Evan M. Shannon, MD, MPH Named 40 Under 40 Leader in Minority Health

Join us in applauding Evan M. Shannon, MD, MPH for being named one of the 40 Under 40 Leaders in Minority Health by the National Quality Forum (NMQF). This prestigious recognition highlights Dr. Shannon's remarkable contributions to improving patient health outcomes and fostering healthier communities, particularly for marginalized populations.

Every year, NMQF selects 40 outstanding individuals under the age of 40 who have demonstrated exemplary leadership in addressing health disparities and championing equitable healthcare access. These leaders encompass a diverse range of roles, from clinicians and patient advocates to researchers and policy influencers, all dedicated to advancing healthcare equity.

Dr. Shannon's dedication to this cause shines through his impactful work. His research delves into the intersection of racism, social determinants of health, and healthcare outcomes for racial and ethnic minority populations. He investigates the adverse effects of climate change on vulnerable communities and evaluates interventions aimed at addressing social determinants of health for complex patients, including those experiencing homelessness. He also studies the effect of patient-clinician racial and ethnic concordance on outcomes for patients treated by surgeons and hospitalists.

Furthermore, Dr. Shannon's commitment extends beyond research, as he actively participates in clinical practice, serving as a hospitalist at the Greater Los Angeles VA and contributing to the UCLA Homeless Healthcare Collaborative.

Reflecting on this honor, Dr. Shannon humbly shares,

"I am proud and humbled to be recognized as a NMQF 40 under 40 Leader in Minority Health. I hope to use this recognition to advocate for further research on the disproportionate impact of climate change on racial and ethnic minoritized populations and for policy changes and interventions that bridge these inequities."

Evan M. Shannon, MD, MPH

Join me in celebrating Dr. Shannon's achievements and continue to support his efforts in advancing health equity for all. Congratulations, Evan on this well-deserved recognition!

Ching Zhu, MD, PhD Awarded American Heart Association Career Development Award

Let's extend our heartfelt congratulations to Ching Zhu, MD, PhD, for success in receiving an American Heart Association (AHA) Career Development Award. Dr. Zhu's dedication and passion for advancing cardiac electrophysiology research have been recognized with this prestigious accolade, occurring on the heels of recognition from the ASCI earlier this year.

Currently serving as a clinical cardiac electrophysiology fellow at UCLA, Dr. Zhu enters the next phase of her career with a wealth of expertise, having completed her general cardiology fellowship and a PhD in molecular and cellular physiology through the UCLA STAR Program.

Dr. Zhu's research is focused on understanding the intricate neural control of cardiac arrhythmia susceptibility. Specifically, she is exploring how nerve pattering on the heart muscle influences electrical conduction, a critical aspect often disrupted in heart disease. Her ultimate goal is to understand the mechanisms of nerve patterning that may pave the way for targeted therapies that can prevent or reverse this disruption, offering hope to patients with heart rhythm disorders.

Driven by a deep sense of compassion for her patients, Dr. Zhu finds inspiration in her patients. Witnessing the limitations of current treatments for those who struggle with incessant, lethal arrhythmias has fueled her determination to delve deeper into the biological mechanisms underlying heart rhythm control, with the aim of innovating new therapeutic approaches.

Looking ahead with enthusiasm, Dr. Zhu shares,

"I am an experimentalist at heart, so getting funded to do the experiments I proposed is my main source of excitement over receiving the AHA Career Development Award. I look forward to building my independent research lab and building on what all my mentors taught me."

Ching Zhu, MD, PhD

Dr. Zhu expresses gratitude to her mentors Dr. Kalyanam Shivkumar and Dr. Kristina Bostrom sharing,

“Both are physician-scientists who have had a major influence on my professional development, both in terms of patient care and bench science.”

Join me in applauding Dr. Zhu's remarkable achievement as she embarks on this exciting journey of scientific discovery and innovation. Congratulations, Ching on this well-deserved recognition!

Jeffrey Hsu, MD, PhD Awarded American Heart Association (AHA) Second Century Early Faculty Independence Award

Dr. Hsu has been awarded the prestigious AHA Second Century Early Faculty Independence Award for his groundbreaking project aimed at revolutionizing exercise guidance for patients with heart conditions, such as heart failure. Dr. Hsu's project focuses on developing a wearable biosensor that will transform how we monitor and guide exercise in patients with heart conditions. With the mentorship of Dr. Alex Bui at UCLA and Dr. Wei Gao at Caltech, the team will leverage machine learning techniques to identify high-risk features during exercise. They aim to utilize a customized wearable device to non-invasively monitor biomarkers such as inflammatory cytokines and catecholamines in sweat, led by Dr. Gao's expertise in this field. The team has previously demonstrated the ability of sweat sensors to monitor inflammatory markers in patients with heart failure. This project will contribute to personalized, real-time exercise assessment and improve the management of people with heart failure, ultimately enhancing their quality of life and reducing adverse events.

