Flitting through the corridors of Jackson Memorial Hospital, forever racing the clock to deliver newborns, Kathy Fields, M.D. ’83, was certain she’d found her calling.

The future business mogul had earned her medical degree from the University of Miami the previous year, and thoroughly enjoyed the high-pressure lifestyle of an Ob/Gyn intern. But back home in Waukegan, Illinois, Blanche Fields harbored misgivings.

She offered her accomplished, high-energy daughter some sage advice: “‘One day you’ll be 43,’” Kathy Fields recalls her mother saying. “‘You’ll have a small kid at home who may be ill, and you’ll find it difficult to go in at three in the morning to deliver a baby!’”

Heeding her mom’s words, Fields switched her focus from Ob/Gyn to dermatology. The rest, as they say, is history. Dermatology paved the way for Fields to co-invent Proactiv® Solution, a very successful acne medication that’s marketed in 30 countries and has been touted by the likes of Jessica Simpson, Serena Williams, and Elle Macpherson, among other luminaries.

A preventive mix of benzoyl peroxide, sulphur, and salicylic acid that Fields concocted with fellow dermatologist Katie Rodan, M.D., Proactiv Solution has enabled Fields to help her alma mater.

“I want to see Miami become the premier medical school in the country,” Fields says of the institution she and twin brother, Ken, earned their medical degrees from at the same time.

After making a $25,000 donation to the Miller School of Medicine for skin cancer research last year, Fields is working with dermatology chairman Lawrence Schachner, M.D., on another philanthropic project.

In one regard, Fields’s links to the Miller School of Medicine are a family affair. Following in her footsteps and those of twin brother Ken, a Naples dermatologist, baby brother Daniel Fields earned a University of Miami medical degree in 1995.

Not surprisingly, a fourth Fields sibling is also a physician. Connie Fields has a cardiology practice, although she broke ranks by earning her M.D. at Northwestern University.

Fields earned a bachelor’s degree in neurobiochemistry from the University of Florida. A knack for time management enabled Fields to study into the wee hours of the morning while still editing the medical school yearbook, acting in skits, and enjoying an occasional sail along Biscayne Bay.

After receiving her M.D., Fields accepted a dermatology residency at Stanford University, where she met Katie Rodan. Afterward, she and Rodan started separate San Francisco Bay dermatology practices and were surprised how many of their patients had acne. Spurred into action, the physicians toiled from 1989 to 1994—spending a good deal of their money in the process—to develop and perfect Proactiv Solution. The pair relied on television infomercials to advertise their product, which took off like wildfire.

Though Proactiv Solution prospered beyond her wildest dreams, Fields still maintains her private practice in San Francisco. She may live and work out west with her husband and two young sons, but the University of Miami and the Miller School still tug at her heart strings.

“They gave me my start,” Fields says. “Without them I wouldn’t have had the ability to improve the lives of 12 million people, and it just doesn’t get any better than that.”