Year 2. December 4. Fellowship Match Results Confirms that UCLA DoM is Among the Best in the Country.

Within the Department of Medicine (DoM) at UCLA, trainees are the heartbeat of our community. The medical students, residents, fellows, and postdocs who make up our DoM family contribute their time and energy to improve the lives of patients and create new knowledge, while developing skills that will equip them to work independently in their chosen areas of specialization. In return, it is our responsibility to invest heavily in our trainees, and support them with the resources they need to thrive as physicians, scientists and educators. This responsibility is at the core of our education mission, which represents one of the four key pillars of our newly minted strategic plan. The goal of this pillar is to "develop leaders who will drive the future of medicine and health sciences."

Last week, we were privileged to learn how we will continue to contribute to that mission in a significant way when we found out who will be the 104 new subspecialty fellows to join the DoM in July of next year. Last Wednesday (November 29) was Fellowship Match Day, an annual ritual, where thousands of residents learn where they will go next to continue their training. With over 100 subspecialty medicine fellows matching at UCLA, every position in each of our DoM fellowship programs was filled. This metric isn't just exciting, it's EXCEPTIONAL. Nationally, there are specialties that struggle to fill their positions, while others are oversubscribed; as illustrated below, in the graphic adapted from data released by the National Resident Matching Program's (NMRP), summarizing the results of the 2023 Medicine and Pediatric Specialties Match.

As you can see, certain subspecialities such as pulmonary, cardiology, gastroenterology and hematology-oncology are very competitive, filling most of their slots nationally, meaning that many applicants unfortunately, will not match into these programs. In contrast, nationally, programs such as nephrology, infectious diseases, and geriatric medicine, offer more positions than applicants who are choosing to enter these training programs, as such in many institutions these positions go unfilled. The remarkable news for us at UCLA is that we filled every position in all subspecialty training programs. Our success on this front speaks volumes to the quality, reputation, and rigor of our programs, in that trainees across the country are choosing to come to UCLA to train because of the high-quality educational experience that they will receive here. Moreover, for the most competitive fellowships, you will see that our own residents all secured positions in these fellowship programs, a strong indicator of the quality of our residents and the stellar reputation of our residency training program.  

To this end, we couldn't be more fortunate that many of the brightest minds in medicine, who came to us as residents, chose to continue their medical journeys at UCLA. I am delighted that many of our new fellows are staying in house as they transition from Bruin residents to Bruin subspecialty fellows, as much as I am thrilled that new fellows will also be making their way to Westwood from across the country.

So, please join me in celebrating and welcoming our new class of exceptional subspecialty fellows!

In total, 104 fellows are confirmed in our fellowship programs, representing 17 states, Washington DC, and Canada. Twenty-one members of the incoming class have advanced degrees, in addition to their MD. Learn more about this cohort, and check out the "welcome bag" of the essential items that the fellowship program directors and I put together for the incoming fellows:

I don't know about you, but I might need some of these items myself.

The national fellowship match program attempts to manage differences in supply and demand across subspecialties. What this has revealed are distortions in what residents want to do, versus the opportunities available to them. Thus it is very stressful for program leaders on both sides. Those programs that nationally are undersubscribed, must compete fiercely to attract candidates to fill their slots. Conversely, the competition among applicants to get into certain specialties, where the number of applicants exceeds the number of positions is incredibly intense and program directors struggle with large numbers of applications and the challenge to determine how to allocate their positions when submitting their rank lists. Consider that for some of the most competitive fellowship programs more than 1/3 of applicants unfortunately do not match. The numbers of applicants to our fellowship programs year over year continue to increase, representing increased stress and burden on applicants and also on programs who must review these applications and determine who to rank.

So, how did we do at UCLA?

In short – OUR RESIDENTS NAILED IT. EVERY SINGLE UCLA RESIDENT MATCHED!! 40 of our senior internal medicine residents participated in the subspecialty match this year and each one of them matched in their top choices. Impressively, 57% of our residents chose and matched into the most competitive subspecialties of gastroenterology, pulmonary and critical care medicine, hematology-oncology, and cardiovascular disease. It is gratifying that 65% of these residents are staying at UCLA. We recruit the best and we keep the best.

Program directors across the country have made it clear to us, that UCLA residents are some of the highest quality and most sought-after trainees in the country. This fellowship match day is yet another significant indicator proving that this is indeed the case, particularly in what might have been the most competitive year.

However, as we celebrate our successes, I believe that there needs to be a broader national conversation around the process of aligning opportunity for training with the needs of our community and society.

We managed to speak with some of our residents about their journey in medicine and what Match Day meant to them. This is a work in progress, but I wanted to share some stories that we received thus far.


