Week 26: Building the Workforce

I hope you had a restful and enjoyable July 4th and for those of you who covered our hospitals, thank you for your service. This week I want to highlight the final large group of recent graduates from our training programs. These are the graduates of our subspecialty fellowships and the physical medicine and rehabilitation residency. These programs listed below continue to make important contributions to the specialty physician workforce.

To our graduates, I am sure that you will represent the best in your respective fields as you launch your professional careers as subspecialists. Let me also thank all the program directors and faculty members who have invested in the careers of our future colleagues.

  • Adult Congenital Heart Disease
  • Advanced Clinical Training Program in Transplant Infectious Diseases
  • Advanced Heart Failure and Heart Transplant
  • Allergy & Immunology
  • Cardiology
  • Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology
  • Clinical Informatics
  • Endocrinology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Geriatric Medicine 
  • Hematology And Oncology
  • Hospice And Palliative Medicine
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Interventional Cardiology
  • Nephrology
  • Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (PM & R) Residency
  • PM & R Pain Medicine Fellowship
  • Preventive Medicine
  • Pulmonary Disease & Critical Care Medicine
  • Rheumatology
  • Sleep Medicine
  • Transplant Hepatology

Details of our fellowship graduates and their future plans can be found HERE. It is an impressive graduating class. Here are some interesting statistics:

Although fellowship training is largely focused on developing highly skilled and competent clinicians, many of our graduates leveraged the academic environment and mentorship at UCLA to contribute to the published literature. I want to give a shout out to those graduates with three or more first-author publications, published during their fellowship training.

The cardiology core and subspecialty fellowship wins the prize the largest number/percentage of trainees with more than 3 publications. They are:

Aadhavi Sridharan, MD, PhD

Drs. Srivastava and Tehrani topped the leader board with 8 publications each! Multiple published authors from other divisions are:

Karen Tsai, MD,


Sushrut Thiruvengadam, MD,


Saroja Bangaru, MD,


Mary Catherine Cambou, MD,

Infectious Diseases

Melissa E. Phuphanich MD,

Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

I want to share another story about workforce development. Last Monday I had the pleasure of visiting a number of our community practices in the Burbank/Pasadena area. It is always a privilege to meet with our faculty and frontline workers who provide clinical care to many in Los Angeles. One of our team members that I met was Preston Henry, a senior licensed vocational nurse in the pulmonary clinic at Burbank.

Preston sent me a note after my visit, that I would like to share…

“Good morning, Dr. Abel,

My name is Preston Henry (Clinical Vocational Nurse at UCLA Pulmonology Burbank), I would like to start by reiterating that it was a pleasure to have you and your team visit our Pulmonology Clinic here in Burbank. It was such an honor to have finally met you. With currently being a Licensed Vocational Nurse, I started my UCLA career a little over 3 years ago as an Administrative Assistant in our clinic that was once an Endocrinology and Pulmonology Multi-Specialty clinic; working this full-time position whilst enrolled full-time in my LVN program. Though it proved to be challenging, I successfully completed this goal with honors. I am also proud to state that currently as an LVN, I am also a full-time student (once again) but in a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing Program currently finishing out my Junior Year with honors as well. With you being such an influential and distinguished figure in the healthcare industry in general, having done my research on your work and have admired your substantial contributions you’ve bestowed upon not only the University of Iowa and UCLA, but onto healthcare and the community beyond, I felt compelled to thank you once again for being an amazing role model for myself and others. If time permits, I would be overjoyed to one day visit you at the David Geffen School of Medicine on the main campus. Keep inspiring and keep up the amazing work Doctor Abel! Take care and hope to hear from you soon.

Best Regards,

Preston Henry, Sr. LVN”

Thanks for your kind words, Preston. While I am flattered by your kind words, you are the inspiration. I hope that we will keep you at UCLA when you complete your nursing training!

Last week, I also met with another important group of colleagues who represent the backbone of the inpatient medicine services at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica Medical Center, and for UCLA patients admitted to community hospitals, our Hospitalists.

Let me start by acknowledging how essential you are to our ability to care for more than 50% of all inpatients in our two major teaching hospitals. I learned a lot during the town hall and recognize that there is work to be done to improve the quality of your professional lives within the DoM.

As I write this note, I cross the half-year threshold as Chair of the DoM. Time passes quickly when you are having fun.



As many of you are aware, UCLA will be joining the Big 10 Conference in 2024.

There is a tweet from one of my former chief residents in Iowa that my move to UCLA might have had something to do with this.

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