Year 3. April 1. DMPG Retreat Week Highlights Many Attributes that Contribute to Our Department’s Strengths.

Last weekend, we welcomed nearly 400 guests to the UCLA Luskin Center on Saturday, March 23 for the Department of Medicine Professional Group (DMPG) Annual Retreat. Despite the heavy rain, DMPG faculty from San Luis Obispo to Laguna Hills gathered at UCLA for a day of collaboration and learning, driven by the goal of advancing the exceptional patient care that we are recognized for. The day included 32 workshops in addition to division and section meetings with topics that ranged from basic life support to learning high-yield strategies that improve outpatient clinical efficiency. Each session was designed to provide our faculty with helpful information and resources to enhance their clinical practice and well-being.

Let me share with you a few of the highlights from the day, which included my presentation to the faculty that was framed through the lens of our strategic plan implementation. Additionally, I highlight some of the faculty sessions that took place and extend my gratitude to the DMPG leadership and planning committee for organizing an outstanding retreat, and to faculty members who served as facilitators for the various sessions. I also want to thank the many members of the department of medicine (DoM) administrative team, who worked behind the scenes to ensure that the day’s events were such a success.

Highlights of my Chair Presentation

The UCLA Department of Medicine currently is made up of over 1,800 faculty and continues to grow. We welcomed 149 new faculty members in FY23 which included several key leaders in our department’s administration. They include Dermatology Chief Dr. April Armstrong, Section Chiefs at the VA Greater Los Angeles Health Care Dr. Connie Rhee (Nephrology) and Dr. Chris Moriates (Hospital Medicine). We look forward to welcoming Dr. Priscilla Hsue who will assume the role of chief of the UCLA Division of Cardiology in July 2024.

Faculty Salary Equity Steering Committee

I shared with the faculty that the DGSOM has launched a faculty salary equity taskforce to ensure that as a school we are following best practice philosophies, principles, and transparency regarding how faculty salaries are determined. I co-chair this taskforce with Dr. Sarah Dry, chair of the UCLA Department of Pathology. Details of the task force’s goals and expected deliverables can be found HERE. I believe that the DoM is already a leader in approaches for faculty compensation and we are eager to see the results of the taskforce, which may identify ways for us to improve our salary setting process and methodology, to ensure salary equity.

Strategic Plan Implementation

I also shared that strategic plan implementation is well underway. Our implementation leadership teams have established the initial priorities that they will be working on as we realize our mission to lead in innovation, transform care, and advance health for all.

Strategic Plan: Patient Care

Our department already has an international reputation for the exceptional patient care that our faculty and trainees provide. This is exemplified by the most recent US News & World Report rankings showing that eight DoM specialties are within the top 20 (7 in the top 10), in this country or are considered high performing.

We continue to build on these successes by strengthening clinical infrastructure and operational efficiencies that support our goal to provide the highest quality patient centered, innovative, integrated health care for all. The Patient Care Implementation Team has planned the following:

I believe these objectives will further establish efficient and innovative care pathways that will advance the quality of our patient’s experience and improve faculty morale. I shared active plans for growing our ambulatory clinics in Santa Barbara County, Long Beach, and Inglewood and the impact that the UCLA West Valley Hospital, will have in providing inpatient services for our patients living in the San Fernando valley.

Strategic Plan: Wellness

I highlighted the work of our outstanding Wellness Committee, under the leadership of Chief Wellness Officer Dr. Sun Yoo, and summarized key initiatives and policies that have been implemented in the DoM to support our faculty’s success at UCLA. Examples of clinical wellness intiatives include:

Several of these policies were introduced because of your feedback from the DoM Wellness Surveys! We are currently conducting the 2024 Wellness Survey the results of which will continue to guide our wellness efforts moving forward. We want to exceed last year’s response rate of 73%! If you have not participated, I encourage you to do so as soon as possible! A reminder email will be sent this week.

