Honor of a Lifetime
Arthur Kaufman, MD, UNM's Vice Chancellor for Community Health, has been awarded an honorary doctorate from the College of Medicine at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York, in recognition of his contributions to the community, public health and to medical education.
Kaufman, a Distinguished Professor of Family & Community Medicine, graduated from SUNY Downstate in 1969. He received the honorary doctor of science degree in a ceremony at Carnegie Hall in New York City on May 21.
"You have brought your alma mater, the College of Medicine at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, great distinction and serve as a true exemplar of all that we seek to inculcate in our students," said SUNY Downstate president Wayne J. Riley, MD, MPH, MBA, in a letter informing Kaufman that he had been nominated for the honor.
Kaufman joined the UNM faculty in 1974 after a residency at St. Vincent's Hospital in New York and a stint as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Indian Health Service in South Dakota and New Mexico.
Early in his career he helped develop the UNM School of Medicine's innovative primary care curriculum, which placed medical students in clinical roles in underserved or socially marginalized settings, including prisons, nursing homes and homeless shelters.
He later chaired the Department of Family & Community Medicine, and from 1999 to 2007 served as the secretary general of the World Health Organization's Network Towards Unity for Health, which focused on health workforce developing in developing countries using UNM as a training model.
As Vice Chancellor for Community Health, Kaufman launched UNM's Health Extension Regional Offices (HERO) program, which is modeled on the agricultural extension system and locates health extension officers throughout the state to serve as a bridge between local communities and the university. He also leads an effort to train community health workers and embed them in local clinics.
Kaufman's achievements were highlighted in 2015 when he was elected to membership in the National Academy of Medicine, and in 2018 when he was honored as one of the School of Medicine's Living Legends.