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Dr. Erno S. Daniel Legacy Award

daniel-ernoErno S. Daniel, MD, PhD was a renowned physician who spent his entire professional career at Sansum Clinic. He joined the Internal Medicine department in 1978 and practiced there until his sudden death on February 21, 2015.

Martha Daniel and their children Kristina, Michael, Mary and Monica were touched by the outpouring of support from family, friends, colleagues, the medical staff and patients. Knowing how much Sansum Clinic meant to Erno, it was the family’s decision to request that gifts in his memory be directed to the Clinic. The family wanted something very special to commemorate Dr. Daniel’s commitment, dedication, and integrity, and with the memorial funds raised the Dr. Erno S. Daniel Legacy Award was established. This award will be given annually to an employee in the Internal Medicine department at Pesetas who exemplifies compassion, dedication, and integrity.

Early in his career, Dr. Daniel pursued an interest in the developing specialty of Geriatric Medicine, and was among the first physicians in the United States to become board certified in Geriatrics. He had special interests in dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease and he lectured across the country, was the author of textbook chapters, papers and a variety of educational materials on the topics. A few days before the death of former President Ronald Reagan, he received a letter from the former First Lady, Nancy Reagan, in recognition of the chapter he wrote on Alzheimer’s Disease for the 2004 edition of Conn’s Current Therapy. Dr. Daniel also served for a period of time as Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of Southern California. In 2008, he published a book, Stealth Germs in Your Body, which received national attention.

Dr. Daniel’s contributions to the medical profession were magnified by the compassion he showed his patients. He was a master diagnostician who remembered every medical and personal detail regarding his patients. He listened to their stories and his broad interests enabled him to connect with each and every patient. Many patients stated they felt as if they had lost a member of their family. One of his former patients described him as “one of the world’s truly great human beings.”

Dr. Daniel was dedicated to his profession, dedicated to his patients, and dedicated to practicing medicine at Sansum Clinic. He was active in the Wellness Program, worked with the Vascular Lab, continued to take hospital calls and periodically rotated in the Hospitalist service. Dr. Daniel served as the ‘unofficial’ Clinic Historian and he wrote a Noticias (Journal of the Santa Barbara Historical Museum), “Sansum Clinic - A Legacy of Innovation” with Erin T. Graffy. He also served many years as Medical Director at a Long Term Care facility.

Dr. Daniel was also known for his integrity. He believed strongly and passionately in the Hippocratic Oath. He believed all people were deserving of quality healthcare. He would spare no effort to make an accurate diagnosis. He knew well that medicine was an art as well as a science, and that warmth, sympathy and understanding were critical to patient care. He respected his patients’ privacy. He believed deeply in the prevention of disease. He cared as passionately for those of sound mind and body as he did for the infirm.

These qualities were evident not only in his professional life with his many patients and colleagues, but were pillars of his personal friendships, his marriage and his parenting. Dr. Daniel was a true family man and compassion, dedication, and integrity extended far beyond his professional craft. He was thoughtful and honest and created an environment where even the smallest achievements were celebrated and the hard times taught a positive lesson. Dr. Daniel was always there to lend a helping hand, and was unwavering in his commitment to family and friends.

A beloved husband and loving father and grandfather, Dr. Erno Daniel was at once a physician and a friend – exemplified through his compassion, dedication, and integrity. He would be exceptionally proud of those who are carrying out his legacy at Sansum Clinic today.

Dr. Erno S. Daniel Legacy Award Recipients:
2016 – Alex Mahto, RN
2017 – Ervin Loeza
2018 – Damaris Campero
2019 – Monica Picard, RN
2020 – Luke Dobson
2021 – Esteban Alfaro
2022 – Yazmin Vega Escalera

If you would like information about making a gift to the Dr. Erno S. Daniel Legacy Award please contact Dru A. Hartley, Director of Philanthropy, at or (805) 681-7726.


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