Strategic Plan: Research

Earlier this year, we received the news that we are the #2 NIH-funded department of medicine in the country. While it was gratifying to see our continued success in research, we recognize that concerted action is needed to sustain this trajectory. I believe that the focus of the Research Implementation Team, is pointing us in that direction. In an initial step to accelerate our growth and impact of our research discoveries, the implementation team will focus on strengthening the research infrastructure and raising the research portfolio of the DoM both internally and externally. They have several initiatives in development, and I invite you to learn what those are below:

Strategic Plan: Education

We recently celebrated residency match day having achieved an incredibly diverse class of incoming residents with 32 identifying as underrepresented in medicine and 63% are women. As we work to develop leaders that will drive the future of medicine, the education implementation team is initially focusing on: training leaders who provide holistic, patient-centered care and drive scientific discovery to create a better future for our community; developing and recognizing outstanding faculty educators, and creating a culture of learning that encourages every member of the DoM (which includes our professional staff) to reach their full potential. They have several exciting initiatives planned that include the following:

Strategic Plan: Community Engagement & Investment

As a public university, it is our goal to advance health and improve outcomes for our diverse communities. Over the upcoming months, our Community Engagement and Investment Implementation leaders will be leading work focused on increasing access to care and health resources for historically and contemporarily under-resourced communities, strengthening engagement and collaboration with organizations caring for historically and contemporarily under-resourced communities and providing high-quality health equity training to all in the DoM. We have seen notable progress in these areas with our growing FQHC and safety net partnerships and are exploring the following opportunities:

We are also excited to have introduced a Lunch & Learn series for DoM staff which include biweekly 1-hour sessions over lunch to learn about interests, and perspectives on health equity, diversity and inclusion.

I was not the only person delivering a presentation that day! Our stellar faculty leaders led 32 workshops. I invite you to learn a little bit about each one below:

Faculty Led Sessions at DMPG Annual Retreat

Research for Clinicians in the Department of Medicine: Accessing Key Resources, Practical How-To Advice, Finding Trainees, and More!

Led by Judith Currier, MD, Carol Mangione, MD, Behi Rabbani, MD, Dianne Cheung, MD, MPH

In our mission to introduce clinical innovations and practice improvement, we recognize that researchers and clinicians must unite to drive transformative patient care. We are renown for our ability to collaborate and design new interventions and evidence-based strategies that improve our practices. However, trying to serve as both a researcher and clinician has many challenges. During this session, program leads shared how we can break down silos that hinder clinical research and improve the ability of our clinicians and scientists to enhance clinical research activity. Tactics include efforts to identify targeted multidisciplinary areas, strengthen access to mentors, and expand clinical trials program. We discussed other initiatives that are in development such as a department wide research portal which houses the latest research taking place in the department to allow all faculty to identify researchers with shared interests. We also discussed how our faculty can partner with programs such as UCLA DoM Statistics Core who play a critical role in supporting much of the groundbreaking work taking place across our department. Overall, we are optimistic that we will advance of our clinical research mission, which will undoubtedly enhance not only the care of our patients, but patients worldwide. Moreover, these activities will support our commitment to advance quality, evidence-based and value-based care.

Behi Rabbani, MD

Fluency Direct: Intermediate and Advanced Techniques

Led by Behi Rabbani, MD and Ravi Dave, MD

At the 2024 DMPG Annual Retreat, the Fluency Direct session took participants on an in-depth exploration of tailored tips and tricks designed for intermediate to advanced users of real-time dictation. Our primary objective was to provide physicians already familiar with Fluency Direct with the necessary skills to elevate their efficiency in daily tasks, while minimizing unnecessary "clicks" throughout their day. We explored features including real-time error correction, innovative applications of Speechbox, utilization of spoken key commands, and mastering the art of dictating dot phrases. The dynamic discussion touched on a broad range of concerns and technical intricacies of using real-time dictation in practical settings. Ultimately, this session served as a pivotal resource for physicians aiming to enhance their proficiency in utilizing Fluency Direct. Our collective goal was to positively impact practices by improving time management, facilitate patient communication, and foster increased patient satisfaction.

Education: Mentorship of Students and Trainees: Opportunities and Skill Building Workshop

Led by Rachel P. Brook, MD

As a department, we are committed to developing leaders who will drive the future of medicine and health sciences. We are committed to creating a culture of learning that encourages all DoM faculty, staff, and trainees reach their full potential. A key facet that supports these commitments is mentorship and ensuring that our faculty are prepared and confident in their ability to serve as mentors. Dr. Rachel Brook, a master educator, discussed the types of advising that we can provide to medical students and trainees in their journeys to becoming physicians or physician scientists. We reviewed mentorship opportunities, best practices for being a mentor/mentee, and core positive psychology professional development coaching skills to help with mentorship meetings. Utilizing the “GROW” Coaching Exercise, participants received sage guidance on how to help their mentees reach their goals. I encourage you to keep it top of mind as you navigate mentorship conversations with your medical students and trainees in the department.


