David Baer, MD, FACP
"I wasn’t interested in conducting research during medical training, but as a clinician I became captivated by the kinds of questions being asked, and the fascinating answers that researchers were coming up with."
They say experience is the best teacher, and perhaps for no one is this more true than for Dr. Baer. When he joined TPMG in 1981, he had little desire to conduct oncology research. “I may have been the only hematology-oncology fellow at UCSF in 1980 who wasn’t doing it,” he says. “I very much wanted to be a clinician.”
Yet looking back over his nearly 4 decades with the medical group, it’s clear that research evolved into a lifelong passion.
Dr. Baer cofounded the KP Oncology Clinical Trials program in the 1980s—just a few years after joining TPMG—and has remained a champion of the program throughout his career. He has enrolled significant numbers of patients in these trials, and helped expand the regional effort into a national KP program. He’s also been a leading member of the Northern California Central Research Committee for most of his career, providing valuable experience in the practicality of research within Kaiser Permanente.
As an individual researcher, Dr. Baer has initiated many projects, including monoclonal gammopathies, the role of hepatitis B in cancer chemotherapy, iron metabolism and cancer, lung cancer mortality, and others.
“I cannot think of any oncologist in TPMG who has contributed more to cancer research than Dr. Baer,” says Louis Fehrenbacher, MD, a retired TPMG oncologist and medical director of the KP Oncology Clinical Trials program for many years. “His knowledge of our integrated data system, the uses of big data, and the unique questions to be answered in cancer research have been of great value, not only to many researchers, but to cancer patients as well.”