In response to the retirement of our faculty sponsor, Dr. Alan Steinbach, quotes were collected from many generations of Suitcase Clinic volunteers. They can be read below:
Thank you for so thoughtfully sharing your equipoise and understanding with me for these past four years. I was a difficult student, and it was only after many iterations of the Wednesday class that I finally became able to internalize the subtle elegance of compassion and empathy. You are a role model and a sage, and have truly taught me to be able to appreciate my more human qualities, as difficult as it is for me to be vulnerable around others. Through your devotion you have crafted a safe and timeless environment which will endure for many generations of volunteers. Your memory will be strong in all of us, and it is with great privilege and pleasure that I have been able to share your company. You have instilled noble qualities within hundreds of students, and should rest easy knowing that you have certainly changed my life for the better. You embody profound virtue, and it is with utterly heartfelt sincerity that I say that I am honored to know you.
Alan’s dedication to service is my inspiration to move forward into the professional world of medicine, knowing that I can really make a difference to those around me in terms of their health and humanity. My time at Cal would have been nothing without the Suitcase Clinic and Alan has had an enormous impact on me as a person. Additionally, he makes the absolute best doctor-clown I have ever seen!
Dr Steinbach has changed my life. Not only has he taught be so many valuable lessons like the power of the process, how we must treat everyone like our mother and that hitting is wrong , but he has been one of my most trusted mentors. The lessons and safety of the Wed. Class have help me develop into a stronger, more confident leader and facilitator. I am eternally grateful and will truly miss spending time with him, and I can only hope that one day I will be able to create as much goodness and change as he has.
I once heard one of the med students refer to the rooms in University Hall as the caves. But to me, the days in windowless room 574 were just incredibly enlightening. I feel it is where I learned the most during my time at Berkeley. At work we have team meetings.. we sit around a table in a conference room, and even now I can hardly keep from asking.. “Can we check-in?” I want to thank you for sharing your wisdom with us, and also for helping us learn from each other and about each other.. and ourselves.
It’s hard to imagine life at Clinic or at Cal without you. You made such a huge contribution to the goals and dreams of so many students, clients and volunteers (myself included). I’m currently living in Buenos Aires working for a nonprofit, and I can whole-heartedly say that your work and spirit strongly influenced who I am today. Thank you for everything – best of luck in your retirement!
Dr. Steinbach has been such a great mentor and advisor for Suitcasers throughout the years. Certainly, his leadership shows through the successes and management of the Suitcase Clinic. He’ll definitely be missed and will leave behind big shoes to fill!!
I really admire his ability to turn every situation into a forum for teamwork; the student-teacher setting, student to student situations, and most importantly, doctor-patient. I’ve learned so much from his positive perspective and compassionate mode of care. If only every doctor could wholly include their patients when solving health issues. Instead of telling his patients what he can do for them, he frames it as “here are the steps we can take together.” That attitude really makes an enormous difference at the bedside. He’s a great doctor and mentor!
“When I got the email about writing a message for Dr. Steinbach’s retirement, I was at a loss for words. Trying to capture his essence in a few sentences is near impossible. In my time at UC Berkeley I was a double major and an active student on campus, so I got to know many different faculty members. To say that Dr. Steinbach was the most inspirational of them all is not an exaggeration. Dr. Steinbach was an extremely helpful
faculty advisor for Suitcase Clinic. He was also our teacher, our mentor, and our friend. His intense devotion to the cause of homelessness is unmatched. My experience with Suitcase Clinic would not have been half as fulfilling if he had not played such a large part in it. Whoever assumes his role has HUGE shoes to fill. It goes without saying that UC Berkeley has such a great reputation because of people like Dr. Steinbach; with his departure, it is losing one of its finest.
It has been an amazing journey, from which I have acquired so much. Though it was only for such a brief period, Wednesday class has helped me grow as a son, a peer, and a student. I am so happy that I have been able to connect with you though at the beginning of the course I was very intimidated. I truly admire you for who you are and what you have done. Thank you for being such a great friend that’s always smiling and at the same time knowing when to get to business. You Rock! And the small group process rocks too!!!