  • Goal: What would this look like if it went exactly how you wanted?
  • Reality: What do things look like now?
  • Options: Where could you go from here? What else could you do?
  • Way Forward: Based on these options, what makes the most sense for you?
Rachel P. Brook, MD

“High Yield Strategies to Improve Outpatient Clinical Efficiency: Lessons from the DoM Coaching Program”

Led by Jennifer Chew, MD and Anne Climaco, MD

During this session, we analyzed participants’ Signal data by reviewing Epic utilization to determine efficiency patterns. Common areas of efficiency concerns included InBasket management, orders, and note writing. One of the key takeaways from this session included quick action optimization for various parts of the InBasket including result management, prescription refill requests, secure patient message and patient calls. We also explored preference list optimization for both primary care and specialists, as well as customizing order panels and associating a diagnosis with order panels. Lastly, we reviewed several note writing efficiency tips, including billing guideline refreshers, smart phrases to pull in recent imaging reports, and speed buttons.

This is a small sample of the valuable sessions hosted during the week leading up to the annual retreat. I encourage you to visit the DMPG Retreat Website for access to PowerPoint presentations and recordings from the week. The page will continue to be updated in the coming days.

Alan Fogelman, MD Presented the Jan H. Tillisch Lectureship

During his tenure at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Dr. Jan Tillisch was instrumental in educating countless medical students, residents, and fellows. In his over 40 years at UCLA, Dr. Tillisch impressed upon faculty and house staff the importance of putting the patients' needs first. Dr. Tillisch was the quintessential internist - a master clinician (cardiologist), educator, and an inspiration to generations of trainees. After his retirement, the Dr. Jan Tillisch Grand Rounds Lectureship was established in his name in 2018.

This week’s grand rounds hosted our esteemed colleague and former Chair of Medicine Dr. Alan Fogelman who was awarded the 2024 Jan H. Tillisch Lectureship. Dr. Fogelman presented a riveting lecture titled “Will America Choose Chaotic Medical Care or Coordinated Medical Care?” He provided a detailed history of the evolution our department over the past 30-years and the way in which we transitioned from a small “boutique” department to one which is now fully committed to providing comprehensive care across the specialty spectrum that is anchored in a robust community based primary care network.  Dr. Fogelman discussed the inherent risk in the “consumerization” of primary care and urged us not to lose focus on developing patient-centric strategies that were equitable and grounded in the commitment to providing high-quality and high value care for all members of our community.  

Thank you, Alan for your leadership during this journey. It was a fitting tribute to your vision and that of Dr. Tillisch's service, that you were honored with the Jan H. Tillisch Lectureship in recognition of your commitment to exceptional and coordinated clinical care. View the lecture below.

Celebrating Cesar Chavez Day

Cesar Chavez, recognized as both a labor leader and civil rights activist, co-founded the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA) with Dolores Huerta, later evolving into the United Farm Workers (UFW) labor union. After the Chavez family lost their farm during the Great Depression, they became migrant workers, exposing Cesar firsthand to the mistreatment endured by migrant laborers and inspiring him to initiate the farmworkers union. Chavez dedicated his life's work to improving conditions for the legions of farmworkers who sustained American households with fresh produce, often enduring hunger and toiling in deplorable conditions for inadequate wages. Music and the arts played pivotal roles in the movement's success. In the 1960s and 70s, Chavez and farmworker activists collaborated with musicians and artists in an alliance known as “La causa.”

Chavez's motto, "Si se puede!" ("Yes, it can be done!"), embodies the enduring legacy he left worldwide. Following his death, countless communities honored him by naming schools, parks, streets, libraries, and other public facilities, alongside establishing awards and scholarships in his honor. March 31st, his birthday, is celebrated as an official holiday in ten states. In 1994, President Clinton posthumously awarded Chavez the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, and in 2011, the U.S. Navy named a ship after him. 

Chavez, a visionary leader who dedicated his life to advancing the rights and working conditions of agricultural workers in the United States. 

In addition to the Chavez Day holiday, many members of our community have celebrated or observed key religious observances during this past week.

Cesar Chavez

I hope that for those who celebrated Easter, observed the Holi holiday last week, and continue to observe Ramadan, that these times of reflection and celebration have been meaningful times for your families and loved ones.



In response to last week’s and other posts celebrating the many contributions of women to our department, Dr. Patricia Ganz, shared with me a photograph of her medical school class, which underscores how far we have come since then. Dr. Ganz noted that when she started at UCLA in 1969, there were only 3 women in her class! When she became a resident, there were just 2 women in her residency class. Thanks for sharing this with me Patti. We have come a far way in the past 50-years, but the journey is not yet finished.

If you recognize Dr. Ganz or anyone else in this picture, let me know!

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