Year 3. June 17. Reflecting on and Responding to the Arc of History.

This Wednesday, June 19, we commemorate Juneteenth which recognizes the final emancipation of enslaved Black people in the United States in 1865. Also known as Freedom Day, Juneteenth is an opportunity for us to reflect on its significance and how it resonates in our department’s values and missions.

Many would agree that the legacy of slavery and systemic racism contributes to health disparities that we continue to encounter in many communities. Juneteenth reminds us of our commitment to work together to lead in innovation, transform care, and importantly, ADVANCE HEALTH FOR ALL.

As a public university, it is our responsibility to ensure that we advance care and improve outcomes for the diverse communities that we serve. I take pride in knowing that each day, the department of medicine (DoM) is working towards that goal through multiple initiatives. I see it in our robust research initiatives aimed at addressing health equity gaps. I see it throughout our community hospital partners and federally qualified health centers, where you will find a growing presence of DoM faculty providing health care to patients that are medically underserved. I see a brighter future through the diversity of the exceptionally qualified trainees recruited to the DoM, who while reflecting the diversity found throughout California, will contribute to our commitment to provide exceptional culturally competent patient care.

Juneteenth is not just a celebration. It is a call to action. I invite you to reflect on ways to engage with your colleagues, your community, and how you can make a tangible impact in creating a supportive and inclusive environment that helps advance health for all.

Advancing Health and Education: Strengthening our Partnership with UCSB

We are committed to advancing health and improving outcomes for diverse communities, and to providing opportunities for diverse leaders who will drive the future of medicine and health sciences. Along the central coast, DoM faculty and staff are driving these goals forward through their community engagement work which includes strengthening our partnership with UC Santa Barbara (UCSB).

The DoM met with community members at the Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce’s monthly networking event.

UCSB is recognized as both a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) and an Asian American Native American Pacific Islander Institution (AANAPISI).  In our mission to increase exposure and opportunity for pre-med students who are underrepresented in medicine, DoM faculty volunteered to teach a pre-health course, INT-175 Health Care Delivery, to these aspiring physicians beginning in 2022. I am happy to report that two years later, our efforts have grown to include three courses in the UCSB catalog. They include:

  • Int 176: Introduction to Clinical Medicine: For students interested in careers in the health profession. The course helps students understand the complex environment and career considerations as they relate to health care delivery in the U.S.
  • Int 176 LA: UCLA Health Shadow: Provides a 40-hour shadowing opportunity for UCSB pre-med undergraduates with UCLA Health physicians practicing in the counties of San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura.
  • Int 176 JC: Seminar: An interactive seminar where students interact with the medical literature and learn how it is used to make medical decisions. Students work with UCLA physician experts to discuss specific topics which are researched and presented by students.    

Stephen P. Vampola, MD, MS, an interventional cardiologist at UCLA Health Montecito Primary & Specialty Care, recently met with community members at the Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce’s monthly networking event to share about these achievements and others. In addition to creating and implementing pre-med coursework, our faculty are leading continuing medical education (CME) courses for physicians at the UCSB Student Health Center. Through our partnership with physicians at the student health center, students are also able to get referred to UCLA Health specialists in the area for their specialty care needs.

Stephen P. Vampola, MD, MS

Additionally, our faculty have developed a working relationship with Kelly Barsky, the John and Jody Arnhold Director of Athletics at UCSB, and are currently providing UCSB student-athletes with sports medicine care during and after traditional office hours with a board-certified sports medicine physician.

Joining Dr. Vampola at this community event was Regional Director of Operations for UCLA Health Lariza Johnson, who was recently appointed as a UCSB Alumni Board Member. Lariza was recently profiled by UC Santa Barbara Magazine for her achievements as a health care leader championing quality care and access. Since joining UCLA Health, Lariza has taken on various leadership roles in Santa Monica and Westwood. Most recently, she has been a key contributor towards our expansion efforts in the Central Coast. Last year, she was recognized as a Healthcare Champion Leader by the Pacific Coast Business Times, the business journal for San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

From left: Stephen P. Vampola, MD, Robbie Gluckson, Janelle Mirzaei, Lariza Johnson

As we look to the future, we will continue to invest in our partnership with UCSB through other initiatives that are currently in planning phases. This includes UCLA Health physicians from community clinics in Montecito, Goleta and Santa Barbara providing both in-person and virtual health education presentations covering a broad range of health topics that are of interest to UCSB employees. In collaboration with the UCSB HR/Benefits team, we will organize these educational talks focusing on hot topics such as sleep, nutrition, heart health, weight management, stress and more.

