UCLA Alumni Association pays tribute to Bruins who have made an impact

UCLA Fielding alum Kiet Lam (MPH '00) honored with Volunteer of the Year award.

Kiet Lam

The UCLA Alumni Association will honor a distinguished group of UCLA graduates for their wide-ranging contributions to the university, their professions and the broader community at the association’s annual awards ceremony. The event will be held May 13 at the Meyer and Renee Luskin Conference Center on campus.

“The UCLA Awards celebrate our amazing alumni, volunteers and networks who continue to uplift and amplify the voice of the UCLA community,” said Julie Sina, UCLA’s associate vice chancellor for alumni affairs. “This year, we honor the remarkable accomplishments of six alumni and one network.

“These awards celebrate the excellence in scholarship, leadership, creativity and service — and the exceptional talent and dedication — of our Bruin community. The ceremony also gives us the opportunity to hear our alumni’s stories around the impact of UCLA on their journeys.”

The awards program has been a campus tradition since 1946. This year’s recipients are:

Dr. Keith Terasaki — Edward A. Dickson Alumnus of the Year

Terasaki, an interventional radiologist at Kaiser Hospital in Los Angeles, earned his bachelor’s degree from UCLA in 1977 and graduated from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA in 1983. Together with his wife, Cecilia, he has been a longstanding investor in talented faculty scholars and students across campus. Among other philanthropic activities, the Terasakis’ family foundation has supported the general scholarship fund, the work of Nobel laureate Andrea Ghez, Four Deep Scholarships for student–athletes, the Center for Japanese Studies, the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, and the Terasaki Research Institute.

Outside of UCLA, Terasaki donates his time and financial support to bring health equity to Los Angeles’ Skid Row. He has served as a volunteer radiologist and chair of the board of the John Wesley Health Clinic, which operates 20 clinics in underserved parts of the county, and his family has generously supported numerous other educational and cultural institutions throughout the city. Terasaki holds the unique distinction of being the son of a previous winner of the Dickson Award: His father, Dr. Paul Terasaki, was the honoree in 2011.

UCLA Daily Bruin Alumni Network — Network of the Year

The Daily Bruin has chronicled campus life and issues since 1919, and its alumni have gone on to become award-winning journalists and leaders in law, business, government, entertainment, education, the arts, technology and philanthropy. Through the Daily Bruin Alumni Network, launched in fall 2018, the paper’s alumni lend their time and talent to help empower student journalists through mentorship, career development and community service. The network also provides annual scholarships to promising Daily Bruin staff members interested in pursuing careers in media and operates a program that pairs current Daily Bruin staffers with alumni journalists who help guide them in developing the skills they need to thrive and succeed at daily media outlets.

The group has launched a $100,000 scholarship campaign in memory of journalist Dave McNary, a Daily Bruin alumnus who served on network’s inaugural board, and plans to add a second endowment providing grants for Bruins pursuing enterprise reporting across the globe.

Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck — Award for Public Service

A 1994 graduate of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Hasbrouck has dedicated his career to tackling some of public health’s most difficult problems. Over the past three decades, he has been part of federal efforts to eradicate polio and HIV/AIDS and has served as both director of the Illinois Department of Public Health and executive director of the National Association of County and City Health Officials. Today, as the chief operating officer for Illinois’ Cook County Department of Public Health, he advocates for improved environmental and social conditions for some 2.5 million residents.

Hasbrouck, who grew up in a community without access to preventive health care, is actively engaged with young people from marginalized groups as part of the American Medical Association’s Doctors Back to School program, which encourages students to view medicine and health care as potential career. He is also the author of two books: “COVID Bytes: Naked Musings of a Disease Detective” and a memoir, “G Street Lion: Stalking a Dream.”

Kiet Lam — Volunteer of the Year

Lam, who earned a UCLA bachelor’s degree in molecular, cell and developmental biology in 1998 and a master’s from the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health in 2000, is the founder and CEO of Climb Healthcare Consulting in the San Francisco Bay Area and a dedicated booster of UCLA’s Academic Advancement Program, or AAP, which provided support to Lam as a first-generation college student who immigrated from Vietnam.

As the inaugural president of the AAP Alumni Network, which he helped launch, Lam ensures current students have the resources to excel. With the philanthropic support and assistance of other AAP graduates who serve as mentors and role models, the network supports first-generation students and professionals; Lam provides academic, career and mentoring support to AAP students interested in the health profession. Lam and his wife, Pauline Le, have also been honored as standout volunteers at the San Francisco–Marin Food Bank.

Sarah Kapnick — Young Alumnus of the Year

As only the third woman to be appointed chief scientist of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Kapnick is poised to help the U.S. address climate change.

She received her master’s degree from UCLA in atmospheric sciences in 2007 and her doctorate in atmospheric and oceanic sciences in 2011, along with a Leaders in Sustainability graduate certificate from UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability. Kapnick provides annual philanthropic support to the UCLA Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences chair’s discretionary fund and serves as a mentor to early-career scientists, with a focus on women in STEM fields.

Before joining the Biden–Harris administration, Kapnick served as a senior climate scientist and sustainability strategist for asset and wealth management at J.P. Morgan, a position “at the intersection of climate science and economics” that she helped create as part of her efforts to keep climate health at the forefront of decision-making in the corporate world.

Afaf Meleis — Award for Professional Achievement

A native of Alexandria, Egypt, Meleis earned two master’s degrees at UCLA — in nursing and medical sociology in the mid-1960s — followed by a doctorate in sociology in 1968. She went on to become an internationally renowned scientist, educator and advocate, empowering women burdened by social inequities to speak up and create change. Meleis spent three decades at UC San Francisco, where she helped establish one of the nation’s first doctoral programs in nursing, before serving as dean of family and community health at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Nursing.

Since retiring in 2016, she has continued to work as a speaker, mentor and consultant and has co-chaired the Congress on Women’s Health. Among her many honors, Meleis was named a Living Legend by the American Academy of Nursing and was recognized as one of 2020’s Great Immigrants by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Kristina Wong — Award for Community Service

Wong, who earned double UCLA bachelor’s degrees in English and world arts and cultures in 2000, is an acclaimed actor, performance artist and comedian whose work focuses on political and social topics, usually with a dose of humor. Through her one-woman shows and other performances, she has sought to encourage dialogue, inspire social change and rally others to meet community needs. In the early days of COVID-19, she created a national mutual aid network of 800 volunteers to sew and distribute 400,000 cloth masks to vulnerable communities — an effort that became the basis of her award-winning play “Kristina Wong, Sweatshop Overlord,” a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for drama.

Wong, who has also used theater to inspire young workers at the UCLA Labor Center, is currently working on a project about marginalized communities’ access to healthy food as an artist-in-residence at Arizona State University’s ASU Gammage theater. She is also a social practice resident at the Kennedy Center, engaging communities in debate that inspires positive change.