When I took the HMS 98/198 course I remember all the UGSIs talking about how wonderful Wednesday class was. I wanted to be a part of that and I am so lucky to have had the opportunity to do so these past 2 years. It has been such a great honor to come to class every week and listen to you speak. I have learned so many skills that have not only been helpful in suitcase clinic but in the rest of my life. Every Wednesday you inspire me to be a better leader, facilitator, student, and friend. I think that what makes you a unique teacher is that you are able to break down the student teacher hierarchy and are able to make us all feel safe and comfortable. I want to thank you for being a wonderful teacher and friend, it has really meant a lot to me and the other members of the suitcase clinic. Although it is sad to see you go I know that you are moving on to better things. You have left a huge mark on the suitcase clinic and all of our lives. This is not at all a goodbye, you can’t get rid of us yet hehehe. Please keep in contact and I am planning on doing the same. Thanks for being an inspiration. I will truly miss you.
You are an inspiration to us all and we, both as individuals and as an organization, will miss you dearly. I still remember my first time in Wednesday class, not knowing what I was getting myself into, wondering what words like process and time contract meant, and feeling anxious about this new experience. But in the end, I am so glad that I was able to live this experience and meet such incredible individuals with a common passion.
You may not know the impact you have made on all your students in the Suitcase clinic, and truthfully you have shared something unique with each of us. You always found a way to make a connection, and took the time to listen. You watched us goof around in Wednesday class, you gave us perspective through our frustrations, and you always provided a calming voice amidst the storm.
I have always believed that a hero is one who makes others better, who gives of himself/herself for the benefit of the whole, and one whose presence makes a difference in the lives of those whom he/she meets. You are a hero in my life and in the lives of so many other students, colleagues, and friends. Congratulations on your retirement, and know that your presence and your impact will always be felt.
Dr. Steinbach is the foundation and the innovator of Suitcase Clinic. He is the ligase that anneals our sticky ends and persuades us to work together and reach a goal. His effort will be great missed, but I believe that he has equipped us with the arsenal to fight the injustices in the world and serve as the beacon of light to combat oppression
Dr. Steinbach has been the driving force behind the Suitcase Clinic’s success and has been an inspiration to the many volunteers who have been affiliated with Clinic since its inception. His willingness to provide invaluable advice and his amazing ability to calmly resolve any crisis will be missed. The small-group class he facilitated was my greatest learning experience at Berkeley, as it allowed me to not only learn useful skills on how to work in a group dynamic, but it also provided me with the tools to function more effectively as a member of any organization, and I find myself relying on these skills every day. On a personal note, I want to thank him for helping me through several issues, both personal and academic, and for always making himself available whenever I needed him. I wish him all the best in his well-deserved retirement!
Thank you for being such a great mentor to us and offering so much of your support and guidance in such a crucial time in our lives. Suitcase defined much of my college years and will probably be one of the only things I remember about college when I retire. I hope you have a fantastic, restful, and well deserved retirement (and hopefully, you’ll get to spend a ton of time with your grandchildren)! Thanks again Dr. S!
Without Alan’s sincere guidance, astute advice, and profound wisdom about all aspects of life I can honestly say that I would not be where I am today. Whenever I come to a crossroads, or need someone to push me in the right path, I contact Alan and am always glad that I did. I keep a file saved on my computer entitled “Alan’s Insight” which includes an email he sent me when I first moved to New York two years ago. I still read it when I am feeling lost about what I am doing in the world:
“It’s hard to compare stage 1 of love with any other stage of love, because stage 1 is so easy and uncomplicated and instantly ecstatic…and also ignorant and dumb in many ways. So it reminds us that loving yourself is more important than ever when you are feeling unloved, or missing something that you once had. Still, staying in a situation that isn’t part of the direction you want, or the self you want to be, is so much part of a problem that eventually leads to discontent and more difficulties. Which again means that loving yourself needs to come first, despite all the songs.”
I have never met such an inspiring person in my life. You love what you do and love to share what you do with others. I’ve taken in all that you have taught me. I now know one important thing: there are tons of ways to “make a living,” more importantly, I want to love what I do too. Thank you so much for all that you have taught us.
Thank you so much for all the guidance you’ve given to all of us Suitcase volunteers over the years. You’ve been our rock. I wish I had the opportunity to take the UGSI class with you because I know I would have learned even more from you, but alas, I’m graduating while you’re off to retire, and land yourself in some remote beach. Congratulations on the retirement, you surely deserve the break! And thank you again for leaving such a lasting and inspirational mark on all of us. I’ll never forget about you as I go off and make my own mark in the world. We love you!!
