Year 2. June 12. Our Esteemed Graduates.

Graduation season is upon us. Each year, I experience great joy celebrating the achievements of our medical students and trainees as they begin the next steps in their journey towards becoming leaders and innovators in medicine and research. I know that each graduate will continue to have great impact in their chosen path, as our faculty have provided them with the tools, training, and skills that prepared them for success. Our trainees have a great responsibility to ensure that the health of our communities, and indeed the world is moving towards a better place than where we are now. As a department, we are committed to guiding and mentoring our trainees throughout all stages of their career and as they assume this responsibility. I encourage our trainees to do the same and give back to those who are following in their footsteps and who will benefit from the mentorship that our graduates can provide to ensure the sustainability of our field.

The Class of 2023 Internal Medicine Residency Program.

We were thrilled to celebrate our graduating class of internal medicine residents on Friday, June 9th, alongside over 200 guests who joined us from around the world via the virtual zoom celebration or at the in-person event hosted at the Luskin Center. We came together to applaud a residency class who joined UCLA in 2020, the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. This class faced immense challenges and uncertainties as they provided care to patients and support to each other when we knew very little about this global health threat. Despite the hardships and the unknown, the residents rose to the occasion. Residency Program Director Dr. Lisa Skinner shared the following reflection from one of our graduates:

“Training during an historic pandemic has made some things indelibly clear: that your work matters, that you are uniquely qualified to ease the grief and suffering of strangers.  That your talents, your values and the oath you have taken connect you to each other and to a larger mission that helps hold the world together. You will not forget these formative years.”

I invite you to join me in congratulating the graduating residency class of 2023 which includes three graduates who will continue in education or research, 10 graduates who will go on to practice medicine in hospitals or primary care clinics, 10 graduates who will serve as chief residents, and 53 graduates who will go on to fellowships or advanced specialty training. I would also like to recognize and honor our internal medicine residency program award recipients:

Olga Levin Inspiration Award: Catherine Elizabeth Durant, MD
Intern Humanism Award: Anige'r Oriol, MD
Intern Inquiry Award: Andrew Fahmy, MD
Bruin Award: Revanth Kosaraju, MD
Graduating Resident Scholarship Award: Michael Raddatz, MD
Graduating Resident Teaching Award: Jonathan Labin, MD
Renaissance Award: Karen Keniston, MD
Outstanding Teaching by a Fellow Award: Michael Jiang, MD
Outstanding Teaching by a Fellow Award: Emily Schwitzer, MD
Outstanding Outpatient Primary Care Teaching Award: S. Anjani Mattai, MD
Outstanding Inpatient Teaching Award: Kelley Chuang, MD
Outstanding Inpatient Teaching Award: William Cope, MD
Outstanding Outpatient Subspecialty Teaching Award: Tina Mosaferi, MD
Faculty Mentor of the Year: Rachel Brook, MD, FACP
Staff Appreciation Award: Libby Shin
Staff Appreciation Award: Denise Duarte

We know that this class will continue make us proud and wave the bruin flag high in their next chapter. You may view my remarks to the graduating class of 2023 below, as well as pictures from the celebration.

2023 David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA (DGSOM) Commencement Ceremony

Last month, DGSOM recognized faculty members Rachel P. Brook, MD, FACP, Tyler B. Larsen MD, Wendy Simon, MD and Grace Chen, MD for their commitment to educating the next generation of physicians with education awards. This month we recognize the following faculty and graduating medical students whose unique contributions at the DGSOM earned them special distinction at the DGSOM graduation ceremony which took place on Friday, June 2nd.

The Kaiser Permanente and Lucien B. Guze Golden Apple Awards for Excellence in Teaching were awarded to three of our faculty members, Rachel Brook MD, FACPEdward Ha, MD, MEHP, FACP, (hospital medicine) and Jane Weinreb, MD, FACE (endocrinology).

In addition to the Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching, Dr. Rachel Brook received the Wilbur S. Schwartz MD Prize for Kindness, Compassion, and Humanity. The award honors her extraordinary kindness, compassion and humanity to patients in her delivery of medical service and treatment.

Dr. Brook accepts the Wilbur S. Schwartz MD Prize for Kindness, Compassion, and Humanity.

