Week 7: It Takes a Village

On the day after Valentine last week, I received an email from Jesus. Yes, Dr. Jesus Araujo, Professor of Medicine and director of Environmental Cardiology here at UCLA shared with me the circumstances around his latest research award from the NIH totaling >$2M over 4 years.  The proposal: “Dissecting the Role of Arachidonic Acid Metabolic Pathways Involved in Resolution Versus Progression of PM-Induced Cardiometabolic Toxicity” was submitted in response to a Request for Applications (RFA) called “RESolution of InflammaTion in EnvirOnmentally Related diseasE (RESTORE)”

It is remarkable, that this was not even a grant that he had planned to apply for, but not for the timely notification of this opportunity by the CTSI grants submission Unit. 

Jesus noted in his email that:

“ …. this RESTORE RFA was brought to my attention by the CTSI Grants Submission Unit in September 2020. Not only this identification step was critical, since otherwise it would have passed unnoticed by me but also, they gave an invaluable administrative support to the construction of the application in January/February last year, that was being spearheaded by our fund managers Marissa Barker and Cathy Rujanurukus, in a collaborative effort with very strong investigative teams from UC Irvine and the University of Washington.”

Congratulations Dr. Araujo, it takes a village.

I received another email from one of our junior faculty and another physician scientist in our department Dr. Estelle Everett regarding the news that her recently submitted NIH K23 Award, which proposes a feasibility study to evaluate the use of Hybrid Closed Loop insulin pump system in patients with poorly controlled type 1 diabetes with an A1c> 9% from both an academic and safety net hospital, will be funded by the National Institutes of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Disease (NIDDK). The genesis of Dr. Everett’s academic success goes way back. I first met Estelle, when she participated as an endocrine fellow from Johns Hopkins, in a program that I run through the Endocrine Society called the FLARE program whose goal is to mentor and equip junior faculty from groups that are under-represented in medicine with tools to ensure their long-term success. I remember a telephone call with Dr. Everett while I was waiting for a flight at the airport in Washington DC, to discuss the offer letter that she had received from UCLA. I gave some feedback, which hopefully improved the offer, but importantly at UCLA she has received support and mentorship from Dr. Carol Mangione in the General Internal Medicine Health Services Research Unit, her Division Chief Dr. Greg Brent and her mentor in the Endocrine Division Dr. Tannaz Moin.

Congratulations Dr. Everett, it takes a village.

I also enjoyed learning that Dr. Daniel Croymans one of our primary care physicians and the Medical Director of Quality for the department of medicine (DoM) will be honored with a 2022 Top Ten Clinical Research Achievement Award by the Clinical Research Forum (CR Forum), in recognition of his publication in the prestigious Journal Nature, "Behavioral Nudges Increase COVID-19 Vaccinations" which examines the effects of behavioral interventions on the uptake of COVID-19 vaccines.  They conducted a study comparing targeted text messages that promoted psychological ownership of COVID19 vaccines, relative to messages that gave information about vaccine efficacy and corrected mis-information. Other members of the team from UCLA that contributed to this important effort include: Hengchen Dai, PhD (Anderson School of Management), Maria Han, MD, MS, Chief Quality Officer Dept. of Medicine, Lily Roh and Naveen Raja (Office of Population Health and Accountable Care, UCLA Health FPG), Sitaram Vangala (DoM Statistical Core), Hardikkumar Modi and Shital Pandya Office of Health Informatics and Analytics, UCLA and Michael Sloyan, department of Information Services and Solutions, UCLA Health System. Silvia Saccardo from Carnegie Mellon also contributed to the study.

Congratulations Dr. Croymans. Nice to see one of our primary care physicians being lead author on a publication in Nature. It takes a village.

Last week, I had the pleasure of greeting many of our recently recruited clinicians at the Department of Medicine’s Professional Group onboarding session, the first one held in person since COVID! Although it was a mere 58 degrees on the Luskin 3rd floor terrace, all gathered for breakfast. I was energized by meeting the deep pool of talent that we recruit to the DoM, who will be providing exceptional care to many patients across Southern California. I also learned that believe it or not people (at least doctors) are moving from Texas to California! I also met  Dr. Jacqueline Gallardo our recently recruited family physician at San Luis Obispo Primary and Specialty care, https://www.uclahealth.org/providers/jacqueline-gallardo , who drove down the night before, so that she could join in person and meet her colleagues who are practicing at multiple sites including West Lake Village, which I understand is more like a pond than a lake. Our clinical expansion has had a major impact on UCLA Health, due in no small part to the enthusiasm of our colleagues who make up our team. In fact, the results of my survey last month, revealed that the highest ranked area was our commitment to clinical excellence.

Special thanks to our clinical faculty whose efforts are responsible for making us the #1 Healthcare system in California. It takes a village.

Finally, the match lists for our residency programs are going in soon. This is always a little anxiety provoking as we think hard about how to rank our list of outstanding applicants, and of course to ensure that we hit “SUBMIT” before the deadline. Thanks to everyone who labored tirelessly to actively recruit the next class of residents into our training programs, where we are committed to developing tomorrow’s leaders in medicine. Here is my message to applicants.

It takes a village.



Our DoM has a Twitter Handle, which is now live! @DOM_UCLA. One of the perks of being Chair is that I get to be the first follower. Last time I checked we were up to 68. I know that there are many of you out there on Twitter. So, here’s my challenge let’s have > 1,000 followers by the end of the day today! Golden Krust is now following me on Twitter. Make sure you follow @DOM_UCLA before they follow us too.

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