Year 3. June 3. Award Winning Graduates, Residents and Staff.

On behalf of the UCLA Department of Medicine (DoM), I extend a big congratulations to the 2024 Class of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. Last Friday, family, friends, faculty, and staff gathered at the Los Angeles Tennis Center to celebrate 160 newly minted physicians. Our faculty and staff have had a critical role in helping our graduates achieve this milestone. From taking part in the admissions process, teaching, and mentoring, the DoM can take pride in our efforts to shape the future of medicine through these gifted and talented students.

Within this class, 30% of graduates will pursue careers in primary care which includes internal medicine, medicine-pediatrics, pediatrics, internal medicine-preventive medicine, and family medicine. Another 30% will pursue careers in surgery with other popular paths including psychiatry, anesthesia, emergency medicine, radiology, and pathology. Regardless of which path our graduates choose to take; we know that they are ready. They learned in a community that values leadership, equity, accountability, discovery, excellence, respect, and service. They will become leaders who drive the future of medicine and health sciences.

From left: Drs. Judith Currier and Carol Mangione
Dr. Holly Middlekauff (left)
From left: Drs. Daniel Kozman, Janet Pregler, Rachel Brook, Jodi Friedman

During the ceremony, we celebrated 19 graduates who will be joining us here in the DoM as internal medicine residents. As we gathered to salute and recognize the culmination of their academic accomplishments and rigorous training experience, we also celebrated those who received distinguished awards from the school of medicine. Let me highlight three of these awardees who will become our colleagues on July 1st.

First, join me in celebrating two members, Enat Addisu Arega, MD and Jarett Michael Taitt, MD who were named members of the DGSOM’s Gold Humanism Honor Society (GHHS). This distinction honors medical students most recognized by their colleagues for their humanistic patient care, and for serving as role models, mentors, and leaders in medicine. Members of the GHHS perform a service project during their fourth year of medical school that advocates for humanism through a variety of activities for students and healthcare professionals. They share the following reflections about the recognition:

“It is such an honor to be a part of the Gold Humanism Honor Society and to work on various projects that highlight humanism, compassion, and service with phenomenal classmates. A favorite project for me was holding a health screening and information session with other GHHS members (Joy, Juhee, Justin), DGSOM medical students (Aboubacar, Eyasu, Mahideremariyam, Ashley) and UCLA premeds (Bethlehem, Semra, and Selome) within the Ethiopian community in Inglewood. As a resident at UCLA, I look forward to continuing such projects with the department of medicine to improve access to health information in underserved communities.”

Enat Addisu Arega, MD
Dr. Enat Addisu Arega (center) with members of the UCLA Gold Humanism Honor Society

"As for what GHHS has meant to me, it has been an honor to have the opportunity to be a part of such a distinguished community. During my work in hosting the Night of Storytelling, I was incredibly appreciative of my fellow GHHS scholars and their commitment in centering the lived experiences of our patients and their healthcare providers in the context of a field that often prioritizes efficiency and productivity. I very much so look forward to continuing my membership within GHHS and aspire to uphold the principles of the society as I embark on my medical career at UCLA."

Jared Michael Taitt, MD

Next, I celebrate Ilana Simone Golub, MD who was recognized with the William N. Valentine Award for Excellence in Internal Medicine.  This award, named in honor of Dr. William N. Valentine, the second chairman of the DoM, is presented annually to the graduating student who has achieved the highest distinction as a scholar in internal medicine. She shared the following remarks about her achievement:

"I am deeply honored and humbled to receive the William N. Valentine Award for Excellence in Internal Medicine. Having only just started this incredible journey within academic medicine, I am so excited to continue learning alongside my colleagues and the patients we serve. Combining clinical time with research and teaching already brings me such joy, and I look forward to fostering these values throughout my career.

Ilana Simone Golub, MD

Internal medicine is a field that requires dedication, compassion, and a continuous quest for knowledge. It has been my privilege to begin contributing to a discipline that impacts lives so profoundly. I am so grateful for the opportunities I've had to learn and grow alongside some of the most talented soon-to-be physicians, here at DGSOM. This award motivates me to continue striving for excellence and to further advance our understanding and practice of internal medicine.

This recognition is a testament not only to my work but to the support and collaboration of my colleagues, mentors, and the incredible patients who have entrusted me with their care. I want to extend my heartfelt thanks to each and every one.

Last but not least, I am also extraordinarily thrilled to be joining UCLA's residency family in a few weeks. I feel so grateful to continue my medical training with such a special community!"

Now, this is not the first instance in which the DoM has celebrated Drs. Golub, Arega, and Taitt. We were fortunate to have been near them on Residency Match Day to capture their thoughts after having learned that they will be interning in the DoM.

In a few short weeks, we will be welcoming a total of 81 physicians and physician scientists as new residents to the UCLA Department of Medicine, across seven distinct programs. I am certain that we will have many more instances to celebrate them all as they begin this chapter in their journey.

Five DoM Residents Named DGSOM Excellence in Teaching Awardees

Trainees form an integral core of our department. Residents play a critical role in guiding medical students through their clinical experiences, strengthening their skills, and imparting lessons that are crucial for their success. I am pleased to share that five DoM residents were recognized as DGSOM Awardees for Excellence in Teaching. The award acknowledges their exceptional teaching during inpatient ward rotations. A few shared remarks about what this award means to them.

