Year 2. August 7. Red Carpet.

The past week has once again underscored that faculty, trainees, and staff in the DoM are among the best in the world.

2023 US News and World Report Rankings

Each day, the faculty, trainees, and staff of the department of medicine (DoM) report to duty to provide exceptional and compassionate care to our patients, lead cutting-edge research, and train the next generation of leaders in medicine. Members of the DoM are committed to providing the highest quality service to those in need regardless of social standing, while ensuring that our department and UCLA Health is a welcoming environment where everyone feels valued and respected. It is gratifying to see that hard work garnering national attention, when clinical services provided by DoM faculty are nationally ranked in the 2023 U.S. News and World Report Best Hospitals report.

UCLA Medical Center was nationally ranked in 14 adult specialties and rated high performing in 20 adult procedures and conditions. Rankings are based on a variety of metrics that seek to capture patient outcomes, processes of care, resources for complex specialty care, and an annual expert-opinion survey of specialty physicians. Of the 14 adult specialties evaluated, eight specialties involving the DoM were nationally ranked, with the majority in the top 10, and for one specialty that is not subject to ranking, we were identified as high performing. The specialties are:

Achieving this national distinction would not be possible without the daily commitment of our faculty, trainees, and staff to healing our patients, and advancing the missions of the DoM and UCLA Health. Our faculty, trainees, and staff are among the best in the field. You lead by example on how to provide high-quality, compassionate care while also serving as leaders in medicine. I am inspired by and grateful to each member of our community who has contributed towards helping our department earn this distinction. I hope that you have an opportunity to celebrate your important role in our department and how you are making a difference every day. Thank you!

DoM Trainees Honored with Teaching Awards from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

Ten years ago, the Student Medical Council at the David Geffen School of Medicine created the Excellence in Teaching with Humanism, Residents and Fellows Award to recognize trainees who model exemplary behaviors to the entire health care team and are compassionate and effective mentors to medical students. Award honorees are recognized for their achievements in fostering a safe learning environment, investing in medical student learning and well-being, and empowering student doctors on the wards. There are over 1500 trainees at UCLA, and each year 20 are selected for this distinction.

This year, ten of the awards were bestowed upon residents in the DoM, in programs that include UCLA-IM, Med-Peds, and UCLA Olive View Medical Center! Our trainees are role models whose commitment to education is helping prepare the next generation of physicians. Meet the ten DoM residents awarded the 2023 Excellence in Teaching with Humanism Award!

Let me also highlight two additional trainees who received a Commendation for Excellence in Medical Student Teaching at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. I am pleased to celebrate Andrew Hong, MD who was recognized for his teaching, leadership and patient centered care, and Dahlia Fateen, MD who was recognized for her teaching, empathy and leadership.

Below are a few words that were used to describe Dr. Hong and Dr. Fateen’s commitment to teaching and leadership.

Andrew Hong, MD:

“No matter what level of training one might be, Dr. Hong takes time out of his busy schedule to enhance student learning. He will review with students high-yield topics to know and will apply it to the patients we are seeing. He challenges students to broaden their differential and will never look down on a student for being wrong. He encourages students to work out of their comfort zone and engage with patients in difficult conversations.

Dr. Hong has gone above and beyond what it means to not only be an amazing physician, but a dedicated individual at the forefront of teaching. Dr. Hong has inspired me to pursue a career in internal medicine and persist during difficult moments.”

Dahlia Fateen, MD:

“Out of all of the residents I have worked with, Dr. Fateen goes above and beyond in supporting student learning. Dr. Fateen was the only resident that took the time to work on my H/P for every new patient we saw together. Line by line, Dr. Fateen would discuss each problem on a patient’s list and ensure I was prepared before presenting to the attending. After presenting a patient, Dr. Fateen would provide feedback and will review again the to-do’s. She would review my notes, pages, and provide feedback. I saw the most progression in note writing and problem listing while working with Dr. Fateen. I was always excited to have patients with Dr. Fateen because no matter how hectic a day may be, she ensured that I was prepared. In every patient we saw together, we were able to discuss high-yield topics, one being multiple myeloma (MM). Not knowing much about the topic initially, Dr. Fateen taught me so much and I was able to apply my knowledge about MM on practice exams and a new patient after she left the service.

It has been a privilege to work with Dr. Fateen during my internal medicine clerkship and I cannot thank her enough for the impact she has made in my career.”

To all my colleagues in training, thanks for inspiring us!

