By Rory O’Sullivan, Staff Writer
Photo by Patrick Edgett
Michael Nduati, MD grew up on a quiet street in Upland surrounded by vineyards, orange groves and the still, towering trees that line Euclid Avenue. He was a quiet child always observing always watching and learning, either from his father, the statistics professor or his mother, the librarian.
His father was born in Kenya and always stressed the importance of education. His dad would tutor his children day and night and drill the information into them on weekends, holidays, summer breaks, whenever his father was able. He wanted to make sure his children gained an education.
Nduati, graduated the top of his class earning a 4.6 GPA from Upland High School. He started attending the University of California, Riverside Biomedical Sciences program a year before graduating high school.
“I had two fantastic parents,” said Nduati. “My father really drove home excellence in school.”
His father’s dream of having his children living better lives than he could have given them in Kenya was coming true. Both would graduate from prestigious universities. All of the hard work, the extra time with the flashcards, the extra readings, the additional math problems in preparation for SATs, ACTs and MCATs had all paid off.
Nduati received his degree in Biomedical Sciences in 2001 and completed a combined MD/MBA program from the David Geffen School of Medicine and the Anderson School of Management at UCLA. He also completed an MPH degree from Harvard School of Public Health. He currently serves as the Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs for UCR’s School of Medicine and a health sciences clinical associate professor of family medicine.
Nduati specializes in family practice, and has over 11 years of experience serving patients in the Inland area. In 2014, Dr. Nduati was one of seven family medicine physicians nationally selected to receive the New Faculty Scholar Award from the National Society of Teachers of Family Medicine Foundation.
But Nduati always remembers the words of his mother, the librarian, who taught him it wasn’t enough to have knowledge but to pass on that knowledge and use everything he learned to help people. It was her dream that he use his medical training to help his community live long healthy lives.
Nduati is an active member of the James W. Vines, Jr. Society, a medical society and foundation, a liaison to UCR’s African Americans United in Science and directs the Elma Vines Summer Health Academy. He is also a mentor physician for the Riverside Free Clinic which operates a twice-monthly free clinic serving Riverside’s homeless population and others without health coverage.
It is for these reasons he was selected as UCR Alumni Association’s 2015 Outstanding Young Alumnus and will be honored this weekend at the annual Chancellor’s Dinner. Since 1986, the award highlights graduates who personify UCR’s tradition of excellence and service.
“I feel great. Anytime you get recognized it feels good. It’s definitely something to be proud of,” stated Nduati.
Nduati has been with the UCR School of Medicine since it’s inception in 2012. He has been one of the leaders in making sure the school finds patient-centered physicians who have a passion for serving the Inland region.
“We’re not just producing medical leaders but also healthcare leaders. We want our students to have a broader understanding of why that person became obese in the first place.”
He said if someone growing up is “surrounded” by fast food and liquor stores the best thing to prescribe them might be fresh fruits and vegetables rather than a pill.
Nduati has also been influential in recruiting underrepresented groups into medicine. He can remember a lot of “good and caring” medical students when he was going through the program who dropped because of a needleless cap system which cut a certain amount of students each academic year.
“I had a mentor who said ‘you can teach any reasonably intelligent person medicine, but you can’t teach someone to be a good person.’ That’s what we are looking for, good people.”
He said the UCR Medical School is focused on serving the needs of the Inland region, a rapidly growing ethnically diverse region that is home to 4.2 million. UCR medical students benefit from hands on instruction in clinical skills from the very first month of school.
Nduati is also interested in increasing the number of Black and Latino doctors in the Inland region. That is why even with his busy schedule he still serves as a mentor with UCR’s African Americans United in Science, which he founded as an undergraduate at UCR.
Nduati said it’s important to him that the next generation of doctors in the Inland area help the region attain healthy outcomes. He lives in Riverside and has two young daughters who will depend on his future medical students for their health needs.
“I really love this community, I’m really invested in the success of this community.”
For more information on the Chancellor’s Dinner contact firstname.lastname@example.org or (951) 827-5667.