Reunion Alumni Spotlight

Michael McGinnis

Physician and Epidemiologist

Meet Michael McGinnis, a 1966 alumnus who learned about making a difference and the value of the unorthodox while at Berkeley.

What are you doing now?
Currently, I am Senior Scholar and Leonard D. Schaeffer Executive Officer at the National Academy of Medicine (NAM). The NAM advises the national and international community in addressing critical issues in health and other related medical topics. I helped found and am currently a facilitator for the NAM’s Learning Health System initiative.

What Cal experience helped you in your later life?
Helping create the Cal in the Capital program was an experience that taught me how to launch a new program and work with a diverse group of people. The program just celebrated its 50th reunion last year and I can’t imagine a more valuable cause. Berkeley provided me with a great education emphasizing initiative, creativity, and the advantage of the unorthodox.

What advice would you give current Berkeley students?
As an undergraduate in the ’60s, we were a generation awakening. I would tell current students to work hard, assume that you can make a difference, and do it. 

What was your favorite spot on campus?
I always enjoyed being under the shade of one of the campus’s many eucalyptus trees and looking out at Cal’s beautiful grounds.