Carlos Oronce, MD, MPH, PhD Awarded the 2023 Carolbeth Korn Scholar Award from the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health

Next, I am pleased to celebrate Carlos Oronce, MD, MPH, PhD who was awarded the Carolbeth Korn Scholar Award from the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, which recognizes outstanding graduate students. Over the past year, we have seen Dr. Oronce’s focus on health equity, policy, and population health garner local and national recognition for his contributions to research. He completed his PhD program in the department of health policy and management this year with a doctoral dissertation titled, "Understanding the contributions and relationships of healthcare systems to population health, value, and equity." We are proud to celebrate him and agree with the Fielding School of Public Health that Dr. Oronce has “exemplified excellence throughout his academic journey, embodying the spirit of enriching lives through his commitment to public health.” Congratulations Carlos! Very pleased that you have joined us on the faculty.

Dr. Carlos Oronce presented with the 2023 Carolbeth Korn Scholar Award.

Clinical trials represent an important tool for determining safety and efficacy of new treatments. But for maximal impact, design of clinical trials should include an equity lens to ensure that results of these trials can be broadly applicable to the diverse community that we serve.  I was therefore pleased to learn of a landmark publication published online in the journal Nature, by colleagues in in hematology and oncology and the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center that identifies challenges in increasing the participation of individuals from under-represented communities in clinical trials and steps that could be taken to increase their participation in these important studies.

Maria A. Velez, MDAmy Cummings, MD, PhD,Edward B. Garon, MD, MSet al. Publish “Consent document translation expense hinders inclusive clinical trial enrollment” in Nature

Diversifying clinical trials is essential as we seek to gain a better understanding of the prevention and treatment of illness. According to the latest research from DoM fellow Maria Velez, MD, and Professor of Medicine Edward Garon, MD, MS, cancer research centers conducting clinical trials may be able to increase the participation of patients from underrepresented backgrounds by relieving clinical trial investigators from the costs associated with translating consent documents. Approximately 70% of cancer studies are supported by pharmaceutical companies which cover the cost of translating documents to a language other than English. Studies that are not funded by pharmaceutical companies often receive funding from philanthropic or governmental organizations which may not be able to provide support for these costs. Researchers theorized that lack of funding for consent document translation may discourage clinical trial researchers from recruiting participants from underrepresented backgrounds who may require this service. After evaluating over 12,000 consent events led by the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, researchers found that consent events for studies not funded by pharmaceutical companies, enrollment of patients with limited English proficiency was approximately half of that seen in industry sponsored events. Researchers also found that when patients with limited English proficiency signed consent documents, the proportion of consent documents translated into the patient’s primary language in studies without pharmaceutical support was almost half of what was seen in pharmaceutical sponsored studies.

Dr. Velez shared:

“Results suggest that the cost of consent document translation in trials not sponsored by industry could be a potentially modifiable barrier to the inclusion of patients with limited English proficiency.”

Dr. Garon adds:

“We identified a readily addressable weakness in the clinical trial process, and we believe that overcoming this barrier, as we have begun to do, will ensure better representation of trial participants from traditionally underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, enabling researchers to provide more comprehensive, ‘generalizable’ study results.”

This study encourages our colleagues to explore how we can remove barriers to enrolling diverse communities in clinical trials. With this information, Dr Garon and Dr. Velez’s team have begun engaging stakeholders at the national level to encourage inclusive clinical trial enrollment across the country.

Each week, DoM faculty are invited to speak with local and national media about many of the most pressing medical and public health challenges faced around the world. I am pleased to highlight some of these interviews in our new “In the News Section.” Check back each week and hear how our faculty are raising awareness about their research to our local and national community and the significant impact of these efforts in society and the world.

Jane C. Fazio MD, from the division of pulmonology, speaks with NBC News about her recently published research study examining the rise of a life-threatening lung disease in workers who fabricate quartz countertops. 

Quartz countertops linked to deadly lung disease in workers who fabricate them

As demand for quartz countertops has soared, more workers may be exposed to silica dust, which causes irreversible lung damage, a new study shows.

Chelsea Shover, PhD, from the division of general internal medicine, discusses the pilot program "Drug Checking in LA" with the Los Angeles Times.

What's in illegal drugs? A UCLA team takes testing to the streets to find out

The UCLA study is bringing a sophisticated machine traditionally used in laboratories to the streets, road testing a public health strategy that has gained more urgent attention as deadly overdoses have surged.

Well done everybody!



I hope that many of you have had a chance to take some time off with your families this summer. I have been asked if I have gotten into Southern California beach life. It is a work in progress, in part because the picture below, taken from my brother’s condo in Jamaica, will give you a sense of what I was used to growing up.

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