Alumni Hall Of Fame » Dr. G. Michael Harper - Class of 1983

Dr. G. Michael Harper - Class of 1983

Dr. G. Michael Harper is a geriatrician, Professor of Medicine at the University of California San Francisco, and Staff Physician at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center. He was born in Trenton, NJ to Caryl Holzmann and grew up Bordentown where he attended Peter Muschal Elementary School and William MacFarland Junior High School. While attending Bordentown Regional High School, Dr. Harper was co-Captain and Most Valuable Player of the varsity soccer team in his senior year, leading the team to its first winning season. He also lettered in baseball, participated in the Math Club and was a member of Mu Alpha Theta. Dr. Harper was selected to the National Honor Society in his junior year and graduated as valedictorian of his class.


Dr. Harper continued his education at Ursinus College, graduating, cum laude with a B.S. in biology. Inspired by his role model and childhood physician, Dr. Lynden MacDermid of Bordentown, Dr. Harper chose a path of premedical studies. In his senior year he was elected President of the Brownback-Anders Premed Society and received the Cyrus E. Beekey Award for outstanding premedical student. He also continued his athletic pursuits playing soccer and baseball. 


In 1991 he graduated from the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School followed by internship and residency in internal medicine at the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore, MD. After his internship year he received the Howard K. Rathbun Award for Clinical Excellence. Upon completing his residency, he was asked to serve an extra year as Chief Resident. It was during his time in residency that Dr. Harper discovered his true calling, caring for older adults and teaching. This led him to complete a geriatrics fellowship at Johns Hopkins, where he was then invited to join the faculty in the School of Medicine. While at Johns Hopkins he received a Geriatric Academic Career Award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and a grant from the John A. Hartford Foundation which he used to help develop the school’s first curriculum focused on geriatric medicine. This work directly led to his selection as co-Director of the Internal Medicine Clerkship for 3rd year medical students.


In 2004 Dr. Harper moved to San Francisco where he was recruited to the faculty of the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) to be the Director of the Geriatrics Fellowship Training Program. During his tenure he recruited and trained dozens of fellows who went on to careers in both academic medicine and community practice. As an educator he has been nominated for and won several teaching awards including Teacher of the Year from the Division of Geriatrics.  In 2007 he was inducted into the UCSF Haile T. Debas Academy of Medical Educators in recognition of his teaching excellence and educational leadership. Dr. Harper has held several leadership positions in the school of medicine including chairing the curriculum committee that has oversight for the 3rd and 4th years of medical school. For several years Dr. Harper was one of 4 Advisory College Mentors in the School of Medicine who provided academic and career mentoring to medical students. In honor of his service, he was asked by the class of 2019 to lead them in the UCSF Physicians Declaration at their commencement. Dr. Harper has published several books chapters, peer-reviewed articles in medical journals, and medical textbooks including The Geriatrics Review Syllabus: A Core Curriculum in Geriatric Medicine, 10th, and 11th editions. He has also made dozens of regional, national, and international presentations to academic and clinical audiences.


Dr. Harper has been a member of the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) since 1996 and in 2013 he became a Fellow in the Society. He currently serves on the Executive Committee of the AGS Board of Directors and is the in-coming President for 2022. He has also served on and led several AGS Committees. As Chair of the Fellowship Directors Group of the Association of Directors of Geriatric Academic Programs (ADGAP) he created an annual meeting for fellowship directors in 2006 that continues to this day. Dr. Harper was also instrumental in revising the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education requirements for the training of geriatrics fellows as Chair of an ADGAP sub-committee.


Dr. Harper’s first and enduring love remains his clinical work caring for older adults.  Throughout his career, he has worked in a variety of clinical setting ranging from house calls to the nursing home to the hospital. From 2010-2013, he was the Associate Chief of Staff for Geriatrics, Palliative and Extended Care at the San Francisco VA. Today he spends his clinical time providing primary care to homebound older San Franciscans and providing geriatrics consultation for older hospitalized veterans while continuing to supervise and train geriatrics fellows.


Dr. Harper lives in San Francisco with his wife, Dr. Heather Nye and their 2 sons, Nicholas and Wesley.