Year 2. February 27. Recognizing Some of Our Best.

American Society for Clinical Investigation’s Emerging Generation Award: Alexander Nguyen, MD, PhD

A few weeks ago, we shared the news that Olujimi Ajijola, MD, PhD and Rajat Singh, MD were elected to the American Society for Clinical Investigation, followed by Utibe Essien, MD, MPH being selected for the ASCI’s 2023 Young Physician-Scientist Award. This year the ASCI is a gift that keeps on giving. Alexander Nguyen, MD, PhD has been selected as a recipient of the ASCI Emerging Generation Award (E-Gen Award). The E-Gen Award recognizes post-MD, pre-faculty physician scientists who are engaged in immersive research.

Currently a gastroenterology fellow, Dr. Nguyen’s research has focused on elucidating fundamental mechanisms that drive metabolic liver disease. He is currently performing post-doctoral research training in the Tontonoz Lab developing experimental and conceptual expertise in the study of lipid regulation at the molecular, cellular, and physiologic levels. He shares that the E-Gen Award serves to acknowledge his commitment to his career path as a physician scientist and provides a community to support his goals. Congratulations Zander!

LUNGevity Foundation’s 2023 Pierre Massion Early Detection Award: Lawrence Benjamin, MD

Next, we celebrate Lawrence Benjamin, MD who has been selected as a recipient of the 2023 Pierre Massion Early Detection Award in support of his project, “Comparative Effectiveness of Lunch Cancer Screening Strategies.” Awarded by the LUNGevity Foundation, the Pierre Massion Early Detection Award supports underrepresented junior faculty members leading research in the field of lung cancer early detection that demonstrate translational relevance. A clinical instructor in pulmonary & critical care, member of the VA Greater Los Angeles Health System, and health policy and management PhD candidate through the STAR Program at UCLA, Dr. Benjamin will be conducting his lung cancer detection and prevention research at the VA.

Lung cancer screening rates are low, and this lifesaving intervention is underutilized relative to other forms of cancer screening like colonoscopy or mammography. His research will leverage national data to analyze the impact of lung cancer screening implementation on uptake and adherence. His work will additionally focus on analyzing the performance of these implementation strategies in minority veterans and veterans at high social vulnerability, groups who historically have had especially low rates of screening. Dr. Benjamin is incredibly humbled and thankful to have received the Pierre Massion Award, named for the late researcher and friend to many of his mentors.

American College of Physicians’ Southern California Chapter Laureate Award 2023: Rachel P. Brook, MD

Each year, the American College of Physicians (ACP) awards the prestigious Laureate Award to the ACP member who has demonstrated by their example and conduct an abiding commitment to excellence in medical care, education, or research, and in service to their community. This year, Rachel Brook, MD has received this distinction. Dr. Brook is an associate professor of internal medicine at UCLA, practicing both hospitalist and women’s health medicine. Dr. Brook has made major contributions to medical education within the DoM and the DGSOM, through her innovations in curriculum development and leadership in developing mentorship, and coaching programs for our medical students and residents. Congratulations Rachel!

Mastership Awardee for American College of Physicians 2023: Robert Brook, MD, ScD

It is a family affair this year at the ACP, as Rachel’s dad Robert Brook, MD, ScD, was recognized with Mastership from the American College of Physicians. Mastership is granted to highly accomplished internal medicine physicians, whose careers have demonstrated impact in practice, leadership, or in medical research. Dr. Brook holds the distinguished chair in health care services at the RAND Corporation, where he previously served for 19 years as vice president and director of RAND Health. He is also a senior principal physician policy researcher at the RAND Corporation and professor emeritus of medicine and health services at UCLA.

In 2005, Dr. Brook won the Institute of Medicine’s Gustav O. Lienhard Award, cited “as the individual who, more than any other, developed the science of measuring the quality of medical care and focused U.S. policymakers’ attention on quality-of-care issues and their implications for the nation’s health.” He has been awarded the HRET Trust Award, the David E. Rogers Award of the Association of American Medical Colleges, the Baxter Foundation Prize, the Rosenthal Foundation Award of the American College of Physicians, the Distinguished Health Services Researcher Award of the Association of Health Services Research, and the Robert J. Glaser Award of the Society of General Internal Medicine. Congratulations Bob!

Zhaoping Li, MD, PhD Appointed Chief of Medical Service at VA Greater Los Angeles Health System

After a national search, I am pleased to share that Zhaoping Li, MD, PhD has been appointed the chief of the medical service at the VA Greater LA Health System. Dr. Li is a professor of medicine at UCLA, the Lynda & Stewart Resnick Endowed Chair in Human Nutrition, and chief of the division of clinical nutrition in the DoM. She will also be appointed as executive vice chair for veterans affairs in the Department of Medicine at UCLA Health. Dr. Li previously served in various leadership roles at the VA GLA including director of the emergency department, chief of the hospitalist division, and deputy chief of the medical service. Please join me in congratulating Zhaoping as she assumes this new leadership role within the VA GLA.

UCLA Launches Goodman-Luskin Microbiome Center

Through the generous support of Andrea and Donald Goodman and Renee and Meyer Luskin, the Goodman-Luskin Microbiome Center has been established at UCLA to study the human microbiome and its effects on health. The new center is based out of the division of digestive diseases and will partner with the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering, the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, and the UCLA College divisions of life sciences and physical sciences. Microbiome programs include cardiovascular disease and lipid metabolism, inflammatory bowel diseases, substance use disorders, and others to study how the trillions of microorganisms that inhabit the human gut are implicated in wide-ranging health-related conditions. Faculty who will be leading the center include Elaine Hsiao, PhD who will serve as the center’s director. Other members of the leadership team are Founding Director Emeran Mayer, MD, Co-Director Arpana Gupta, PhD, and Co-Director Jonathan Jacobs, MD, PhD. This transformative gift representing the power of philanthropy will strengthen a program that will make UCLA a leader in microbiome research.

Thank A Resident Day

February 24th marked “Thank A Resident Day,” a day designated by the Gold Humanism Society to celebrate the contributions and humanistic care provided by resident physicians. Our medicine residents are responsible for caring for more than half of the patients admitted to Ronald Reagan and Santa Monica Hospitals and the Greater Los Angeles VA. They also provide service at Olive-View UCLA Medical Center and Venice Family Clinic. Their compassion, hard work, and skill are an inspiration to all of us and this shout out is but a small token of appreciation for everything that you do around here. I heard that you really enjoyed the donuts.



My brother and nieces from Seattle were in town a few weekends ago to visit their grandmother.

Guess what they wanted to see? 

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