Joining us in the department of medicine next month is Kevin Qian, MD who was awarded the William N. Valentine Award for Excellence in Internal Medicine. This award recognizes the graduating student who has achieved the highest distinction as a scholar in internal medicine.

Kevin Qian, MD receives the William N. Valentine Award for Excellence in Internal Medicine.

The American College of Physicians Award was presented to Esther Hee-Su Kim, MD. The award recognizes the graduating student entering the field of internal medicine with excellence in scholarship, leadership, teaching and humanistic qualities.

Esther Hee-Su Kim, MD receives the American College of Physicians Award.

Congratulations to this year’s award recipients. You embody the department’s values and commitment to providing the best patient care, education, and driving innovative research.

Let me share an example of how commitment to our department’s values is evident in the work that our residents do each day in our medical center. I recently received the following note about Michael Duan, MD and Hector Filizola, MD from the 4SW nursing and oncology staff:

“I would like to take the time to recognize two of our resident physicians for their outstanding work on 4SW these past few weeks; Dr. Michael Duan and Dr. Hector Filizola. We have had an extremely difficult case on our unit that has required an advanced level of medical treatment, care coordination, and intra-professional communication. Medically this patient was extremely ill, many rapid responses called requiring intermediate level of care on 4SW, with frequent pages, orders, and interventions. Both of these doctors have been outstanding in their communication with the nursing team and charge nurses. They have gone above and beyond to communicate and navigate through a tenuous family dynamic with sometimes multiple goals of care conversations per day. This case required conversations with multiple consulting teams including pulmonary, nephrology, GI, ethics, palliative care, etc. and both physicians never wavered in their ability to keep all teams on the same page. The patient has recently passed and even on her last day Dr. Duan was at the bedside having direct and crucial conversations with a family member that continued to disagree with the plan of care. 

Often the cases on 4SW are nuanced and challenging, however this particular case was especially difficult and at times emotionally draining. Dr. Duan handled it with empathy, grace, and professionalism. 

As a unit, 4SW did not know how recognize these physicians for their extraordinary, patient- centered care, but we hope this email will help you see how much they truly made a difference for our unit and nursing staff.”

Thank you, Drs. Duan and Filizola for the exceptional care that you provide to your patients, their families, and your service to the department of medicine and UCLA Health.

Michael Duan, MD
Hector Filizola, MD

George C. Yen, MD Appointed Chair of LGBTQ+ Fellowship Workgroup at American Medical Association

As LGBTQ+ Pride Month is celebrated this June, let me highlight our faculty who are leading ongoing efforts to advance equity, justice, and inclusion for our LGBTQ+ communities. I am proud to share that George C. Yen, MD, associate clinical professor in medicine, has been appointed as chair of a new LGBTQ+ fellowship workgroup in the American Medical Association Foundation. Under his leadership, the workgroup aims to develop dedicated training to medical professionals so that they can deliver LGBTQ+ competent care and decrease barriers to healthcare for LGBTQ+ patients. Currently, there are only 5 LGBTQ+ fellowship programs in the country. A JAMA report showed that medical schools reported that median time dedicated to LGBTQ+ health is less than 5 hours. In response, this workgroup will convene to develop curriculum and a standard of teaching for LGBTQ+ fellowship programs, increase awareness to a wider scale of learners beyond fellows, and seek to provide sustainability and longevity of LGBTQ+ fellowship programs across the country.

Dr. Yen joins a cohort of leaders in the department of medicine who are at the forefront of advancing LGBTQ+ healthcare. We are proud to celebrate him and the advocates in our ranks who are committed to promoting an inclusive and affirming environment for our patients, colleagues, and community members.

I enjoyed meeting with faculty and staff last week at the first three strategic planning townhalls, which will contribute to informing the strategic plan for the department of medicine. I will be providing a follow-up communication once the final three townhalls conclude this upcoming week. If you have not had the opportunity to attend, I hope you will consider joining us at the upcoming sessions via zoom, in-person in the South Bay, or in-person in Westlake Village. You may RSVP to the townhall by visiting HERE. I hope to see you and hear your thoughts about the next chapter for the DoM.



As I was thinking about graduations I was reminded that this is an never-ending cycle, that begins with the first day of school. Here is my granddaughter heading off to her first day of nursery school, 3-months ago. I may have to take a day off to attend her first graduation when that happens!

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