UCSF doctor mourned by colleagues
by Cynthia Laird
Colleagues are mourning the death of openly gay UCSF psychiatrist Dr. Kevin Allen Mack, who was killed July 14 in an accident involving a university shuttle bus and a big-rig that occurred on Octavia Boulevard at Oak Street.
Dr. Mack, who was 52, was ejected from the shuttle bus and pronounced dead at the scene. Three other passengers were injured.
San Francisco police continue to investigate the 6:20 a.m. incident, a spokesman said Tuesday.
According to San Francisco Department of Public Health officials, Dr. Mack was a member of the Department of Psychiatry, based at San Francisco General Hospital and an expert in bipolar and psychotic disorders. He was the director of Educational Technology and Faculty Development at the UCSF-Berkeley Joint Medical Program, and advisory college mentor, and had been a member of the Academy of Medical Educators since 2008.
Dr. Dan Karasic, also a psychiatrist, was a colleague of Dr. Mack's and remembered him fondly. Karasic had received an email from Dr. Mack the night before the accident.
"It was on transgender care," Karasic said.
Karasic said that Dr. Mack was well known to students and residents.
"I think he had psychiatric emergency services that morning," Karasic said of why Dr. Mack was on the early shuttle bus to SFGH.
The men had known each other for about 11 years, Karasic said. Dr. Mack came to UCSF in 2000.
"People are so devastated because he was somebody – he was a brilliant guy and had a very kind and gentle soul," Karasic recalled. "I think people really connected with him."
Dr. Mack was very focused on medical education and case-based learning as opposed to traditional lectures, Karasic said. He also worked with the underserved mentally ill.
Dr. Mack received his doctorate of medicine from the Hawaii School of Medicine and completed his psychiatric residency at Harvard University.
On the UCSF School of Medicine website entry for Dr. Mack, he wrote that he was basically an educator at heart "who chose medicine as a career after deciding that gay teachers weren't going to be 'safe' professionally for several decades."
An associate clinical professor of psychiatry, Dr. Mack indicated that his interests include "neural networks as they function in the service of human learning and memory, with a specific focus on medical education."
Karasic said that Dr. Mack would be missed.
"It was an unfair loss. He was the epitome of what we try to be here, a psychiatrist working with poor people and the severely mentally ill," Karasic said.
Dr. Mack is survived by his husband, Naoki, who he met 20 years ago in Hawaii, and by their two young children, Chiaki, 7, and Nobu, 4. A funeral Mass was held Wednesday, July 20 at St. Agnes.
In lieu of flowers, donations to benefit his husband and children may be made to the Kevin Mack, MD Memorial Fund through Wells Fargo Bank.