Wednesday, November 22, 2017 12:00 AM

Lifetime achievements of UCSF Fresno doctors honored by peers

Four longtime UCSF Fresno faculty members were honored this past week by their peers at the Fresno Madera Medical Society’s annual awards gala.
Fellow doctors raved about the selfless mentoring, expert doctoring, and amazing patient care provided by this year’s Life Achievement Award recipients:

  • Ralph Wessel helped restart the UCSF Fresno cardiology fellowship program after his retirement. He said he loves the science of medicine and especially teaching others. “I learn as much from the students as they do from me,” he said.
  • Terry “Hutch” Hutchison, a pediatric neurologist, is known for hugging liberally and handing out his cell phone to his patients. One of his medical residents said she’s never seen parents thank a doctor after receiving a devastating diagnosis about their child, but it happens regularly with Dr. Hutch.
  • Kent Yamaguchi was the only plastic surgeon taking the Level 1 trauma calls for years at Community Regional Medical Center. He’s recently retired. His expertise in fixing hands is legendary with nurses calling his hand bandaging technique the “Yamaguchi splint.”
Cardiologist Ralph Wessel (from left), Pediatric Neurologist Terry “Hutch” Hutchison and Plastic Surgeon Kent Yamaguchi were honored by the Fresno Madera Medical Society. As UCSF Fresno faculty members they have mentored Valley doctors and cared for patients at Community Regional Medical Center.
Dr. Katherine Flores, an associate clinical professor of Family Medicine and director of the UCSF Latino Center for Medical Education and Research, was given the 2017 Special Project Award for The Doctors Academy. Her program works with disadvantaged students in local high schools and at Fresno State to encourage them to become healthcare professionals – and return to the Valley to work.
Dr. Flores’ program provides a pipeline to medical careers in the hopes of increasing access for the medically underserved to doctors and nurses who speak their languages and understand their cultures. A 100% of her Doctors Academy students graduate from high school in schools where graduation rates are far below state averages. And most are going on to University of California schools. Several are now in medical school.
Dr. Flores was unable to make the awards gala, but sent a video speech in which she praised Valley doctors for the mentoring they’ve provided to the students in the Doctors Academy, allowing students to shadow them during summer months.
Erin Kennedy reported this story. Reach her at