Year 2. April 10. Our Faculty as Influencers.

An important long-term goal of our department is to maintain and grow  our reputation as internationally recognized leaders across all missions of academic medicine. We want to be known as a place that not only creates future leaders in medicine, but whose members are leaders and innovators in education, clinical care and research. Although these goals might seem lofty, I believe that they are achievable, and our strategic planning process, currently underway will provide a roadmap and framework to achieve these goals. Let me update you on our progress thus far and preview important next steps.

Update: DoM Strategic Planning

Our strategic planning initiative continues to be steadily shepherded by Libby Shin, executive director of the Office of the Chair of Medicine at DGSOM and UCLA Health.

Let me summarize and acknowledge the contributions of those who have participated in the process to date:

  • Our steering committee, convened for a kickoff meeting in February and will meet again in May for a planning retreat. We invite you to learn who our steering committee members are here and reach out to them to share your insights about the department’s future. 
  • Over 115 Department of Medicine stakeholders, including faculty, staff, trainees, community partners, and UCLA and UCLA Health leaders, participated in focus groups and interviews in February and March. 
  • Department of medicine chairs from peer institutions Duke, UCSF, and Vanderbilt agreed to be interviewed and to share with us benchmarking data across all missions, against which we can compare our performance and identify how we can learn and grow from respective strengths and challenges. These exchanges will provide a wealth of data  and perspectives, that all participating departments can benefit from. 
  • These activities have generated perspectives that now inform the next stages of the process, which is to directly hear from you.

In the next important step in our planning process, we will ask for input from each of you through a brief survey. The survey will open on Monday, April 17 and will close on Friday, April 27, 2023. Look for communication from me next week announcing the launch of the survey. Please take a few moments to complete the survey once live - your ideas and opinions are critically important as we shape the new future for our department.

Remember, that the goal of this process as a department is to create a strategic roadmap that defines our shared vision and values; establishes a strategic direction and priorities for our future across each mission area; and creates a clear plan to achieve and measure the goals we establish. As such, your input will be essential.

Stay up-to-date on the strategic planning initiative by bookmarking our website. Questions or feedback can be submitted anytime to

DoM faculty take center stage at the Alliance for Academic Internal Medicine (AAIM) Week 2023

Last week, the department of medicine joined 3,000 internal medicine leaders from across the country at the annual Alliance for Academic Internal Medicine Week conference. Our faculty and staff led important plenary sessions throughout AAIM Week 2023 in support of the professional development of AAIM members representing all departments of medicine across the country, who are preparing the next generation of internal medicine physicians and leaders through education, research, engagement, and collaboration.

Utibe Essien, MD, MPH, assistant professor in the David Geffen School of Medicine and core investigator in the Center for the Study of Healthcare Innovation, Implementation, and Policy at the Los Angeles VA, kicked off the conference with a plenary lecture: “History has its Eyes on You: Race and Justice in Academic Medicine.” His talk focused on the history of racism in medicine, particularly in academic medicine, and possible solutions to help move towards anti-racism in the practice of medicine. The audience included current and future chief residents, program directors of medicine residency programs and subspecialty fellowships, clerkship directors, department administrators and other key leaders who are responsible for guiding early career learners in their medical journeys.

Dr. Essien eloquently discussed the systems which have contributed towards lack of diversity within the field of medicine, how the social determinants of health impact health outcomes, and how health inequity has persisted and supported inequality in our health care system. As we move towards building an equitable system, Dr. Essien shared solutions to help guide our efforts. They include:

  • Desegregating the healthcare system to ensure that patients have access to high-quality care regardless of race and insurance status.
  • Address health system policies and practices that disproportionately inflict punishment on patients of color.
  • Increase diversity of the medical workforce.
  • Develop antiracist medical curriculum.
  • Strengthen communities to address social determinants of health.