Thanks for keeping my hopes alive that medicine can still help people. You are inspiring; I struggle to find the words that can describe the mix of humor, compassion, and brilliance that you so graciously shared with our class. Wednesday class check-ins brighten my day. I know that they will continue in your spirit for many more generations of students.
Dr. Steinbach, I can say with total confidence that you have been the most influential mentor to me over the past four years. I am grateful for everything you’ve taught us and the support you’ve provided to each of us as individuals and to the Suitcase Clinic as a whole. I would not be where I am today were it not for you. I hope your retirement years are fulfilling and relaxing, and when you look back, know that each of us are carrying on a part of your legacy in our own lives. Thank you!
Dr. Steinbach, through your work with the Suitcase Clinic, you have directly and indirectly educated, empowered and inspired scores of students to lead lives of service. You have shown those of us fortunate enough to learn from you a tremendous toolbox of skills to utilize in all aspects of our lives and careers, the most important of which being compassion. The Suitcase Clinic is largely responsible for my growth as an individual and for the evolution of my career interests. I know that I can safely say the same for numerous others. Without your involvement and support, the Suitcase Clinic would not be what it is today, if anything at all. As an individual, if I ultimately attain one tenth of your compassion, charisma, vision and determination in my life that you have shown in yours, I will be proud of my achievement. You are an amazing individual that I regard with the utmost respect and endearment. I thank you for all that you have done for me and know that you will be dearly missed by those of us who have, do, and will make up the volunteer corps of the Suitcase Clinic. Above all, you are a marvelous person and for that, I thank you.
I feel privileged to have been part of the last Wednesday class that you helped facilitate. I have learned so much regarding the small group process, and what it means to be a good facilitator due to your commitment to helping teach students in an interesting and innovative manner.
Additionally, your commitment to starting an organization such as the Suitcase Clinic is truly commendable in itself. Yet, what is even more amazing is that you have been an integral part of helping the organization grow and progress over the last 18 years. I just wanted to thank you for all that you have done for me personally and for Suitcase as a whole. You are an inspiration for the type of professional I hope to become someday, and your presence will definitely be missed. Best wishes regarding your retirement and we hope to see you around Suitcase in the near future!
Dr. Steinbach, thanks for your commitment to Suitcase, taking your time and effort to lead and train us. Your departure is a great loss for the Suitcase Clinic and the University. I hope you won’t forget that you’ve made a lasting mark in each of us and matured us to a higher level of servants to society. May God bless you, Dr. Alan Steinbach!
Dr. Steinbach has transformed how I think about life. No longer do I have friends, because I need to treat everyone like my mother, no longer can I attend a meeting without insisting on a check in, no longer can I think of group process and not get the biggest smile on my face. Dr. Steinbach has taught me not only how to reach down inside and pull something amazing out, but he’s taught me how to move things around and shake things. He’s taught me how to think outside the box, while caring for everything inside, outside and all around the box.
When I think of the word “mentor,” I think of you. Thanks for all the advice, help, and compassion over the years. You’ve had a great career, and I wish you an even better retirement!
One of our models we Suitcasers like to follow is the one articulated by Mohandas Gandhi “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” When I think about Dr. Steinbach, who I had the pleasure of facilitating the Suitcase Clinic seminar with, I think about Gandhi’s quote because that’s exactly what Dr. Steinbach is- the change he wishes to see in the world. In Berkeley you run into a lot of faculty members who will spout the ideals that should be governing our world and how we should view and treat its people, but Dr. Steinbach actively leads us as students, as Suitcasers, and as human beings to actively view and exercise compassion.
I want to thank him so much for advocating, guiding, and leading us to all be the change we wish to see in the world. Thank you Dr. Steinbach. I’ll never forget you!
You did a terrific job with Suitcase Clinic and I am glad to have been a part of it. Thank you so much for your sincerity, dedication, and knowledge. I learned from you as well as from various members of Suitcase and will keep this one memorable. We’ll miss you!
I wanted to take the time to thank you for all of your guidance and inspiration during Suitcase Clinic. You have truly been an inspiration to many and I admire you for all of the hard work, time, and effort that you have put towards the Suitcase Clinic. You will always be missed. Thank you again.
