSF Fresno Department of Emergency Medicine and Professor Emeritus of Clinical Emergency Medicine passed away on March 4, 2023. When Dr. Kallsen joined USCF Fresno as a resident in 1977, Emergency Medicine was yet to be officially recognized as a specialty. Starting on the ground floor of EM, he became a pioneer and leader in the field, and is known as the “father” of emergency medical services in Fresno County. Before his retirement in 2018, Dr. Kallsen dedicated four decades to EM at UCSF Fresno advancing the specialty of EM through educational innovations, scholarship and state-of-the-art EM care. 

Dr. Kallsen’s legacy continues through the Gene W. Kallsen, MD, Endowed Chair in Emergency Medicine. The ongoing, dependable funding provided by the Kallsen Endowment helps us recruit and retain outstanding faculty members, attract the best and brightest students and perform research that may someday lead to a revolutionary treatment in the emergency room.  

Your support honors the contributions of Dr. Weichenthal and Dr. Kallsen and helps ensure dedicated faculty members at UCSF Fresno have the resources they need to do their finest work, whether they are mentoring promising young physicians, advocating for their patients or conducting groundbreaking clinical research, which then translates to improved treatments for patients.  

To learn more about how your gift to UCSF Fresno can inspire a healthier future for the Valley and beyond, please contact Kathleen Smith, Assistant Director of Development for UCSF Fresno at 559-499-6426 or [email protected]

Part of Newsletter: Focus on UCSF Fresno, Spring 2023