Dr. Essien adds, “First, it's really important to learn the history of care received by minoritized communities so that we can understand the experiences patients might be bringing into the exam room when we are taking care of them. Second, we must think about our own biases that we might be bringing to the table. I think we're all trying to do a better job with that, but we still have an opportunity to continue to improve. Lastly, as faculty members we have a big opportunity to train the future doctors of tomorrow and hopefully be able to do so in a way that moves us beyond this legacy of racism.”You may learn more about Dr. Essien’s health equity research by clicking HERE.

In addition to Dr. Essien’s presentation, let me highlight two other AAIM Week 2023 presentations that were led by members of the DoM. Recent changes in medical student evaluation and conversion of medical school board examinations from percentiles and scores to pass-fail reporting, has necessitated a change in way in which medical students should be prepared for the transition from medical-student to physician and how we communicate preparedness to program directors who will evaluate their candidacy for residency programs. Our DoM Student Affairs Officer Douglas Ruiz Carbajal led a workshop, “From Medical Student to Physician: Helping Our Learners Make the UME-GME Transition Using Individualized Learning Plans,” which provided guidance that informed approaches to navigating these changes in undergraduate medical education.

Second, our success as physicians is in part related to our ability to take strands of information that our patients present to us and to synthesize these into accurate  and actionable diagnoses in an efficient and cost-effective way. We are very fortunate in the DoM, to have faculty who are world leaders in clinical reasoning. As such, it was a treat to hear about the impact of VA GLA Hospitalist Reza Manesh, MD, associate clinical professor of general internal medicine, who led a plenary session about clinical problem solving.

DoM faculty members hold many leadership positions in the DGSOM, and I am always pleased to learn of new appointments. Therefore, join me congratulating Lovelee E. Brown, MD on her appointment as the  Assistant Designated Institutional Official (DIO) for Graduate Medical Education (GME). Specifically, Dr. Lovelee Brown will be the assistant designated DIO for equity, diversity, and inclusion for GME at UCLA. Dr. Brown is an advocate for health access equity, recruitment, and leadership development of under-represented in medicine housestaff, and community building. She is a founding member of the Minority Housestaff Organization, a member of the Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Academic Mentoring (JAM) Council. In this new leadership role, she will develop a culture of teaching and professional development that embraces inclusivity within the community of GME trainees and faculty at UCLA. Congratulations, Dr. Brown!

Finally, let me congratulate Sara A. Hurvitz, MD  who was recently recognized for her global leadership in breast cancer research and care, with her receipt of the 2023 ESMO Breast Cancer Award

Each year, the European Society for Medical Oncology awards the ESMO Breast Cancer Award to distinguished medical experts who have made significant contributions to the discovery and development of education, research, and clinical care in the field of breast cancer. I am pleased to share that this year, the award has been bestowed on Dr. Hurvitz in recognition of her breast cancer clinical and laboratory-based research. Dr. Hurvitz is a professor of medicine, co-director of the Santa Monica-UCLA Outpatient Oncology Practice, medical director of the Clinical Research Unit of the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center at UCLA and Director of Breast Oncology.

An internationally recognized expert in breast oncology,  Sara has developed novel therapeutics, leads multiple federally funded and industry supported clinical research projects, while maintaining an active clinical practice. She will be delivering her award lecture on May 11th at the ESMO Breast Cancer Congress. She shared with us the following:

“I’m absolutely honored by this award, but also quite humbled, knowing that my success in breast cancer research is in large part thanks to the mentors and collaborators I have had along the way, many of whom are here at UCLA, and, most importantly, to the patients--the true honorees, who were willing to participate in our trials.”

To learn more, click HERE.

Congratulations Sara!



I submitted my first NIH RO1 grant, last Friday from UCLA. Many thanks to my co-PI Dr. Rajat Singh and Raellen Man, departmental research associate for handling the submission with expertise.

Successful submission is step 1. The grant will now undergo peer review by a committee of experts, receive a score and if the score falls within the NIH pay line (top 10-15 percentile), could be funded. Wish us luck!

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