Alexandra Greb, MD

“Teaching is one of my favorite parts about medicine – every day I am reminded that it is a privilege to be both a student and a teacher! I always find myself learning new things from the excellent questions and observations of my students. It’s very rewarding to see the 'ah—ha' moment when a student grasps a concept that was previously challenging for them. Additionally, I would not be where I am today without the support, encouragement, and championship of my residents, attendings, and medical teachers. It is incredibly rewarding to be able to give back by teaching new medical students and learners. I am grateful to be nominated for the Excellence in Teaching Award. I am inspired by this next generation of physicians and feel honored to be included in their educational team.”

Alexandra Greb, MD

Rebecca Ocher, MD

I've had the privilege of pursuing my entire higher education within the UC system. I completed college at UC Berkeley and attended medical school at UC Riverside. I was thrilled to match at UCLA for my Internal Medicine Residency, primarily due to the exceptional faculty and incredible co-residents who have greatly contributed to my professional growth and education.

Another one of the key reasons I was drawn to UCLA was the opportunity to participate in the medical education pathway. I am immensely grateful for the comprehensive training I've received, which has not only enhanced my skills as a physician but also as a medical educator. Looking ahead to my cardiology fellowship at UCSD this summer, I am excited to leverage the medical education training I received at UCLA to support and benefit the residents I will be working with."

Rebecca Ocher, MD

Allison Reichl, MD
Allison is a second-year resident originally from Minnesota. She initially worked as an engineer before going into medicine and is now interested in a career in oncology. She is part of the Health Equity and Advocacy track within the residency program and is passionate about equitable patient representation in clinical trials.

When asked what this teaching award meant to her, she said “I’m so honored! The best part of my job is coaching early learners on how to think about complex medical problems. I’m even more honored to share this award with Dr. Ocher, one of MY favorite teachers in residency and the reason I know anything about cardiology. That chain of mentorship is what makes UCLA IM so special.”

Allison Reichl, MD

Danielle Urman, MD

When asked about this award, Dani voiced, “Through every phase of my schooling and training I have always had mentors who not only supported me, but also pushed me to identify ways I could grow. They dedicated extensive time and interest into helping me develop as a doctor and individual. It is these people who have shaped me into who I am today and instilled in me a love of learning. Part of my dedication to this career includes helping other learners stay EXCITED about medicine and feel supported through the growing process.  Receiving this award means the world to me if it means I touched even one person’s journey in a positive way.”

Danielle Urman, MD

DoM Faculty and Staff Shine at the Santa Monica Board of Advisors Employee Recognition Awards

DoM faculty and staff truly are the best in our field. After years of education and training, faculty and staff join our hospitals and community practices to provide the exceptional patient care that positively impacts the lives of thousands of patients from around the world. They are LEADERS.

It is always an immense joy to see their hard work, skill, and dedication being recognized, and last Thursday, the Santa Monica Board of Advisors shined the spotlight on several of our best and brightest during the 14th Annual UCLA Santa Monica Medical Center Board of Advisors Employee Recognition Awards. Please join me in celebrating the following LEADERS who were honored at this year’s ceremony.

Susan Rodas, MA, phlebotomist in the UCLA Division of Rheumatology, was honored with the Exemplary Patient Experience Award for consistently demonstrating an unwavering commitment to providing exceptional care and service to patients. This award recognizes excellence in patient-centered care and acknowledges those that ensure a positive experience for every patient.

Susan Rodas (center)

Hector Castro, manager of the Santa Monica Rheumatology office, was recognized with the Leadership Excellence Award for his exceptional leadership qualities that include sharing a compelling vision for the future, motivating, inspiring and supporting the team to achieve goals, and providing mentorship for professional growth.

Hector Castro (center)

Michael Ayoub, MD, hospital medicine, earned the Beyond the Call of Duty Award for demonstrating extraordinary effort and a level of service delivery that exceeds what is expected or typically provided.

Michael Ayoub, MD (center)

Adrian Mayo, MD, hospital medicine, was celebrated with the Community Impact Award in recognition of his exceptional servant leadership, passion and engagement in improving the lives of individuals and families in our community today and for future generations.

Adrian Mayo, MD (center)

Ruchi Jain, DO, MS, hospital medicine, was honored with the Emerging Leader Award in celebration of her exceptional achievements as a rising star who has demonstrated outstanding leadership qualities, innovation, and impact early in her career and leadership journey.

Ruchi Jain, DO, MS (center)

Ishan Asokan, MD, MSc, hospital medicine, was recognized with the Physician Collaborator Award which honors his talents at working well with others to achieve a common goal or objective, while displaying a genuine passion and commitment towards his team and patient care.

Ishan Asokan, MD, MSc (center)

Roger Lee, MD, internal medicine, hospital medicine, achieved the Lifetime Achievement Award, celebrating his years of service and leadership to his patients, colleagues and community.

Roger Lee, MD

The Palliative Care Program achieved the Dream Team Award which is given to a department or unit who work seamlessly and enthusiastically together, to inspire and provide exceptional service.

The Palliative Care Dream Team

Join me in congratulating our colleagues on their achievements and accolades.



Last week, I was the Hiatt-McPherson visiting chair of medicine at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and Harvard Medical School. I was kept busy with an after dinner talk at the annual faculty dinner, giving Medicine Grand Rounds and finally, combined Endocrine/Cardiology Grand Rounds. We have a number of faculty at UCLA who trained at the BIDMC, and everyone told me how lucky we are to have them at UCLA. The picture is from my after-dinner talk.

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