Week 34: Why Train Here?

Resident and fellowship recruitment season is fast approaching. As I reviewed the diversity and accomplishment of the most recent incoming resident class, I applaud the holistic selection process that our department takes to ensure that we recruit not only the best and the brightest to UCLA, but one of the most diverse internal medicine residency classes in the country. Very soon, Dr. Lisa Skinner and her team will be reviewing hundreds of applicants who will be evaluated on their medical school performance metrics, resilience, leadership potential, emotional intelligence, and commitment to service. This approach has been predictive of our ability to recruit and develop leaders in medicine who have the skills to forge any path in our field and to compete for the most selective fellowship training positions or professional career opportunities.

As we enter the recruiting season, we must be reminded that recruitment requires that we all participate in the process. As recruiters we should actively share with prospective students the many opportunities for high-quality training and mentorship that are available within the department of medicine (DoM). Over the next few months, multidisciplinary teams will be hosting interview days, Discover UCLA IM sessions, and will leverage our social media presence to inform prospective students about our program. I invite you to take part and contribute towards another successful recruitment season by participating in the following activities:

  • Interview applicants
  • Sign up as a mock fellowship interviewer for current residents
  • Attend the evening UCLA IM Conversations Research Panel
  • Speak with applicants who are interested in your area of research
  • Attend noon conference as a faculty expert
  • Mentor current residents in research, fellowship and job search

One of the strong differentiators of our training program is our unflinching commitment to training exceptional and astute clinicians; the bedrock of which is clinical reasoning. Let me highlight the efforts of two of our faculty who are leaders, role models, and examples of why the best come here to train.

Dr. William Cope 

As director of clinical reasoning, Dr. William Cope is a passionate medical educator, former chief resident, and hospitalist based at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center (RRUCLA). Dr. Cope has been implementing initiatives aimed at teaching our trainees clinical reasoning and evidence-based medicine. Inspired by innovative podcasts like "The Clinical Problem Solvers," and by the amazing faculty-led teaching at the West LA VA, Dr. Cope collaborates with our internal medicine chief residents to create fun and engaging learning opportunities at RRUCLA. 

One of his primary goals is to revamp resident noon conferences with a variety of educational initiatives including "medical schema" talks, a robust clinical reasoning series, exciting resident reports, simulation sessions, and other innovations. Dr. Cope has personally led over 40 conferences at RRMUCLA in the last two years.

Dr. Cope is also enthusiastic about bringing evidence-based medicine to the forefront of resident education. One of his most notable contributions is a biweekly newsletter titled, “The Evidence,” which reviews landmark clinical trials with expert opinion from our faculty members. In addition, he launched the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) Journal Club to demonstrate that learning evidence-based medicine does not have to be an intimidating endeavor. During these journal clubs, residents and faculty gather at a faculty member’s home for rigorous discussions of a NEJM issue, in a relaxed atmosphere. In addition to clinical trials, a perspectives piece is always discussed, which encourages exploration of the humanistic side of medicine. These sessions continue to build a community among residents and faculty outside of the academic medical setting.

As he looks towards the future, Dr. Cope has set his eyes on expanding simulation training. Building upon the foundation laid by simulation leaders at UCLA, such as Drs. Edward Lee and Wendy Simon, Dr. Cope is bringing simulation training out of the simulation lab and into the hospital itself. With other faculty volunteers, Dr. Cope has organized “in situ” simulation sessions in which residents who are rotating in the hospital participate in high-yield simulations covering acute care medicine topics.  

 As Dr. Cope reflects on his interest in training our future leaders in medicine, he shares,

I had powerful mentors in medical school and residency who shaped my love for and approach to medicine. Medicine is so much more than just a job. I’m thrilled to work with our incredible faculty and chief residents to inspire the same sentiment among our trainees.” 

William P. Cope, MD

Dr. Reza Manesh

I’m pleased to welcome Dr. Reza Manesh who joined UCLA and the VA Greater Los Angeles (GLA) in January 2022 to serve as a hospitalist and a clinician educator with expertise in clinical reasoning. He is cofounder of "The Clinical Problem Solvers," a multimodal medical education venture run by a global team that hosts a weekly podcast. With an interest in helping trainees develop their clinical reasoning skills, Dr. Manesh has been innovating the clinical training experience at the VA with support from the VA Hospitalist Chief Dr. Michael Ong, and other VA faculty.

