Twenty-five years later, she’s still there.

“I love that we care for a lot of underserved patients,” she says. “Children are especially interesting little puzzles, because they often can’t tell you what’s wrong.” Also a clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine, she teaches students from high school through medical residency, often modeling the great teachers she remembers from UCSF.

Kids with craniofacial conditions are beautiful inside and out, and our job is to help the rest of the world know that.


“All of my professors were so approachable and so smart,” Gutierrez says. She recalls that, on the first day of her first-year anatomy lab, her professor, Sexton Sutherland, PhD, had memorized the name of every student in the class. And she credits Lawrence Tierney, MD – longtime associate chief of the medical service at the San Francisco VA Medical Center and a resident alumnus – with inspiring her to pursue primary care.

“I truly believe UCSF was the best place to go to medical school,” Gutierrez adds. Another bonus: That’s where she met her husband, Steven Lerman, MD ’92, a pediatric urologist at UCLA Medical Center. With their son and daughter now in college, they hope to have time to travel and renovate their home.

But at work, her focus is on helping others. Gutierrez is part of a multidisciplinary team that cares for children with craniofacial conditions, patients she finds especially rewarding.

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