Week 23: Getting to Know You

This week, I held the third of the department’s regional wellness town halls with faculty who practice in the northwest region. 120 faculty members attended! I must say that the wine and cheese reception felt like I was at a wedding or a family reunion.

View pictures HERE.

The strong sense of community and collegiality was very evident. The discussions during my presentation and Q&A were vigorous and certainly enlightening. I learned of ways in which some faculty have innovated within their practices in ways that increased productivity while maintaining patient satisfaction. I was also reminded of the stressors that many feel, particularly with regards to the seemingly endless work of responding to patients’ questions in CareConnect. We discussed initiatives that are currently being developed or piloted within the DoM to alleviate this. The strong desire for initiatives to improve work-life balance is clear. There are teams that are actively working on solutions. And while we work on this, expectations should be tempered while we concurrently work through the operational implications of any changes that we plan to implement. I look forward to collaborating with all of you as we continue to grow our clinical operations in a manner that is truly sustainable and one that supports your professional development.

All said, more than 340 faculty attended the three regional town halls. We have one more scheduled for the hospitalists later this month. At all events I observed the high degree of engagement by our faculty and your appreciation for the department’s willingness to work with you to achieve mutual goals. I also want to acknowledge and thank the members of the inaugural DoM Well-Being Committee.

I want to give a special shout out to Drs. Sun Yoo and Tisha Wang for their leadership in putting this group together. Note, the committee was constituted by them, to represent faculty well-being interests across multiple divisions, inpatient and outpatient physicians, and regions. It is not exclusive and if you want to participate in anyway, or to share any perspectives, ideas or solutions for our consideration please reach out at: DOMwellness@mednet.ucla.edu. 

Town hall meetings appropriately focus on the issues of relevance to those who go to them. This makes perfect sense. However, during our South Bay town hall, one of our distinguished primary care faculty, Dr. Gloria Kim noted that successful busy clinicians have high expectations of their support staff. The clinician’s performance in part reflects the support that they receive in their practices. I wholeheartedly agree that the other critical element to the success of any busy clinical operation is our support staff and those who oversee them. I have seen this firsthand as I have visited many of our clinical sites in Westwood and throughout greater Los Angeles. Therefore, I want to use this venue to publicly acknowledge and recognize all our clinic managers. Learn more about them HERE.

Thank you for your service, clinic managers. Sometimes you only hear from us when things are not going well. This morning, I want you to hear from me and on behalf of the DoM and our faculty, THANK YOU! Things go well, most of the time and when things get busy and stressful, it is not just the faculty or patients who could be impacted, you are as well. Collaboration and open communication will be the key as we work together to build an even stronger and highly functional health system.

So, what next? Our department is large, complex and sustains multiple missions. The research mission is also an integral and core part of our department’s identity. There are many facets of our research enterprise that require our collective focus, and these include mentorship of junior faculty, managing and expanding our space and research infrastructure, recruitment and retention of mid-career faculty and developing strategies to sustain our research trajectory. I will be scheduling a series of town halls in the summer to meet with and hear from our research faculty. I am still thinking about the best way to structure these, but most likely will involve distinct groups of faculty e.g., early career, mid-career, laboratory-based researchers and quantitative scientists. Send me your thoughts as we plan these events.



When I was in Westlake Village, Adam Cavallero and I went out to check out West Lake to inform the debate with Dr. Kevin Pimstone about its status as a pond or a lake.

The perspectives in these photographs might not inform the debate, so I did some research. Here is a table from the above-referenced source:

So, how deep is it? How big is it? Portero Valley creek does run in and out of it. I might acknowledge the person who can provide the additional data, and then we can debate if a lake must meet all three criteria to qualify.

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