Week 5: Everyone Who Needs a Pacemaker, Should Get One

My comments last week about UCLA’s commitment to health equity sparked significant conversations during the week. What is clear to me is that many among us are passionate about ensuring access to care to everyone in our community. I learned about some of the barriers caused by challenges with MediCal contracting, but of ways in which many in our faculty have been advocating for their patients. I learned from Dr. Ravi Dave who directs our community cardiology practices about the impressive work that members of the Cardiology Division are doing to provide high-quality cardiovascular care for patients at the California Hospital Medical Center in downtown Los Angeles. He related to me some of the challenges in getting approval to follow these patients up in our offices. Our conversations prompted Ravi to re-engage with MediCal leadership and preliminary results of these conversations are encouraging. Let’s keep chipping away to do the right thing, as a department and health system! 

Given Ravi's commitment to health equity in our community, it was not surprising that Dr. Dave was one of 10 UCLA physicians named to the LA top Doctors list by the LA Business Journal.  I was further impressed that 8 of the 10-physicians on the list are members of the department of medicine (DoM). Confirms our leadership within UCLA health. Congratulations Drs. Brown, Chang, Connolly, Dave, Heaney, Slamon, Smooke Praw and Watson!

Speaking of accolades, I was also pleased to learn this year that three members of our faculty were elected to membership of the prestigious academic society, founded by William Osler – The Association of American Physicians. Inductees from our department were: Dr. Carol Mangione, Chief of General Internal Medicine, Dr. Judith Currier, Chief of Infectious Diseases and Dr. Kalyanam Shivkumar, Director of UCLA Cardiac Arrhythmia Center. My congratulations to our colleagues for their leadership in research, scholarship and commitment to academic medicine, which this honorific recognition acknowledges.

Our trainees continue to work very hard under challenging conditions during the pandemic and we will be rolling out a series of wellness initiatives in the next few days. I want to salute the leadership of Drs. Lisa Skinner, Jodi Friedman, Tisha Wang, Eric Esrailian and Libby Shin for spearheading these initiatives. Trainees are the backbone of many things that we do, and they deserve any respite that we can provide.

We rolled out the DOM_News@mednet.ucla.edu last week. This is a dedicated email account to which I am encouraging all of you to send us news of your accomplishments. I will announce today the hiring of our new Director of Communications, and one of her goals will be to ensure that as a department we are all informed of the many incredible things that you do, which characterizes your passion to excel across all our missions, and to be an example to the nation and the world. A special shout out to Dr. Ira Kurtz from whom this account received its first email! Here is an excerpt.

Dr. Kurtz and the team at US Kidney Research Corporation and Arkansas University have won the recent KidneyX prize for their work in developing an artificial kidney. The prize was entitled: “Development of a Dialysate-Free Waterless Portable and Implantable Artificial Kidney”.

A link to Dr. Kurtz's video presentation follow: https://www.kidneyx.org/PrizeCompetitions/USKidneyResearch

Finally, thanks for many who conveyed positive wishes on my mother’s 87th birthday. She was pleased to hear and was particularly touched by a note from one of our general internists Dr. Josh Khalili who said 

Thank you so much for sending this and sharing about who you are and even your family- I felt like I had to reach out since my grandma just turned 87 and your email made me think of her. These notes give us all a glimpse into the many goals and accomplishments of our department, but also who you are which is incredibly refreshing and inspiring”.

Josh, your note made my day, but more importantly, my mom’s.



I became a PaceMaker yesterday and joined our residents for a 6K run on the Santa Monica beach.

I was a little intimidated by the pre-run banter about who was training for the Berlin Marathon and other feats of endurance. I kept up with them though (I think), although it is possible that my colleagues 30 years my junior could have slowed down to make me feel good…hmmm?

Related Posts