Week 47: Achievements Across the Continuum

One of the realities of our department is our ability to support our colleagues and excel across the entire career spectrum from trainees to faculty. A series of events last week perfectly exemplify this.

As we reflected during the Thanksgiving week, on what we are most thankful for, Med-Peds Program Director Gifty Ntim, MD, MPH shared a message of thanks for the leaders in the Med-Peds program recognizing their contributions to many accomplishments this past year. One of the first initiatives launched was revamping the Med-Peds Rounds and outpatient curriculum (MPOC). These resulted in a resident initiated, and resident led Med-Peds noon conference. Julian Lejbman, MD and Nathan VanderVeen, MD have been spearheading these efforts, with the help of Chief Resident of Academics Angie Lim, MD. They shared the following:

“Med-Peds residents at UCLA undergo a rigorous combination of internal medicine and pediatrics training in both in-patient and out-patient settings and rely on didactic lectures from both categorical programs to enhance their educational experience. Residents were eager to create a dedicated outpatient curriculum with a uniquely Med-Peds tilt that emphasized the transitions of care and special populations we care for in the outpatient setting. Nate VanderVeen and Julian Lejbman (PGY-3) collaborated to design a bi-weekly MPOC (Med-Peds Outpatient Curriculum) as part of their quality improvement (QI) project through the Medical Education Pathway in the department of medicine, with the help of Angie Lim (PGY-4) and Program Director Gifty Ntim.

Monthly themes range from Transitions of Care Across the Lifespan, to LGBTQ+ Health, to organ-based pathologies and how they change from childhood into adulthood and are presented live and on zoom by faculty experts and residents, providing them a space to socialize and learn together. In the spirit of QI, we are gathering data to continue to enhance this experience for all, but this initiative has already been widely embraced by the program. We have even made our calendar and curriculum public for other programs to adapt their own outpatient curriculum and embrace the "Med-Peds-ness" of primary care.”

Additionally, Med-Peds Class of 23, Chief Resident Adrianna Stanley, MD has been at the forefront of leading mEDI-pEDI, a resident initiated and led EDI program that advocates for access, equity, fairness and justice for children and adults across their lifespan. With the support of a $3,000 grant from the Minority Housestaff Organization, Dr. Stanley is using a part of the funds to work on an anti-racism curriculum. As a program, the Med-Peds division is committed to promoting health equity through the five pillars of clinical care, scholarship, education, recruitment, and advocacy. Recently, their 16 residents led the revision of their mission and vision statement to capture their commitment to promoting health equity and serving as a guiding compass that informs their strategic priorities and education initiatives. Read their new mission, vision and values statements here.

All of this incredible work is in addition to their continued wellness efforts led by Katelyn Klein, MD, as well as growing their social media footprint with the dedicated support of Jester Galiza, MD. Dr. Ntim shares that the Med-Peds Instagram account has never been more “lit” thanks to the work of the residents. I would argue that the whole program is “lit” as demonstrated by these achievements and the dedicated individuals who are leading these initiatives.

For many of our internal medicine and Med-Peds residents, this Wednesday, November 30, is Match Day, for those who are planning to pursue subspecialty training. We will therefore be celebrating the fellowship match and learning where our trainees are heading to next for their specialty training. In addition, we will be welcoming a new class of fellows who will be joining the DoM. We know that our UCLA trained aspiring fellows are well prepared for the next stage of their training, after their extensive internal medicine training and your mentorship. We will be celebrating throughout the week with news shared on Twitter and through internal announcements. Stay tuned…

When we recruit faculty to join the ranks of the DoM, we are making a commitment to ensure that they will develop a successful and fulfilling career within our department. As such, we must ensure that we provide the mentorship and support to make this a reality. This is a work in progress, and I anticipate plans to ensure that our mentorship programs remain robust and to identify ways to improve this process.  In the meantime, I want to introduce you to a group of dedicated faculty who commit a significant amount of their time to evaluate the progress of all the members of our faculty to ensure that they are meeting the expectations for promotion and advancement. This is the Department of Medicine Committee on Appointments and Promotions (MedCAP).

I had the opportunity to visit with the MedCAP committee last week, during their first in person meeting after more than two years!

(Top row, L to R:  Jesus Araujo, MD, PhD, Arthur Gomez, MD, Andrea Hevener, PhD, Zhaoping Li, MD, PhD, Andrew Wong, MD, Stephen Pandol, MD, Michael Yeaman, PhD, Keith Norris, MD, PhD, Mark Goodarzi, MD, PhD, Nader Kamangar, MD, Nina Harawa, PhD, Reza Ardehali, MD, PhD, Ella Nemeth, PhD, Scott Filler, MD.)
(Bottom row, L to R:  Natalie Longsworth, Cathy Alessi, MD, Tannaz Moin, MD, Jose Escarce, MD, PhD, E. Dale Abel, MD, PhD, Neveen El-Farra, MD, Donna Washington, MD, Marmar Vaseghi, MD, Myrabelle Costanzo, Madeline Shulman-Clancy, Arlene Bieschke)

MedCAP is comprised of 16 regular and 16 alternate committee members with representation from our affiliated institutions including CHS, VA GLA, Harbor-UCLA, Olive View-UCLA, and Cedars-Sinai.  Executive Vice Chair for Academic Affairs Jose Escarce, MD, PhD serves as chair of the committee and the committee, which is supported administratively by Director of Academic Personnel Arlene Bieschke and her team. Representatives are members of the Academic Senate at the associate and full professor ranks. The committee meets twice per month and reviews approximately 600 academic actions annually that include faculty and academic researcher appointments, 4th year appraisals, merit increases, and promotion dossiers.

