Tribute to Jerry Nelson

Dr. Gerald Nelson

Dr. Gerald Nelson

After almost 55 years as a very active, successful and productive clinician and educator, Jerry Nelson has decided to hang up the shingles and spend well-earned quality time with his wife Pamela Grove and his extended family.

Jerry has made many substantial contributions to the profession and UCSF. Having graduated from the Curriculum II orthodontics program at UCSF in 1965, Jerry had a stint in the Air Force stationed in Greece for a few years. On his return to the U.S., he associated with Dr. Wayne Watson and then opened offices in Berkeley, Orinda and Tiburon
partnering with Dr. Mike Meyers and Dr. Earl Johnson. Over the years he brought in and mentored several associates including Drs. Nancy Ung, Dave Johnson, Andrew Trosien and Paul Kasrovi, eventually selling the practices to Dr. Kasrovi.

During his time as a full-time clinician, Jerry carved out time to serve organized orthodontics including the PCSO as Editor of the PCSO Bulletin and as a Delegate to the AAO’s House of Delegates. He also made community service contributions that included initiating and sustaining La Clinica de la Raza clinic in 1970 for the indigent population in Oakland, where his legacy continues to flourish to date.

As his career evolved, Jerry has always been at the forefront of taking on and excelling at new challenges and opportunities. One such opportunity involved joining UCSF orthodontics as a part-time faculty in 1994. As he transitioned from his private practice in 2002 he took on increasing levels of responsibility at UCSF that included a full-time faculty position and serving as Clinic Director, Vice Division Chair, Interim Division Chair, and Program Coordinator over a span of about 15 years.

Faculty, staff, residents and alumni at Jerry Nelson's retirement dinner.

Faculty, staff, residents and alumni at Jerry Nelson's retirement dinner.

These titles do not do justice to all the responsibilities he managed including mentoring, guiding and supporting faculty, residents and staff, and ensuring the delivery of quality cutting-edge clinical and didactic education. As an educator he has trained and led generations of orthodontists by example with compassion, sincerity and kindness. This has been instrumental in cementing Jerry’s role as a strong bridge to our alumni who respect, love and revere him. And he has done all this while stretching his capabilities and boundaries by authoring over 100 publications. Jerry’s many contributions have been recognized through several awards and accolades including the Distinguished Service Award from the California Association of Orthodontists, Award of Merit from PCSO, the Mershon Lecture from the AAO, and numerous Faculty of the Year awards from our residents.

In the years ahead Jerry is going to use his new-found freedom to do some traveling with Pamela and spending time with his six children and eight grandchildren who live on the West Coast spread out between Los Angeles and Oregon. I am extremely grateful to Jerry for his many contributions to UCSF Orthodontics. I am sure that you will share these sentiments and join me in thanking and congratulating Jerry on this transition.

— Sunil Kapila, Division Chair

In
  • Resident Alumni
  • Orthodontics