Week 29: Veterans

Last week I celebrated the phenomenal productivity of department of medicine (DoM) research faculty during the first six months of this year. The data did not include the support that we receive from the Veterans Administration (VA). As you may know The VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System (VAGLA), headquartered at the West Los Angeles Veterans Hospital, is an integral partner with the DoM. Approximately 275 faculty in the DoM are supported by the VA, of which 83 conduct funded research, including faculty in physical medicine and rehabilitation. 

All of our core training programs rely on the resources available at VAGLA to train our residents and fellows. Some of our most inspiring teachers and faculty mentors are based at or are supported by the VA. Our faculty and trainees are committed to providing the highest quality care to our veterans who have served our country for over a generation. The VA provides substantial support for research, and our DoM-based research faculty have been incredibly successful in competing for VA funding to conduct research ranging from best practices in palliative care to fundamental mechanisms for many diseases including cancer, cardiovascular disease and others. The table below summarizes the research performance of our VA faculty during the current federal fiscal year.

Our clinical trainees have almost completed the first month of the academic year and by now, our new residents and fellows are coming into their stride. Our trainees come to UCLA to receive world class training, but importantly also provide essential service and care to many patients seeking care in our affiliated hospitals and clinics including those at UCLA Health, the VAGLA, Olive View Hospital and Harbor UCLA.

I would like to introduce you to the incoming class of sub-specialty fellows. The first installment can be found HERE. Please welcome our new fellows and welcome back to our returning fellows in our subspecialty fellowship training programs. Thanks to our faculty and program leaders for mentoring these talented physicians who represent the future of our sub-specialties.

Finally, join me in congratulating 6 internal medicine residents or subspecialty fellows who were recently accepted into the UCLA Health Resident Informaticist Program.

These 6 trainees begin a year-long training program working alongside UCLA Health physician informaticists and the information technology (I.T.) team to gain an understanding of how to apply clinical informatics to our electronic health record, CareConnect, or the VA electronic health record. With this knowledge, our future informaticists will be able to leverage the electronic health record to improve workflow efficiency, lead the adoption of transformation technologies, and leverage these to increase patient quality and safety.  At the culmination of the program, graduates will show case their accomplishmens at the Annual UCLA Health Resident Informaticist Project Virtual Symposium where each graduate will present their projects to senior leadership. Examples of past projects championed by program graduates from the DoM include:

  • “Streamlining Diabetic Discharge Medication Prior Authorizations” by Dr. Jane Wang
  • “Creation of a Smart Order Set for Management of Patients with Heart Failure with Reduced Ejection Fraction” by Dr. Pratyaksh K. Srivastava
  • “Optimizing Opioid Risk/Tolerance Category Recommendations for Pain Management Interventions Using an Ordering Smartset” by Dr. Noah Kojima

Members of the incoming class shared with us their program goals.

“I applied for the Resident Informaticist Program because I wanted to learn how to build clinical decision support tools in the EHR. So much of our work as residents involves documentation and placing orders. It would be amazing to create tools that make our workflows more efficient and less prone to errors!”

"As an endocrinology fellow, I work with patients with metabolic diseases such as diabetes and obesity every day. Weight management in particular, can be difficult navigate, and the lifestyle intensive programs, clinics, and medications that are proven effective can be underutilized. As a Resident Informaticist, I hope to help improve obesity care by building non-intrusive EMR tools to help clinicians align with patient priorities, provide evidence-based treatments, and refer to specialists when needed. The knowledge, relationships, and tools I gain from the Resident Informaticist program will help me to streamline care for patients and physicians alike in the future."

"I’m excited for the opportunity to participate in the Resident Informaticist Program this year. I look forward to applying my interest in health technology and digital health to improve the clinical care of patients with gastrointestinal diseases." 

"I am participating in the clinical informaticist fellowship because informatics is becoming a valuable tool in understanding the ways our electronic health systems impact healthcare disparities. This is particularly relevant to the research I've been fortunate to contribute to within Dr. Fola May's lab. I look forward to learning about informatics methodology and how I can situate myself as a future academic clinician to effect change." 

"I was drawn to the RI program because I wanted to develop a solid foundation and familiarity with projects that involve the EHR. Clinical informatics already plays an integral role for patients, providers, researchers, leadership, and legislature. As part of the primary care track, my interests lie in population health management and how physicians can leverage data technology to achieve health equity within the system. From the program, I aim to have the means to drive innovation in the primary care field and improve patient outcomes, provider burnout, and quality of care."

"For the past 2 years, I’ve worked with my research mentor, Dr. Boback Ziaeian, on evaluating the utility of the VA EHR-based dashboard to optimize guideline-directed medical therapies for our veterans. Through the Resident Informaticist program, I'm keen on learning the skills to build and implement EHR tools to identify care gaps. Ultimately, my goal is to leverage clinical informatics and quality improvement to improve cardiovascular outcomes on a systems level."

Wishing you every success!



My 11-month-old granddaughter and her parents are visiting us in LA this week. She has  six teeth, and I am being completely objective in saying that she is my favorite grandchild. My mother is also visiting, so quite a blessing to have 4 generations under one roof. This is us at the beach on Saturday afternoon.

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