Dr. Steinbach wears many hats. I’ve mostly seen him with his mentor hat on, but I’ve also had the chance to catch him as a grandfather, artist, fisherman, writer, husband, and physician. His ability to be within the present moment in each of these roles is what I admire most.
Since I was young, I have always held my mentors up on a pedestal, and at times, have been disappointed when I see their fallibilities. With Dr. Steinbach, seeing him interact with his family and students on a personal level has only made me admire him more. I think it’s the way he listens.
The fully body listening is what I remember most in his cramped office of U-Hall, his small bushy eye-brows, arms crossed and rested on his chest, legs crossed as he swivels from his computer to his student, who is usually crying in his/her wooden chair. That’s just it, all of us, his students, mentees, grandchildren, and friends, go to Dr. Steinbach at our most vulnerable moments. We seek his advice, from career choices, Suitcase Clinic issues, to relationship problems, knowing that he has lived his life to the fullest in his personal and professional roles—his different hats are very well worn.
It has been an honor to learn from Dr. Steinbach. More than anyone else, he reminds me to try out new roles and to give energy to each aspect of my life—I can’t thank him enough for such an amazing life lesson and for all of his mentorship over the last 8 years.
Dr. Steinbach is one-of-a-kind. He was instrumental in making HMS 98/198 such a success. I can say with full confidence that every Class Coordinator and T.A. that took Dr. Steinbach’s class on Small Group Methods walked away with a new, confident perspective on leadership, volunteering, and healthcare. Dr. Steinbach has also been there for me on very personal levels, and I know that I am not the only one he has personally helped. God bless you, Dr. Steinbach!
Many of us have come to you over the years with questions hoping for some answers to life’s mysteries and predicaments. You offered us something often disguised in humor and simplicity, yet replete with kindness, depth and hope. Rather than pedagogical instruction or handing us “solutions,” you have given us skills that have made us wiser, more compassionate, stronger human beings by serving as an example. We came to you in search of inspiration, and somehow you always manage to deliver.
Having had the privilege of knowing you through being a part of this beautiful microcosm we call “The Suitcase Clinic,” what I have learned from you is paramount to anything I can say I have done. You have taught me that education is a continuum, and that true education is about a process built on communication, evaluation and self-reflection. I have learned that people, including me, are fallible, but recognizing this is what makes the spirit of “service-learning” live on. You have taught us about leadership though facilitation, confrontation and resolution, and we have come out of our Suitcase Clinic experiences with lessons about life and human character.
Many of us have come to you for encouragement and wisdom, often as we enter new stages in our lives. As you begin your new adventures and the next phase of your own life, I hope that you can look back at your time with the Suitcase Clinic and know that your heart is what has helped it become what it is, and we as your students carry your spirit with us in all that we do.
Alan, I don’t believe any words can truly explicate what you have meant to us or what sort of appreciation we hold in our hearts for you. In times of difficulty, I have come to you because I know that you embody a sense of self that I wish to aspire to. You have been a teacher, a guide and a friend. Above all, please know this: to me, you are inspiration incarnate. If I can ever become a fraction of the person I see you as, I don’t think I could bare the responsibility. Thank you for all of your time, your energy and your heart; it has truly been a privilege.
The first word that comes to mind when I think of Dr. Steinbach is Inspirational. Anyone who had the opportunity to take his small group class would probably agree that it was one of their most memorable experiences at Cal. No matter what was going on in my life, the small group class always allowed me to step back and appreciate the things around me and put things in perspective. All of this was possible because of Dr. Steinbach’s compassion and humor, and his endless confidence in us. He has been such an integral part of The Suitcase Clinic, and I am honored and thankful that I had the opportunity to work with him. Also anyone who can teach a class in a clown nose or Raggedy Andy wig is amazing.. and that is definitely Dr Steinbach! ”
Your dedication to Suitcase Clinic and to the underserved populations really makes you a hero in my book. Having been in the small group Wednesday class with you for two semesters, I got to witness first hand the success of the small group process and hear your interesting talks about life, health, and song-and-dance routines with Osha.
We won’t forget you as you move on, and we take heart in realizing that it isn’t the end – it’s the beginning of something new!