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David Geffen School of Medicine

Honoring the Visionaries in Our Community

The 2011 Visionary Ball was held on October 6, 2011, at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. Proceeds from the annual event go toward continuing research on the brain and spine and educating the next generation of neurosurgeons.

The evening was a toast to individuals who exemplify the values and mission of the UCLA Department of Neurosurgery. Guests heard a variety of inspiring stories.

Jennifer Sugioka, diagnosed 11 years ago, at the age of 23, with terminal brain cancer today lives cancer-free thanks to a breakthrough vaccine developed by Dr. Linda Liau.

Former Major League Baseball player Mark Gubicza shared the story of his teenage daughter's battle with seizures that have now ceased after Dr. Gary Mathern performed lifesaving surgery.

Dr. Nader Pouratian implanted a brain pacemaker that stopped the tremors and restored life for a 43-year-old father, Richard Rothenberg, suffering from Parkinson's disease.

Dr. David Hovda is the recipient of the Strength of the Nation Award, the highest honor the military awards to a civilian, because of his exceptional work with our troops.

The 2011 award recipients are:


    Sidney Kimmel-MedMag-S2012
    Sidney Kimmel with Sir Michael Cain

    Visionary Award: Sidney Kimmel, head of Sidney Kimmel Entertainment and founder of The Jones Group, for his contributions that have led to building manycancer-research centers and seeding significant breakthroughs, including Dr. Liau's early vaccine research at UCLA. Sir Michael Caine, esteemed actor, introduced Mr. Kimmel.

    Dr. Louis Ignarro-MedMag-S2012
    Dr. Louis Ignarro

    Medical Visionary Award: Dr. Louis Ignarro, professor of medical pharmacology at UCLA and winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, for his discovery of the importance of nitric oxide in cardiovascular health.

    Doriana Sanchez- MedMag-S2012
    Doriana Sanchez


    Courage Award: Doriana Sanchez, Emmy-nominated director and choreographer. In January 2011, she could no longer dance or walk due to a large brain tumor, but at the event, she dedicated a touching dance performance to Dr. Neil Martin, chairman of the UCLA Department of Neurosurgery and W. Eugene Stern Professor in Neurosurgery, and the neurosurgeon responsible for her recovery.

    Bob Sagat- MedMag-S2012
    Bob Saget (Center) with Joan Dangerfield and John Stamos

    Rodney Respect Award: Bob Saget, renowned comedian and actor, in honor of carrying on Rodney Dangerfield's legacy of laughter.



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