The moment that Dr. Chris Soriano found out that he matched at UC Irvine for a subspecialty fellowship in gastrointerology, his parents immediately came to mind as he celebrated with his wife and brother. He was returning to train close to the community where he grew up. As immigrants to California from El Salvador, Dr. Soriano's parents took on immense risk to pursue a better life for their children. Growing up, he shares that he learned perseverance from them and the rest of his Salvadoran family while growing up in Long Beach. Through them, however, he also learned of the significant gaps in America's healthcare system, and how preventable diseases can rapidly become severe if untreated.

"My favorite uncle passed away from cirrhosis of the liver due to drug abuse and alcohol; he had everything go wrong with him that could happen, and I held on to that. Also, growing up, my parents were uninsured, we'd go to clinics for primary care and I realized that there aren't many people from my background who take a medical path."

Chris committed himself to being that change, but it didn't happen overnight. His journey began at Long Beach Community College. During his time there he joined the group "Médicos, Enfermeros y Dentistas Para El Pueblo (MEDPEP)," a medical preparation and education pipeline for members of the LA Latino community. Not long after, he found out he was accepted to transfer to UCLA, where he would go on to complete his residency training years later.

He shares that receiving his fellowship match notification was like being a young adult opening his transfer acceptance letter all over again. This time, however, he says there weren't any tears left.

"Now I feel like I deserve to be here, that there is nothing left to prove. The culmination of all my efforts and my parents' sacrifice just all came together in one moment at 9 am."

He goes on to express his immense gratitude to UCLA for accepting him into residency, as well as gratitude to each mentor, attending, and education expert who helped him, especially Dr. Skinner. He is now the one helping other youth like him, and is even speaking as a keynote at a MEDPEP event coming up.

"I saw a Latino physician, and I believed I could become a Latino physician," he shares. "Now I will make sure that more physicians that look and sound like me come after me."

Jonathan Boiarsky, MD


Dr. Jonathan Boiarsky opened his fellowship subspecialty decision with his nine-month-old daughter on his right hip. When he found out he matched into the hematology and oncology program at UCLA, he shares that he was flooded with pure joy and happiness (and did not drop the baby!).

"Our home is in LA, our daughter is young, and we live five minutes from much of my wife's family."

Though Jonathan grew up in New Jersey, he has made a home in LA, and shares that match day was one of joy as he celebrated getting to stay in LA through at least 2027 with his wife and baby, who he is looking forward to continuing to raise here.

Of course, it's about far more than just location for him. Having grown up with a mother, an infectious disease doctor by training, Dr. Boiarsky was raised around medicine, and knew from an early age that he wanted to be a doctor. What began as an early notion of what he wanted to do, however, turned into fervent commitment as he realized that he could have a job in which he could help people every day and push science forward. The journey was not straightforward. First, he was interested in pediatrics, then pediatric oncology, and then general hematology and oncology as he realized the difference he could make in addressing one of the most pressing challenges in healthcare that is only growing.

This decision was bolstered by his first research experience as an undergraduate studying cancer cells, where he was able to see some of the first clinical trial data for Keytruda. He was fascinated by the notion that we could use our own immune systems to fight cancer. He was also fascinated by its efficacy for some over others. What started as a strong interest in hematology and oncology research was quickly supplemented by the enjoyment he got out of working on oncology, in the patient setting in medical school.

"Oncology patients have similar relationships with oncologists as they do with their PCPs. It's not just a one-off, you have these years-long to decades-long relationships."

Now, after nearly a decade of his education journey to fellowship match day, he's looking forward to combining research and practice in the fight against cancer, which he notes continues to be one of the leading causes of death in the US.

"I'm just so excited to continue to build my career at UCLA. This was my top choice for a fellowship program, and that's because of the culture of how medicine is practiced at UCLA."


Kinan Bachour, MD

Dr. Kinan Bachour could not be more thrilled to have matched with UCLA for his cardiology subspecialty fellowship.

"I'm a Bruin deep in my heart," he shares.

Having been raised in Syria and across the Middle East until he was 18, Dr. Bachour shares that UCLA is the first place he came to in the US, and that his first home here was the dorms of UCLA. Now, he shares that he is on cloud nine, thriving on dopamine, with the knowledge that he gets to remain at his home base.

"It was a huge sigh of a relief finding out that I would get to stay. It was like a mountain was moved from my shoulders."

Though Dr. Bachour's father was a dermatologist, and he was always interested in science while in school, his first true catalyst to pursue medicine came at the start of the Arab Spring. Watching the Middle East ignite into riots put the role of society and its individuals into perspective.

