Week 41: October was a lot More Than the Beginning of the Second Quarter

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Our oncology services are at the forefront of providing state of the art care across the region.

Corina Guzman, administrative supervisor at UCLA Health Cancer Care San Luis Obispo, recently fully restored a 1967 VW Beetle and had it painted blazing hot pink. This classic car commands the attention of members throughout the community. During lunch conversations, Corina and her colleagues had the brilliant idea to bring the car to the office during Breast Cancer Awareness Month and park it in front of the building to raise awareness around the importance of breast cancer screening. The close-knit team rallied the support of clinic leadership which included Lead Physician Dr. Brian DiCarlo and Practice Manager Mandy Serrano who helped secure approval from the building’s owner. Together, the team added UCLA Health decals to the car along with the tagline, “We’re buggin’ YOU to get a mammo.”

When I drive out into the community, the car serves as a conversation starter and people are happy to learn about the comprehensive services offered by UCLA Health here in San Luis Obispo,” stated Corina. “Patients love to see the car and it has helped raise awareness about the importance of breast cancer screenings.”

The team is hoping that they will be able to drive the car in a local parade as well as partner with their local health care organizations to continue to raise awareness about breast cancer screenings.

Thanks for your leadership, Corina! View additional pictures HERE.

On October 15th, we concluded Hispanic Heritage Month, an annual observance which pays tribute to Hispanic Americans who have enriched our nation and society. During the month of celebration, Dr. David Hayes-Bautista, distinguished professor of medicine and the director of the Center for the Study of Latino Health and Culture at the David Geffen School of Medicine, released the 2021 State Latino GDP Report. In partnership with colleagues from the Fielding School of Public Health and the California Lutheran University, Dr. Hayes-Bautista detailed state-level contributions of Latinos living in the U.S. during 2020, the first year of COVID-19.

In the California specific report, Dr. Hayes-Bautista found that the large and expanding Latino GDP, valued at $706.6 billion in 2018, is larger than the economic output of the state of Ohio. The top three GDP sectors in California include education & healthcare (16%), professional & business services (12.6%) and government (8.2%). Between 2010 – 2018, the Latino population grew by 13% which is key to addressing the high percentage of people retiring, which substantially increases each year. During this same period, Latino educational attainment grew 2.5 times faster than the educational attainment of non-Latinos. In terms of age-adjusted mortality rates across leading causes of death, the report showed that the mortality rate is 25% lower than California’s White non-Latino population for cancer, and 30% lower for heart disease.

Dr. Hayes-Bautista shared the following perspectives and reflections on the data:

“From 2005 to 2019, Latino labor force participation---a key driver of GDP production--- has been higher than non-Latino. When 2020 began in January, Latino labor force participation continued to be much higher than non-Latino. The brutal months of March and April drove all labor force participation down, through a combination of lockdowns and business closures. But Latino labor force participation recovered quickly, while non-Latino showed a more anemic recovery.”

Assessing the effect of the first year of COVID-19 on the US Latino GDP, Dr. Hayes-Bautista noted,

“Since 1940 Latinos have pressed through adversity---wars, recessions and civil upheavals. Being able to move the Latino GDP up to the #5 position is one more example of how essential Latinos have become to U.S economic growth for the foreseeable future.”

October also marked significant accolades by members of our faculty. Let me share a few.

Steven Dubinett

Breathe Southern California is a non-profit, non-partisan group that promotes clean air and healthy lungs through research, education, technology and advocacy. Each year, the advocacy group awards the Breath of Life Award to influential community leaders whose leadership advances Breathe Southern California’s mission. I’m pleased to share that this year, Dr. Steven Dubinett, interim dean of the David Geffen School of Medicine, has been selected to receive this prestigious recognition in honor of his research in lung health and advocacy for underserved communities impacted by respiratory related chronic conditions. Please join me in congratulating Dr. Dubinett who joins the company of past recipients that include the current Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, California Governor Gavin Newsom, and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra.

