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
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
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
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
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.”