Dr. Manesh became passionate about clinical reasoning during his residency at UCSF where he learned to simplify complex medical topics into methodical frameworks. With this perspective, the “Morning Reports” at the VA have been restructured to invite trainees, chief residents, and faculty to all serve as problem solvers as they work together to solve unfamiliar cases that require participants to share their approaches towards diagnoses and management. Trainees lead these morning conferences by presenting the case, chief residents serve as facilitators, and faculty in the audience provide feedback and navigate the teaching points. Recently, they have started re-visiting discussed cases in a weekly session during which, a facilitator reviews the previous cases, reflects on the critical thinking, and creates illness scripts and schemas to emphasize teaching points.

In addition to “Morning Reports,” Dr. Manesh and VA faculty host the monthly “VA GLA Case Files,” a conference series inspired by the former VA chief of medicine Dr. Phyllis Guze. In this series, DoM faculty collaborate with other departments to prepare and present complex cases to trainees who are guided through the critical reasoning process with expert opinions provided by our outstanding faculty members.

After years of virtual learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic, trainees have embraced these interactive in-person learning experiences that challenge them to solve medical mysteries in a supportive community where they can share their thoughts without fear of judgement. Every learner is encouraged to express themselves.

As he reflects on his experience at the VA GLA thus far, Dr. Manesh shares,

I have felt so welcomed and supported coming to UCLA. I am grateful to be given the platform to bring my ideas and vision to life. These initiatives have been successful due to the full support of Dr. Ong and my VA colleagues.”

Reza Manesh, MD

With representative expert faculty such as these, why would anyone not want to come to train in internal medicine at UCLA?

Physician Onboarding 2022-2023

Our commitment to professional development does not end with our trainees. Each year, we welcome many new faculty to the DoM and UCLA Health, with high expectations that they will contribute to our nationally ranked specialty and subspecialty programs, in addition to delivering exceptional primary care. The 2022-2023 onboarding program kicked off on August 24. I asked Dr. Janet Pregler, who has overseen this program for several years to give me a report of how the launch of this year’s program went. Here are her words:

“In my opinion it was the best inaugural session yet.  As you know, we have a terrific group of new MDs.  Thanks to Joash, they had the opportunity to meet their colleagues, take photos, set up their IT, and find out about retirement counseling. 

Vice Chairs Dr. Jodi Friedman and Dr. Keith Norris and the Regional Leads attended, and Keith and Marco Hidalgo gave an excellent presentation about EDI in the DoM, including Keith’s leadership in ensuring accurate estimation of GFR in UCLA Health. Keith gave us a preview of an upcoming publication. 

We learned that one of our on boarders, Robert Reiss, MD, who will be joining our division of general internal medicine as a primary care physician, was notified by the Los Angeles Chapter of the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America that he will be receiving the inaugural Impact Award for the work he has done on behalf of the Foundation”

Janet P. Pregler, MD

Joash Wampande, our administrative program associate, also weighed in:

We kicked off the AY 22-23 physician onboarding program with a high-yield and interactive in-person session at the Luskin Center. 45 DoM onboarding faculty were in attendance. We have 75 on boarders (on a rolling basis) this academic year, of which two are nurse practitioners and one is a staff physician. Indeed, the program is evolving.

Joash Wampande

HERE are the photos from the session. 

Special thanks to the DoM Professional Education Committee for spearheading and developing such a high-quality program.

Finally, let me introduce to you the group of new hospitalist faculty members who have joined the DoM since July 1. Please welcome the following colleagues:


Refka Al Beyati, MDMeghna Bhatter, MDMatthew D. Carroll
Sadie R. De SilvaDaniel H. DichterAmy Rogers Filsoofnney
Jiyeon Monica JeongMeghan E. JohnsonDaniel Mandel
Taylor A. McConnaughyAmy McKenneyHardik Mehta
Mandakini MohindraJelissa MooyinDavid J. Panek
Colin PierceRenee RaoChristina Tran Vu
Jamie Yabuno

Welcome to the team!



I turned 6 last week. The evidence is on the cake.

The team in the office threw a surprise party. Never saw it coming. They engineered a bogus appointment on my calendar and put up the decorations during the prior meeting in my office with one of our division chiefs. I’ll never again fall for a 30-minute meeting with Gilma Rodriguez, particularly on a certain date!

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