Year 3. May 6. Our Leadership in Medical Education

This year, the National Residency Matching Program experienced the largest residency match in its history. For internal medicine, the increase was driven in part by growth in the number of applicants from international medical schools and from applicants with Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degrees. Closer to home, for graduates of the David Geffen School of Medicine, 30% matched into primary care specialties, that include internal medicine.

This year, as in prior years, our department came together under the leadership of Residency Program Director Dr. Lisa Skinner to recruit the best and brightest to the UCLA Department of Medicine (DoM). The Residency Match is a pipeline for faculty positions at UCLA as many of our residents decide to call California home at the conclusion of their training program. We had a phenomenal match this year with a diverse class of incoming residents that includes 81 aspiring physicians, 63% women, and 32% identifying as underrepresented in medicine (URiM).

I am thrilled to share that this is the most diverse class that we have ever recruited! I believe this is the result of our commitment to a process of holistic review. In 2023,  we matched 23% of the pool of applicants in our submitted rank list, who are URiM, into our program. This year, we successfully recruited 34% of the ranked-to-match URiM applicants. The remaining candidates matched in other outstanding programs across the country. Importantly though, the % of applicants that we “lost” to other programs fell substantially.  

I wish to thank all the faculty who led our recruitment efforts, including our recruitment chief residents. I want to give a shout-out to one of our chief residents, Tara Townes, who led a highly effective virtual program, for interested URiM applicants.

Our post-match surveys show that applicants are overall pleased with their recruitment experience and the majority chose UCLA for that reason. However, we still have work to do to ensure that we attract all the candidates that we want to join us at UCLA. Applicants shared feedback such as not being matched to faculty with similar subspecialty interests, felt our videos and virtual tours did not share a modern UCLA story, and 61% expressed that they wish an on-campus visit could have been accommodated. So, we have some work to do as we refine our recruitment strategies for the next match!

As we move forward, we will be working on improving our communication around the 4+1 program system, ensuring that we are facilitating intentional interview pairings, evaluating specific mentorship and scholarship areas for improvement, and to explore facilitating second look visits.

I look forward to working with you to continue our efforts to recruit exceptional trainees who will be the future leaders in medicine here at UCLA and in the communities we serve.

DoM Training Programs Achieve Full Accreditation

On another note, I am pleased to congratulate the fellowship program directors and educational leadership who recently completed the annual accreditation process. All 26 of the DoM ACGME accredited training programs (residencies and fellowships) received full accreditation for this cycle.  An impressive 24 programs received commendations for their substantial compliance with program requirements. We are proud of our amazing training programs and their success is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the program directors and their leadership teams.

Now, I am pleased to share additional highlights from our faculty and programs that exemplify our commitment to medical education and to mentoring our trainees and junior faculty towards successful clinical and research careers!

LIFT-UP Scholars Bring Home Research Awards

The Leveraging Institutional Support for Talented, Underrepresented Physicians and/or Scientists (LIFT-UP) Program launched in 2022 with a mission to advance the career development of scientists from diverse backgrounds who are conducting research in the areas of nutrition, obesity, diabetes, and related fields. The program is funded by a U54 grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). Under the leadership of O. Kenrik Duru, MD, MS and Carol Mangione, MD, the LIFT-UP Program, has implemented a curriculum focused on teaching and mentorship that guides research fellows and junior faculty towards becoming successful independent investigators.

Last year, I had the privilege of speaking at the 2023 LIFT-Up Conference. This year, I am pleased to highlight that six LIFT-UP Scholars presented posters at the Network of Minority Health Research Investigators (NMRI) Annual Workshop in Bethesda, Maryland. The six scholars joined over 700 researchers who have participated in NMRI workshops over the past decade. The NMRI hosts poster competitions for outstanding scientific research and our LIFT-UP Scholars walked away with two out of the three poster awards. Join me in celebrating:

Kimberly Narain, MD, MPH, PhD, assistant professor in residence in the UCLA Division of General Internal Medicine and Health Services Research, who won the Clinical Science Research Award for her LIFT-UP Project titled "Insurance Design to Address Racial & Socioeconomic Disparities in Obesity."

Kimberly Narain, MD, PhD

Matt Romero, PhD, is a post-doctoral fellow in the UCLA Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics. He won the Basic Science Award for his project "Determining Activated Enhancers in Obesity and Exercise as a Treatment Strategy for Obesity." I would also like to celebrate that Dr. Romero will be starting a tenure-track faculty position at UC Santa Cruz in the fall!

Matt Romero, PhD (center)

I extend my congratulations to Drs. Narain and Romero, and to all the LIFT-UP Scholars who participated in the NMRI Annual Meeting. They proudly represent our values and leadership in driving innovation in research.

Caltech/UCLA iTeam Hosts T32 Semi-Annual Symposium at UCLA

In the DoM, we recognize that collaboration is a key part of scientific discovery. For over two decades, we have partnered with Caltech to drive biomedical research through programs that include the UCLA-Caltech Medical Scientist Training Program and the Specialty Training Advanced Research (STAR) Program. We continue to grow this partnership through the Caltech/UCLA Integrated Theranostic Engineering to Advance Metabolic Medicine (iTeam) whose goal is to train biophysical scientists and engineers underrepresented in medicine, in developing advanced sensing and imaging technologies to enable early diagnosis and intervention aimed at reversing the growing epidemic of cardiometabolic disorders. The NHLBI- and NIBIB-funded T32 training programs were jointly initiated by Professor of Medicine and Bioengineering Tzung Hsai, MD, PhD and Professor and Chair of Electrical and Medical Engineering at Caltech YC Tai, PhD, and supported by DoM Chair E. Dale Abel, MD, PhD and Professors of Medicine Gregory Brent, MD, Linda L. Demer, MD, PhD, Alan Fogelman, MD, James N. Weiss, MD, Zhaoping Li, MD, PhD, Arleen Brown, MD, PhD, and Professor and Chair of Bioengineering Song Li, PhD.