This project was inspired by Dr. Hsu’s clinical work, managing patients in the UCLA Cardiomyopathy Clinic as well as in the UCLA Sports Cardiology Program. While Dr. Hsu spends a great deal of time counseling patients on exercise, patients with advanced heart failure and cardiomyopathies often have concerns about safe levels of exercise, particularly younger patients.

“I felt we can do better at tailoring these recommendations to the individual patient, and this AHA-funded project will help them do so with innovative technology,” he states.

Jeffrey J. Hsu, MD, PhD

With the AHA award in hand, Dr. Hsu is set to embark on a transformative journey. His next steps involve meticulous analysis of extensive cardiopulmonary exercise datasets and the strategic enrollment of heart failure patients for in-depth exercise response studies. Dr. Hsu adds,

“This project would not be possible without the mentorship of Drs. Bui and Gao, as well as guidance of other faculty in the DoM, including Dr. Chris Cooper, Dr. Tamara Horwich, and Dr. Brett Dolezal, who are collaborators on this study.”

Celebrating DoM Physician Scientists at the ASCI and AAP Annual Meeting

From April 5th to 7th, I had the privilege of attending the joint annual meeting for the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI) and the Association of American Physicians (AAP). Each year, this gathering serves as a platform for leading scientific sessions and fostering discussions on policy and career-related matters pertinent to physician-scientists. Importantly, it's also an occasion to honor the exceptional individuals recently elected to membership in these esteemed research societies. I was delighted to join DoM colleagues in celebrating the election of Roger S. Lo, MD, PhD, to the AAP and John K. Lee, MD, to the ASCI.

L to R: Drs. Roger Lo, E. Dale Abel, Lilian Gelberg, Jeffrey Saver
L to R: Drs. Olujimi Ajijola, John Lee, E. Dale Abel, Ching Zhu, Steven Dubinett

Dr. Lo's groundbreaking contributions to melanoma research have not only revolutionized cancer treatment approaches but have also garnered him international acclaim and recognition. His laboratory's early insights into tumor heterogeneity, genomic instability, and the immune microenvironment's role in clinical responses to melanoma therapies have been pivotal. His election to the AAP reaffirms his steadfast dedication to advancing scientific knowledge and enhancing cancer patient care. Dr. Lo's leadership and commitment serve as a beacon of inspiration for all aspiring physician-scientists, underscoring the transformative impact of collaborative research efforts in addressing medicine's most pressing challenges.

Dr. Lee's induction into the ASCI is a well-deserved recognition of his exceptional contributions to the field of hematology/oncology. His decades-long dedication to scholarship and leadership as a distinguished physician-scientist has propelled significant advancements in medical oncology, cancer genomics, and immunotherapies for genitourinary cancers. Dr. Lee's visionary approach, from deciphering gene interactions to translating basic science discoveries into clinical practice, epitomizes excellence in physician-scientist endeavors, profoundly impacting scientific understanding and patient care.

The strength of our department was prominently displayed at the annual meeting, not only through celebrating the induction of our esteemed colleagues but also by acknowledging the achievements fellow inductees from UCLA Health; Dr. Lillian Gelberg, a professor of family medicine at the medical school and the Fielding School of Public Health, whose focus on community-based research aims to enhance healthy lifestyles, and Dr. Jeffrey Saver, holder of the Carol and James Collins Chair in the department of neurology, who was recognized for his advancements in reducing mortality and disability from stroke through innovative clot-retrieval devices and medical interventions.

L to R: Drs. Roger Lo (2nd from left), Lillian Gelberg (4th from left), E. Dale Abel, Carol Mangione, Jeffrey Saver, Judith Currier with guests.

We also celebrated election to honorary membership in the ASCI of DGSOM Dean Dr. Steven Dubinett, the election of Dr. Olujimi Ajijola as a council member of the ASCI, and the distinctions received by our early-career physician scientists, Drs. Quen Cheng, Elizabeth Volkmann, and Ching Zhu, from the ASCI earlier this year.

Priscilla Hsue, MD
Alexander Nguyen, MD, PhD
L to R: Drs. Alexander Nguyen, Olujimi Ajijola, Kalyanam Shivkumar, Ching Zhu, Priscilla Hsue, E. Dale Abel, John Lee, Tamer Sallam, Steven Dubinett

The meeting was genuinely inspiring, serving as a reminder that the future of medicine shines brightly when investigators from our community are at the forefront of scientific innovation. In line with this spirit, I extend an invitation to you all to join us for the upcoming "Early Career Physician Scientist Grand Rounds," where we'll delve into the latest research spearheaded by the next generation of exceptional physician-scientists. Save the date!



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