Dr. Richard Pan is a physician and educator who has dedicated his life to solving problems and helping everyone in the community he serves. As a pediatrician, he cares primarily for poor and uninsured children. As a teacher, he taught future physicians the importance of community in health. Dr. Pan has been a catalyst for positive change in the community creating innovative educational programs, expanding access to health care for children, and bringing people together to address community priorities.
Dr. Pan is a father, husband, and son and understands the challenges of raising a family in our community. He and his wife started a small business and meet payroll, balance a budget, and work to do more with less. His parents immigrated to America to build a better life for themselves and their children. Dr. Pan believes in creating opportunity for all Californians to succeed and to give back. Click below to learn more about Dr. Pan and his supporters.
Dr. Pan understands how stronger communities lead to better health and increased public safety. He both taught and put into practice the principles of Asset-based community development in Sacramento. He is a past board member of BloodSource, a regional blood bank, and served for six years as a Commissioner on the Sacramento First 5 Commission to support getting children 0-5 years ready for school.
Dr. Pan currently serves on the boards of the United Way California Capitol Region and Serve Elk Grove and on the Healthy Sacramento Coalition Leadership Team. As the Chair of Impact for the local United Way, he led a region-wide assessment of community priorities in health and human services and oversees efforts to help at-risk children learn to read so they graduate high school, help foster youth and adults become financially self-sufficient, and help kids eat well and exercise so they avoid obesity. Dr. Pan received the Clarence La Rue Outstanding Volunteer Award from the United Way for his leadership.
After completing his education in pediatrics and public health at Harvard, Dr. Pan became a UC Davis professor teaching pediatrics and community development for over a decade. He led the pediatric residency program where he founded Communities and Health Professionals Together to teach resident physicians how to form partnerships with community members and organizations to improve community health. Dr. Pan partnered with non-health organizations to expand access to care including serving as medical consultant to Sacramento City Unified School District.
Dr. Pan co-founded and chaired Healthy Kids Healthy Future securing health, dental, and vision coverage for over 65,000 children in Sacramento, Colusa, El Dorado, Placer, and Yuba counties. As Sacramento County cut funding for county clinics and public health, Dr. Pan worked to bring together physicians, hospitals, clinics, and community leaders to create the Sacramento Health Improvement Project to ensure people in Sacramento are able to access primary health care. Dr. Pan received the Physician Humanitarian Award from the Medical Board of California for his efforts.
Dr. Pan continues to practice at the WellSpace Health (formerly The EFFORT) Oak Park Community Health Center caring for poor and uninsured children.
Dr. Pan has a life-long passion for teaching. As a father and pediatrician, he understands the importance and value of high quality public education. At UC Davis, Dr. Pan taught physicians, medical students, and graduate students creating new curricula on a variety of subjects in pediatrics and community development. His program to teach community health earned him the accolades of over 1000 college and university presidents when he received the Campus Compact Thomas Ehrlich Faculty Award for Service Learning for his exemplary work on Communities and Physicians Together.
A product of public schools, Dr. Pan partnered with teachers, school nurses, and school psychologists at Sacramento City Unified School District to improve diagnosis and treatment for students with behavioral and learning disabilities so they can better learn in class. He also brought physicians to the classroom to partner with teachers and school nurses to teach good nutrition and promote exercise. The California School Nurses Organization honored him with the Lydia Smiley Award for his work with schools.
In 2010, Dr. Pan saw how his patients and their families were struggling with budget cuts to safety-net programs, his neighbors with the collapse of the housing market and rising unemployment, and his community with reductions to public schools and public safety. Yet, elected leaders appeared mired in partisanship and inaction. People sought for a representative who wanted to solve problems and not seek division, and Dr. Pan became their standard bearer. In 2010, the people elected Assemblymember Richard Pan; but don’t call him that.
Dr. Richard Pan brings his knowledge and experience as a physician, educator, small business owner, and parent to the state legislature. He partnered with firefighters to access $90 million in new federal funds for emergency responders, including $6 million for Sacramento neighborhoods. He partnered with consumer advocates to ban expired medications and baby food from store shelves. He also worked with law enforcement and businesses to establish a state online database to catch thieves trying to sell stolen goods and metals. Dr. Pan partnered with parents to make sure families have the life-saving information they need to keep their schools and communities safe from vaccine-preventable disease.
While serving two terms in the Assembly, Dr. Pan chaired the Assembly Health Committee, where he lead efforts to implement health care reforms to expand health care coverage to millions of new Californians, ensuring health care access will be there when Californians need it. Dr. Pan also lead the fight to stop health insurance companies from denying access to coverage for pre-existing conditions.
In 2014 the communities of Sacramento, Elk Grove, West Sacramento and Arden Arcade elected Dr. Pan as their Senator with 53% of the vote. As Sacramento’s Senator, Dr. Pan chairs the Public Employee and Retirement Committee and chairs the Budget Sub Committee on Health and Human Services, which oversees $155 billion in the state budget and health and social services to California’s vulnerable and at-risk residents. He demands transparency and accountability in state health programs; holding hearings on reducing fraud, investigating poor access to dental care, and ensuring children with cancer and other serious conditions have access to pediatric specialty care.. Dr. Pan has tackled tough issues, such as lack of diversity in our state’s civil service to addressing retirement and pensions reforms– all with the eye of ensuring retirement security for all. Additionally, Dr. Pan has already secured millions of dollars for federal funds for Natomas’ much needed levy improvements and over a billion in state funding for construction in Sacramento.
In the wake of a dangerous measles outbreak, Dr. Pan authored groundbreaking legislation to ensure that immunization rates are restored to their necessary levels to protect the public. TIME magazine called Dr. Pan a “hero” for authoring this landmark legislation to abolish non-medical exemptions to legally required vaccines for school students, A group of extremists unsuccessfully tried to recall Dr. Pan in 2015 over his efforts to keep California healthy, but this vocal minority was met with a new more empowered majority of voters who support Dr. Pan’s efforts.
That’s why whether it’s addressing retirement security, public safety, health access for all, or opportunities for quality education, Dr. Pan believes that we can work together to solve our state’s problems; by building coalitions and working step by step until we achieve our shared goals. He believes in our capacity to succeed. Together, we can build a healthier California.