To promote collaboration and cross-fertilization, T32 fellows, including Dr. Trinny Tat, coordinate and organize these symposia with T32 Coordinator Dr. Seul-Ki Park, AHA iDIVERSE Coordinator Jachael Gardner, and administrators and faculty from Caltech and UCLA Faculty. On March 27th, the iTeam hosted their T32 Semi-Annual Symposium at UCLA which brought together faculty from Caltech, UCLA Department of Medicine, UCLA Department of Human Genetics and the Samueli School of Engineering, postdoctoral fellows and students for a day of plenary lectures and short talks and poster presentations by trainees. It also provided a venue to introduce and welcome  the newest T32 members.

Vice Chair of Research Training Dr. Linda Demer highlighted the value of physician-engineer teams in advancing biomedical science and technology. She shared about “one example of my research group’s engineering-oriented, collaborative work, which was a computer simulation of reaction-diffusion to identify the molecular morphogens that induce vascular cells to create Turing patterns as they calcify through osteogenic differentiation.”

Dr. Linda Demer

DoM Senior Executive Academic Vice Chair Dr. Gregory Brent joined the group and shared, “It was a privilege to participate in this important program and be inspired by the outstanding trainees and faculty from UCLA and Caltech, that bring the latest engineering tools to address some of the most challenging problems in cardiovascular medicine research. I was able to share an example of an area of my own research on iodine transport, which has its roots in a collaboration between biophysical scientists and physician scientists, over 70 years ago, that led to our first theranostic agent (one used for diagnosis and treatment), radioactive iodine. This agent is still used to effectively treat hyperthyroidism, with many cardiac manifestations, and thyroid cancer.”

Dr. Gregory Brent

Throughout the event, T32 scholars had the opportunity to network with faculty and scholars from an array of disciplines. The symposium was a great success with PI Dr. Hsiai adding:

“The Caltech/UCLA T32 training programs have united Caltech’s fundamental strengths with UCLA’s translational sciences via our bi-annual symposia alternating between the two campuses. These symposia have provided unparalleled opportunities for collaboration and interaction with faculty, trainees, clinical scientists, entrepreneurs from industry, operational committees, and members from our External and Internal Advisory Committees. Both Dr. Dale Abel and Dr. Keith Norris were the past speakers for our AHA iDIVERSE and T32 joint symposium. Our vision is to train the next generation of diverse academic leaders and entrepreneurs to be nimble in engineering and medicine.”

We look forward to seeing what the future holds for the following T32 scholars:

Sahar Andalib, Adrian Arrieta, Rui Cao, Jae Min Cho, Elham Davoodi, Yujun Liu, Ryan Mcguan, Samantha T. Mensah, Thang Nguyen, Ellen O’connor, Danial Panahandeh Shahraki, Benham Sadri, Dylan Sarver, Leslie Sedgeman, Trinny Tat, Yide Zhang, Enbo Zhu.

You may learn more about their research by clicking HERE.

UCLA Preventive Medicine Training Program takes over D.C.

Last week, we shared a few highlights detailing our faculty and staff’s participation in national conferences. As conference season continues, we will be highlighting more of these events where our leadership in research, education, and patient care take center stage. This week, I shine a spotlight on the UCLA Preventive Medicine Training Program.

The Preventive Medicine Training Program faculty/staff, fellows, and medical students represented UCLA as a group of 15 at the American College of Preventive Medicine Annual Conference held in Washington, DC. This conference brought together leaders across healthcare and public health to collaborate, learn and work to change our health care system through prevention and wellbeing for all. They presented 6 posters at the conference, highlighting all the wonderful work and research that they have done over the past year. Additionally, the Preventive Medicine fellows participated in Hill Day on Capitol Hill to advocate for Preventive Medicine, by gathering as a collective voice with other ACPM members and meeting with legislators to encourage Congress to invest in prevention. Everyone enjoyed all that the conference had to offer from high-quality CME programming, inspirational plenary sessions, networking opportunities, and celebrating the best in the specialty!

From left: Drs. Katherine Stricker, Kyla Sherwood, Tawny Saleh, Kaitlyn Fruin
From left: Drs. Priyanka Fernandes and Rosemarie Byrd
Dr. Katherine Stricker
From left: Drs. Tawny Saleh and Katherine Stricker

Let me thank all our faculty, who are committed to serving as mentors, across our multiple training programs.



The same day that some of our LIFT-UP scholars were at the NMRI meeting at the NIH, I happened to be at NIH for a meeting with NIDDK leadership along with grantees for another program seeking to promote career development through professional societies. I was representing the FLARE program of the Endocrine Society, which I have led for the past 12-years. An interesting coincidence that underscores the multiple layers of commitment to ensuring that we continue to develop the careers of those who will succeed us.

I am pictured here with the director of the NIDDK, Dr. Griffin Rodgers (front row center) and colleagues representing other professional societies, who are also grantees.

Related Posts