Week 33: Investing In Our People

With greater than 1,000 faculty, nearly 500 trainees (residents, fellows, post-docs), and more than 2800 staff members, the success of the department of medicine (DoM) is intricately linked to investing in our members and in building and maintaining highly functional teams. I learned early on in my tenure that as members of our department, you are passionate about your work across all missions. You also provided valuable feedback in surveys and townhalls that there are important opportunities not only to acknowledge these efforts, but to identify challenges and barriers that hinder performance, productivity, work-life balance and job satisfaction. This week I will highlight multiple initiatives in place or in development that underscores our commitment to professional development. Although much of what I will describe focuses on faculty and trainees, we are mindful of supporting our non-faculty staff and there is much work happening behind the scenes for staff that will be communicated in due course.

The Physician Peer Coaching Program led by our DOM Quality team seeks to help physicians decrease burnout.  About 70 physicians in specialty and primary care ambulatory offices have participated in the last three years through one-on-one confidential sessions that pair a physician with a peer coach trained to review efficiency with charting and clinical workflow, in basket management, and many other topics. They review in detail the "Signal Data" which passively records all physicians' interactions with CareConnect and gives valuable insight into possible inefficiencies in their workflow. The coaches coordinate resources to support physicians including emotional support, CareConnect optimization, advocacy groups, and more. 

I would like to recognize the leaders of the Peer Coaching Program whose efforts have enabled us to provide this valuable support to our department. They include project lead Dr. Nathan Samras, project manager Hareg Getachew, and coaches Dr. Jennifer ChewDr. Anne ClimacoDr. Yaroslav GofnungDr. James LeeDr. Nathan Samras.

The graph below summarizes the common themes identified by participants in this program, representing challenges for which they have benefited from coaching.

Let me share a couple testimonials about the program’s impact among participants.

“Overall, it was helpful to get more tips on Care Connect efficiency and I do believe the small improvements over time have made a big difference in my time management.”

“As someone who recently graduated from residency, it was helpful to meet with an experienced physician and get reassurance regarding my documentation. It helped me make the transition to attending and tailor my notes to be concise but effective.”

I am pleased to share that the department has committed resources to expand this peer coaching program to ensure that there will be at least one coach available per specialty, recognizing that multiple coaches will be supporting larger groups. In addition, the DoM will be supporting professional coaching for up to 60 faculty per year who request this professional development opportunity.

Our trainees are an important pillar of our mission, and I am pleased to describe the Internal Medicine Residency Career Coaching Program, a parallel coaching initiative that is being deployed to support our residents. These data-driven coaching modalities are designed to help our residents achieve their full potential. Dr. Rachel Brook, the director of clinical and career coaching, and Dr. Tina Mosaferi, the associate director for career coaching, have been receiving training on coaching  approaches and methodologies that underpin faculty development  that will be offered to faculty colleagues who have expressed strong interest in serving as coaches. They are now working with Dr. Lisa Skinner to build a coaching infrastructure at UCLA for our internal medicine and medicine-pediatrics residents.  A few of the themes that residents may explore through the residency coaching program potentially include identifying strengths, connecting with your community and what engages you, managing uncertainty, and understanding yourself as a leader.

Initial faculty response has been phenomenal, with dozens of faculty members across all clinical specialties expressing excitement to coach the next generation of leaders.  We will be sending further information in the coming weeks with details about our plans for an Internal Medicine Residency Career Coaching Program.  If anyone is interested in participating or learning more about either positive psychology career coaching or upcoming coaching initiatives within the residency, please feel free to reach out to Dr. Rachel Brook (rpbrook@mednet.ucla.edu).

DoM Researcher Wellness Townhall: Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Earlier this summer, I had the privilege of meeting hundreds of DoM faculty over the course of four wellness townhall, focused primarily on our clinicians, that were hosted throughout Southern California and here at UCLA. These were very informative as I learned a great deal about the concerns and interests from the faculty practice group and hospitalists which are now informing our wellness initiatives including those aimed at mitigating burnout.

I am looking forward to hosting our fifth DoM wellness townhall on Wednesday, August 31st with our researchers here at UCLA. The event will take place at the UCLA Faculty Center from 5pm – 7 pm. I encourage faculty who are conducting research to attend this townhall. I look forward to seeing and meeting with you and to hear your perspectives about ways in which we should work towards and advocate for resources that will support our faculty who sustain and build the incredibly productive research enterprise within the DoM. You may still RSVP by visiting HERE. There is also the opportunity to submit questions for discussion ahead of time.

DoM Research Day: Thursday, November 10, 2022

I am also pleased to announce that after a 2-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the department of medicine’s Research Day is back! On Thursday, November 10, 2022, DoM researchers from across our 14 divisions and programs will come together to showcase the diverse and innovative studies that they are leading that are all advancing the field of medicine. There will be the opportunity to hear from seasoned principal investigators, junior faculty and trainees who are just launching their research careers. The event will be hosted at Covel Commons and will include a plenary session, poster session and the opportunity for faculty and trainees to win prizes and awards. Additional information about Research Day is forthcoming but please save the date and plan to attend collaborate and celebrate the cutting-edge research performed by your DoM colleagues.

Finally, as we continue to welcome the new members of our department, join me in welcoming:

Welcome to our team!



Last week, as I was getting ready for my 7th meeting of the day, I noticed that our office staff were leaving en masse. When I mentioned that I did not hear the fire alarm, I was informed that they were heading off to the staff appreciation picnic.  I understand that they had a good time, and even though I had to stay behind by myself in an empty office, you deserve the recognition!

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