Week 11: Why Our Match Results Matter

The big news this week was the result of the residency match. All the residency programs supported by the department of medicine (DoM) had outstanding results. The following links will introduce you to the incoming class of residents in our Categorical Internal Medicine Program, our two Primary Care Residency Programs, our Physician Scientist ProStar Program, and our Med Peds Program.

Categorical Internal Medicine Program: https://bit.ly/3u6utAA
Physician Scientist ProStar Program: https://bit.ly/3uc20cA

In addition, we had an exceptional dermatology match and a very strong incoming class of physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R) residents.

Dermatology Program: https://bit.ly/3qljFNI
PM&R Program: https://bit.ly/3ugzrLd

I am very grateful to all our program directors, associate program directors and support staff who worked tirelessly to interview hundreds of applicants and to everyone who made the strong case that UCLA is one of the best places in the country to train in Internal Medicine, Dermatology or PM&R.

I am incredibly proud of the breadth and depth of the bench and the diversity of the class. The results support the power of the wholistic approach to residency recruitment that we have championed, and the results are in: One of most diverse and accomplished residency class in the country!

The chief residents stated very eloquently:

“Beaming with pride. Our numbers speak for themselves, but we’re not resting on our laurels as we continue our tireless stride toward diversity, scholarship, innovation, and justice”

More importantly, the chief residents engineered a masterful TikTok “reveal video” that I am pleased to share with you here https://bit.ly/3uejMMu.

As I look at the incoming class, I am reminded of comments from program leadership that crystalized the approach, their aspirations, and commitment to providing multi-dimensional mentorship, training and support to all our trainees. These excerpts underscore some of the reasons why we attract the best in the country and why they come to UCLA to train in Internal Medicine.

From Dr. Lisa Skinner, Program Director for Categorical Internal Medicine Residency:

“The medicine residency has developed a comprehensive career mentorship and coaching program to ensure that residents are poised to succeed in the next stage of their careers. This includes strategic goal setting for each of our 180+ residents, an early introduction to scholarly activity, a comprehensive fellowship application advising program, clinical coaching, and an advanced skills curriculum to prepare them to lead.”

Area of Opportunity for the Coming Year​​

“In the wake of the pandemic that has required us to focus on fulfilling our duty to patients, our priority is to elevate the academic tone of the program--to celebrate curiosity, scholarship, and the acquisition of knowledge.”

From Dr. Mina Ma, Program Director for the Primary Care Internal Medicine Residency:

COVID related initiatives: Opt-out Mental Health Services

“Healthcare workers are at a high risk of stress, burnout, and post-traumatic stress disorders. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our primary care residents shouldered some of the heaviest psychological burden in our residency due to working in several different health care systems. Witnessing the health disparities firsthand and having to ration care (as crisis standards of care were being discussed, they were witnessing firsthand a shortage of beds, ventilators, and oxygen) to seeing deaths on a daily basis (often multiple) traumatized our trainees. Recognizing that if their patient had been admitted to a different hospital meant the difference between life and death was jarring. In the acuity of the 2020 winter surge, there was no time to debrief or process what they had seen, but as the surge eased in the early part of 2021, we implemented group discussions with a mental health provider so they could begin the healing process. Then during this academic year, we implemented an opt-out mental health appointment for each of our primary care residents. This approach helps decrease barriers to using counseling resources and is useful to process ongoing post-traumatic stress as well as serves as a preventative measure to developing coping strategies for managing stress. We will continue this in future years.”

The quality of the training here is exemplified by the accolades received by our trainees and expert faculty. I will highlight three.

Dr. Ching Zhu, one of our cardiology fellows in the STAR program was recently recognized by the Heart Rhythm Society of America for the highest scoring abstract for her work elucidating the changes in sympathetic innervation and control of cardiac tissue adjacent to damaged tissue following a heart attack.

Dr. Gregg Fonarow Interim Chief of Cardiology, received the highest volunteer award of the American Heart Association – The Gold Heart Award, for tirelessly ensuring that guideline-based therapy, becomes the standard of care for cardiovascular disorders.