"In any functioning society, everyone takes their little slice to work on," he shares. "I realized, with health systems failing around me, that my slice is medicine, which allows me to practice the science that I enjoy while also helping fellow human beings."

However, he knew that pursuing this path in the region he was born and raised would be challenging, sharing that "the Middle East was on fire, and you never knew which country would be hit next." As a result, and motivated by his parents who emphasized the importance of education, he made the move to the US to attend college at UCLA. Once there, he shares that medicine became his north star. Unlike most medical students, however, there wouldn't be much flexibility on this path because of his international visa, which precluded him from opportunities such as gap years and even financial aid.

Also differentiating Dr. Bachour from other students is that he has continued to travel back home to Syria throughout his schooling. Doing so allowed him to remain connected to his home; it also allowed him to learn more about the brokenness of the health system, which prompted him to pursue an MBA alongside his MD. Now, he wants to build his expertise as a cardiologist to help fix health systems in his home country and region. One idea he has is to improve the availability of heart transplantation in the Middle East. But for now, he's feeling grateful for where he is.

"I love UCLA, and my wife is a resident here too, so It feels like the stars aligned. Sometimes life happens the way it happens, and I can't help but feel this accomplishment was 10% of me putting in hard work, and 90% luck and being surrounded by great people and mentors.”


I am also pleased to highlight the incoming cohort of aspiring physician scientists who will be joining the DoM through fellowships in the STAR Program. A total of 10 fellows matched into the program which will provide them with the mentoring and support to pursue a clinician scientist track. Six of the trainees join us from prestigious programs from across the country, and four underwent rigorous training through the DoM at UCLA. I look forward to watching them flourish on their journey towards becoming independent physician investigators.

I couldn't be prouder of each of our residents, and our entire class of incoming fellows. Please know that UCLA DoM will always be your family, and will continue to walk alongside you as you move forward with each step of your medical careers.

I couldn't be prouder of each of our residents, and our entire class of incoming fellows. Please know that UCLA DoM will always be your family, and will continue to walk alongside you as you move forward with each step of your medical careers.

Our faculty and trainees continue to be featured in the news, and from time to time I will share some highlights.


The 35th anniversary of World AIDS Day was this past Friday, December 1st. The UCLA DoM has a long history in the fight against HIV. For #WorldAIDSDay2023, we reflected on that legacy and our commitment to developing the next generation of experts at UCLA and beyond in this UCLA Health News highlight.

World AIDS Day 2023: Honoring the early generations of HIV/AIDS researchers and preparing the next

Jesse Clark, MD didn't end up researching the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) by accident. He became a doctor because of HIV. Growing up in the '80s and '90s as a gay man, he was part of a community under attack by the virus, and by a social stigma that came with it.


Dr. John Mafi speaks with CBS News Health Watch about how complicated it can be to reduce unnecessary medical care.

Why it's so tough to reduce unnecessary medical care

The U.S. spends huge amounts of money on health care that does little or nothing to help patients, and may even harm them.


Incoming hematology-oncology STAR fellow and soon to be graduating resident Dr. Gracie Himmelstein and Dr. Patricia Ganz analyzed the challenges that minority patients in LA have in accessing comprehensive cancer care across LA county. This article is based on a recent publication co-authored by Dr. Himmelstein and Ganz in the journal JAMA Oncology.

Hospitals serving large Black, Latino populations have fewer resources for cancer care

Among the nation's hospitals, those that serve high numbers of Black and Hispanic patients are far less likely to have advanced medical equipment and critical services that have been shown to boost the quality and effectiveness of cancer care.

Next week, I look forward to sharing with you a sneak peek at the brochure for our strategic plan, where commitments across all missions such as those outlined in this newsletter on education, are captured in detail. Our goal is for this brochure to be shared widely and I want you all to be the first ones to view it.



As I was writing this, I received news that confirms why everyone wants to come and train here.

In one word JEOPARDY.

Our cardiology fellowship program were champions in the American College of Cardiology (ACC) Fellow in Training (FIT) Jeopardy Competition. Team members were:

Liz Hutchins (chief fellow, STAR fellow), Adrian Castillo (chief fellow) and David Madnick (1st year fellow)

By the end of regular Jeopardy the scores were:

  • UCLA: $1600
  • UCR: $200
  • Loma Linda: $600
  • Cedars Sinai: $300
  • Naval: -$400

So they had it won even before the final Jeopardy question which they also got correct. They now advance to the national competition at ACC 2024 in Atlanta! UCLA has won the CA Jeopardy competition more times than any other team!

Here are pictures or our champions courtesy of Dr. Eric Yang and Dr. Karol Watson.

L-R: David, Adrian, Liz.
L-R: Adrian, Liz, David.

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