David Reuben

Dr. David Reuben, chief of the division of geriatrics and director of the Multicampus Program in Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology, was awarded the inaugural Younes Nazarian Medical Humanitarian Prize. Throughout the course of his career, Dr. Reuben has led with compassion in providing comprehensive, high-quality medical care.

President of the Y&S Nazarian Family Foundation Dr. Sharon Nazarian shared that Dr. Reuben had, “a different mind-set that helped us navigate the final years of [Younes Nazarian’s] life, in the best way we could have imagined. On top of medical care, he gave humanitarian care.”

We are proud to call Dr. Reuben a colleague, mentor and friend whose commitment to service has undoubtedly enriched our lives both professionally and personally. View video highlights from the award ceremony.

Congratulations David!

Rashmi Muller

Dr. Rashmi S. Mullur was awarded the Pro Bene Meritis Award from the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Mullur is an endocrinologist, integrative medicine physician, chief of telemedicine at the Greater Los Angeles VA, and the education director for the integrative medicine collaborative at UCLA Health. This award recognizes Dr. Mullur’s commitment to the liberal arts and her outstanding contributions in medicine. Dr. Mullur has dedicated her academic career to integrative medicine, recognizing the importance of the mind-body connection in determining patient health outcomes, and has been instrumental in bringing integrative medicine into virtual care. She is now bringing integrative medicine into the medical school curriculum at DGSOM.

Dr. Mullur is keenly aware of how integrative medicine can help patients who are coping with chronic disease. She has personally experienced the benefits of integrative medicine as a caregiver to her son who lived with a disability. In 2020, she turned to integrative medicine to manage her grief after experiencing the loss of her son, Sidd. While she was able to use mind-body approaches in integrative medicine for coping, she believes that connecting to spirit through nature and the arts can be helpful for anyone attempting to manage trauma, grief and healing.

I feel really blessed to be in this moment receiving this award,” stated Mullur. “It feels like I get to circle back to the things that bring me joy, as well as honor my son, and the profound ways in which he changed how I approach medicine and care.

Well done, Rashmi!

Finally, I close with an example of leadership in efforts to address health care disparity and to increase diversity in the biomedical workforce.

Dr. Fola May, associate professor in the division of digestive diseases collaborated with Dr. Harman Rahul, GI fellow, and Dr. James Tabibian, associate clinical professor in medicine at Olive View-UCLA, in a report: “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in GI and Hepatology: A Survey of Where We Stand,” which was published in four leading GI and hepatology journals last week. In this study, May and colleagues developed an electronic survey that explored perspectives on workforce diversity and healthcare inequities among GI and hepatology professionals. The survey was electronically distributed nationally in the fall of 2020, a few months after George Floyd’s death that converged with the growing awareness of health care disparities in COVID-19 outcomes. This is the first study of its kind in this specialty and had 1,200 respondents.

Key Highlights:

  • Fewer than one-third of survey respondents felt that racial/ethnic representation was insufficient in the educational and training pipeline, among practicing professionals, or in GI/hepatology leadership.
  • Recommended interventions to improve representation in the field by initiatives that increase mentorship opportunities for students from backgrounds underrepresented in medicine (UIM), and increased representation of UIM GI/Hepatology professionals in leadership positions.

This study helps to establish priorities for diversity, equity and inclusion in GI and hepatology and informs future interventions to improve workforce diversity and eliminate health care disparities among the patients we serve,” said Dr. May.

Additional contributors to the study include the Intersociety Group on Diversity (IGD), a coalition instituted by the American Association for the Study of Liver Disease, American College of Gastroenterology, American Gastroenterological Association, American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy and North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, whose goal is to collaboratively address EDI issues, increase diversity in the field of gastroenterology, and address health disparities faced by the patient populations served.

You can read the study in Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (GIE), Gastroenterology,  Hepatology, or The American Journal of Gastroenterology.

Thanks for your leadership on this important subject. Other specialties will benefit from these lessons learned.



As promised, I got my Flu and Covid shots last Monday. If you have not yet done so, don’t delay. Get vaccinated today!

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