“We have more than 300 graduates, 12 residents a year and 40 faculty – so Dr. Kallsen created a special place here.”
— James Comes, MD, Chief, Emergency Medicine, Gene W. Kallsen, MD, Endowed Chair
Gene W. Kallsen, MD
Professor Emeritus, UCSF
Enhancing Care in Emergency Medicine
UCSF Fresno founded its Emergency Medicine (EM) Residency Program in 1974, even before it was officially recognized as a medical specialty. Today, our residency program is one of the most sought after in the country, with residents training at one of the busiest hospital emergency rooms in California. Manavjeet S. Sidhu, MD, a UCSF Fresno EM resident, came from New York. “The patient volume, spectrum of pathology, as well as acuity are unmatched and allow for training that prepares residents for any future job in emergency medicine,” Sidhu said.
As chief of the Department of Emergency Medicine, James Comes, MD, has a vision for the department and residency program. That vision is guided by a single principle: everything we do is centered around what is best for our patients. “I’m a tireless advocate for the emergency medicine training program because it’s the best way to enhance care for our patients”, Comes says.
This vision has been shaped by his longtime colleague and friend, Gene Kallsen, MD. Kallsen joined the UCSF Fresno EM Residency Program in 1979, the same year the American Board of Emergency Medicine was approved. Starting on the ground floor of EM, Kallsen became a trailblazer and leader in EM, and is known as the “father” of emergency medical services in Fresno County.
“We have more than 300 graduates, 12 residents a year and 40 faculty – so Dr. Kallsen created a special place here,” says Comes. After dedicating four decades to EM at UCSF Fresno, Kallsen retired in 2018, and is now professor emeritus with UCSF.
Comes is pleased to hold the Gene W. Kallsen, MD, Endowed Chair in Emergency Medicine – named in honor of Dr. Kallsen. The ongoing, dependable funding provided by this endowment can make the crucial difference in a student’s ability to attend UCSF Fresno, provide additional support to a faculty member or contribute to research that may someday lead to a revolutionary treatment in the ER.
“We have a great patient mix to do original research in EM. Additional funding from the endowment would enable us to conduct new clinical trials and advance the field of EM,” Comes says.
As vice chair of emergency medicine, Danielle Campagne, MD, reiterates the importance of the Kallsen Endowment. “The endowed chair allows for extra funds to be used to support activities that strengthen our EM program with resident wellness activities, simulation training and expansion of faculty development opportunities,” Campagne says.
“The endowed chair allows for extra funds to be used to support activities that strengthen our EM program…”
—Danielle Campagne, MD, Vice Chief, Emergency Medicine
One such new activity that both Comes and Campagne are excited about is a new scholarship program that brings third and fourth year medical students from underrepresented groups to UCSF Fresno to experience a four-week rotation in EM. Comes gives credit for the scholarship program to Anneli von Reinhart, MD, who completed a fellowship in Medical Education at UCSF Fresno, and now serves as the director of this clerkship program and its 70+ medical students.
“The EM rotation gives these students an opportunity to see what UCSF Fresno has to offer”, Comes says. “We hope they come to the realization that Fresno is a special place; a place where there’s a great need for doctors that is also very affordable to live and raise a family.”
“Funds from the Kallsen Endowment could be used to increase the number of scholarships from two to three this year. Considering that nearly 200 medical students apply for the scholarship each year”, Comes says, “this is certainly an area we can help fund more students as the endowment grows.”
UCSF Fresno needs your support to continue growing the Kallsen Endowment and building upon Dr. Kallsen’s legacy. “We want to thrive and be able to continue to recruit the best and the brightest to teach our next generation of physicians to stay and practice in the San Joaquin Valley,” Comes says. “What I’m really trying to do here is to continually advance the specialty of emergency medicine.”