Dr. Escarce shares:

“Holding a faculty position in a prestigious university is a unique privilege, but with that privilege come enormous responsibilities: to be effective teachers and role models to students and trainees, to engage in scholarly and creative activities that expand knowledge or otherwise improve the well-being of society or the university community and, for clinicians, to provide outstanding care to their patients. UCLA faculty are also expected to provide service to the community and act to promote equity, diversity, and inclusion. These activities are the lifeblood of our university and succeeding in them is crucial for the career advancement of faculty members. Achieving success in these complex and multifaceted tasks depends on receiving guidance and feedback, especially in the early years, and on the assessment and validation of faculty members’ work. In our department, part of the responsibility for providing guidance and feedback, and the full responsibility for assessing and validating faculty members’ work, fall to the DoM Committee on Appointments and Promotions, or MedCAP. The committee, which is composed of DoM faculty, reviews dossiers submitted by faculty members when they are up for merit advancement or promotion. The committee’s work is based on the premise that peer review is the best and fairest way to evaluate the work of our colleagues. The MedCAP review process is rigorous. For the most important actions, including 4th-year appraisals of assistant professors, 8-year limit reviews for consideration of promotion from assistant to associate, other promotions, accelerations, and changes in series, dossiers are reviewed comprehensively and in detail by two committee members who present their findings to the committee for questions and discussion before a vote is taken. Our main goal on MedCAP is to uphold appropriately high standards for each action and to apply them consistently across both time and candidates. Further, we strive to do so in a spirit of generosity, by which we mean making every effort to identify the positives in candidates’ dossiers and pointing out weaknesses in a constructive and encouraging manner, so candidates may remedy them. At MedCAP we are proud of the work we do, the way we do it, and the role we play in the success of our faculty.”

On Monday, November 21st, I joined members of the DoM at the DGSOM Faculty Awardee Recognition Celebration to celebrate the extraordinary achievements of DGSOM faculty. The DoM was well represented.  I was honored to be included for my election into the National Academy of Sciences earlier this year, alongside DoM colleagues who achieved the following honors:

As I looked around the room, I saw the leaders whose successes should be shaping the future of our institution. It is noteworthy that all who spoke, shared stories about the importance of mentorship. In my remarks, I re-iterated the important role that my mentors, colleagues, collaborators and trainees had on my development as a physician scientist and that it is our duty, when we receive national recognition to pay it forward. It is critical that our success becomes a catalyst to breed the success of those who are following in our footsteps. It is not enough to recruit the best. We must commit to active and meaningful mentorship throughout our trainee’s career spectrum, with the goal of helping them exceed what we achieved during our tenure. Every day, I ask myself where do we want to be as a department in the next five to ten years? What type of environment and culture do we want to foster? Based on the evening’s remarks and accomplishments from the celebration event, I believe that the DoM will continue to excel given our collective efforts to innovate in the field of medicine and ensure that our trainees are guided and supported as they graduate from our training programs, establish their careers, and step into leadership roles for which they have been prepared. Enjoy some pictures from the event here.

Why does this all matter? It came together for me when I received an email from a DGSOM colleague in another department last week, praising the teamwork that saved the life of a loved one.

“Wanted to thank both of you for your amazing teams. My [Redacted] came to the RRUMC ED with chest pain this afternoon. The ED team quickly did an EKG and diagnosed a heart attack and he went immediately to cardiac cath where they removed a clot and stented his LAD (he had 100% occlusion). No prior sxs or known risk factors,” 

“He’s resting comfortably in the ICU and cautiously is expected to have a full recovery. I know he’s doing as well as he is because both your teams provided rapid, outstanding care. Our family has more than normal to be thankful for this Thanksgiving!”

Dr. Parikh was the Interventional Cardiologist. Dr. Puneky was also listed. Dr. Aleesha Shaik is the fellow in the ICU. Everyone has been fantastic.”

I want to convey my thanks to the entire team as well.

Dr. Rushi Parikh is not only an outstanding clinician, but also a devoted mentor.

Thanks for inspiring us, Rushi.



Members of the DoM administrative staff also set an example of service on the Monday before Thanksgiving by organizing a mini-blood drive in the office. Thanks for your contributions of life.

(R to L) Serena Dawson, Alexandra Radilaleh, Gilma Rodriguez, Estephanie Flores Mena, Genevieve Aguirre, Daisy Cazares

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