Dr. Carol Mangione, Chief of the Division of General Internal Medicine, was recently appointed as Chair of the US Preventive Services Task Force, where she will lead an independent, volunteer panel of national experts in making evidence-based recommendations regarding preventive measures that will improve human health.

Our trainees have the opportunity to learn from exceptional medical experts who are leading groundbreaking research, writing and implementing guidelines, and are wholeheartedly commited to guiding our trainees to be tomorrow’s leaders in medicine.

One of my happy places is hearing about the conversations that my weekly email generates and some of the responses that I receive. You may recall that a few weeks ago, I wondered out loud if Westlake Village was more like a pond. Well, I received a spirited defense of Westlake from one of our internists Dr. Kevin Pimstone, and I will share with you some excerpts and my response.

Pimstone wrote:

“In a previous email that you had sent, you referred to our lovely lake here in Westlake Village as a ‘pond.’ Having graduated from medical school in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, I must protest.  As a matter of fact, there are over 12,000 lakes in Minnesota, although I have only roller-bladed around four of them.  For the sake of reference, Iowa has but 65 lakes.
In truth, limnologists (one of which I have never met) continue to debate the true difference between a lake and a pond. Perhaps you are correct, although "Westpond Village" would be an awful name for our beautiful town. In all seriousness, if you ever wish to visit, I can give you a tour of our office and show you the lake which is quite picturesque.”

Abel responded:

“Thanks for your note and for discussing the finer points of limnology. It turns out that my sister trained in pediatrics at the University of Minnesota and still practices in the Twin Cities. So, I am very familiar with the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Indeed, my sister lives on one! Moreover, I did my internal medicine at Northwestern in Chicago, so I believe I might have a good frame of reference for a lake (great or small). That said, I am even more motivated now to visit and perhaps to bring along an expert limnologist with a yard stick and measuring cup.” 

So, it was an unexpected coincidence, when I received a personal letter from two of Kevin’s patients who extolled the high-quality patient-doctor relationship that he has fostered with them. They noted that Kevin was “exceptionally caring and professional,” and “showed mindfulness of their unique attributes.” They also commented on the work of the larger team in the office who collaborated to “maximize effective treatment and patient health.” Keep up the good work Kevin!

This letter is not unusual from the many that I receive each week sharing positive comments about the tremendous work that all of you do in our community practices to support the large number of patients who come to us for care.

Finally, the DMPG retreat concluded last week. It was a terrific event that brought many of our faculty together both in person and virtually, covering a wide range of topics, in multiple sessions that were very well attended. A special thanks to the faculty organizers, Drs. Janet Pregler, Evelyn Curls, Amir Rabbani and Arielle Sommer and the administrative staff led by Joash Wampande with expert assistance from Genevieve Aguirre, Diana Beaudette, Sam Martinez, Ben Gaster, Riley Alexander, Daisy Cazares, Gabriela Rivera, Raymond Henein, Gilma Rodriguez, Nadia Barreda, Patsy Morales, Juan Varela, Siuzy Papazyan, Bryan Alvarenga, Alexandra Radilaleh and Hilda Zamora. Thank you for your hard work and commitment to our department!



DMV Redux
Many of you are wondering how our visit to the DMV went. Well, the best laid plans….

  1. My wife and I carpooled in her car, with all the necessary documentation in hand to transfer titles of our 2 cars from Iowa to California. Well guess what? The cars needed to both be physically present to complete the process. Strike 1.
  2. How do you provide a bank statement to prove your physical residence when you have opted for paperless settings? Strike 2.
  3. If your spouse’s name is on a document with yours to prove her physical residence, then you need to show your marriage license. Strike 3.
  4. We managed to take our tests anyway. Was touch and go with some of the California questions, but we both passed, so the Drivers’ Licenses are in the mail. Mine is a real ID, but my wife’s is not. Remember the marriage certificate clause.
  5. We both felt badly for the little old lady who came in get a replacement driver’s license because she lost her original one, only to be asked do you have ID?

So, me and my car must turn up in person another day…. DMV2, stay tuned.

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