Dr. Adam Cavallero, Regional Ambulatory Medical Director, Northwest and Central Coast Region, Department of Medicine at UCLA Health and Associate Clinical Chief, Division of General Internal Medicine and Health Services Research, concludes:

“All of the UCs do not have affiliated medical schools and healthcare systems immediately available on-campus. This can leave students, staff, and faculty searching for access to premier healthcare. UCLA Health came to Santa Barbara with the goal of providing world-class healthcare to our UC family and the surrounding community in the Central Coast. We also strive to provide innovative education for the pre-medical students and academic medicine support for the student health physicians at UCSB. In summary, we are implementing the DoM strategy to:


Adam F. Cavallero, MD

DoM Faculty and Trainees Lead at the Harvard Macy Institute’s Program for Health Educators

Last month, faculty and trainees from various divisions in our department attended and presented at the Harvard Macy Institute’s Program for Health Educators, a forum dedicated to preparing educators with the latest advances in the science of learning, evidence-based education, and curriculum design aimed at propelling forward educational innovations. Medicine-Pediatrics Residency Program Director Dr. Gifty-Maria Ntim led this year’s DoM cohort sharing that:

“The program has been transformative on so many levels. It was energizing to engage with fellow educators about medical education pedagogy and assessment tools, witness them in action, and have the opportunity to practice and receive feedback from colleagues across the globe who share the same love and passion for learning and continuous improvement.”

Gifty-Maria Ntim, MD, MPH

DoM faculty and trainees continue to shine bright at these important conferences as seen by the important research presented at this event. I am pleased to share with you a few of these projects which will transform medical education and how we approach whole-person care for our diverse patient population.

Lorraine Anderson, MD: My current project is building an in-patient Allergy Immunology fellowship curriculum. This curriculum is focused on teaching our fellows in training to be comprehensive, empathetic clinicians who see the whole patient as they deliver high quality care by utilizing an in-patient curriculum that seamlessly integrates education concerning health disparities, inequities, and social determinants of health, within the core allergy/immunology lectures. Central to our approach is, in person, small group teaching via bi-monthly didactic sessions which equip fellows with the requisite skills to identify and address health disparities, thereby fostering equitable patient outcomes in the treatment of complex allergy/immunology conditions.

Emily Hotez, PhD: My project features the implementation and evaluation of a virtual Continuing Medical Education (CME) Program—developed with the support of the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as the UCLA Medical Education Fellowship and CME Office—focused on promoting healthcare provider capacity to address vaccine hesitancy among individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities. This course has three modules focused on: 1) the lived experiences of this population, 2) evidence-based strategies for addressing vaccine hesitancy, and 3) recommendations for inclusive public health communication regarding vaccines. My project specifically focuses on dissemination to UCLA residents. This course is currently available through CME California and over 50 learners have taken the course to date.

Emely Hotez, PhD

Megan Y. Kamath, MD: I will be working on a continuation of a curriculum project that I started during our UCLA Medical Education Fellowship. The project involves design and implementation of a formal communications curriculum for our internal medicine house staff. There will be focus areas on communication considering social determinants of health, communication of bad news, and communication in the telehealth and myChart messaging era. This curriculum project stems from the challenges we have experienced in the past with communication surrounding patients' waitlist status, listing status, and selection committee decisions while waiting for advanced heart failure decision making. I am hoping to bring it to implementation for the internal medicine residents during the 2024-2025 academic year.

Megan Y. Kamath, MD

E. John Ly, MD: My project is implementing a Master Adaptive Learner framework within the Med-Peds residency program to help residents develop the skills to be lifelong learners. It will incorporate didactics targeted towards faculty and residents that will promote a positive learning environment, and incorporate key principles of the science of learning. Our goal is to cultivate residents who will engage in a process of self-directed learning and continual growth.

Gifty-Maria Ntim MD, MPH: My project focuses on developing an LGBTQ+ educational roadmap for DGSOM which is centered on honing learner’s skills to provide culturally humble care to LGBTQ+ patients.  Our innovative curriculum takes a non-pathological whole-person approach to support learners to deliver comprehensive, holistic care to LGBTQ+ people and their families.  This approach helps mitigate the key barriers to accessing quality health care that LGBTQ+ individuals face. The work being done at the DGSOM is informing the LGBTQ+ educational programming at DoM as well as providing teaching and other scholarly opportunities for faculty and internal medicine residents in the medical education pathway.  

Gifty-Maria J. Ntim, MD, MPH

Kenechukwu Ojukwu, MD (Department of Pathology): My project focuses on encouraging meaningful patient care moments by establishing a prototype dermatopathology education clinic via a community based-partnership approach. The clinic will provide underserved patients, and eventually community members, with pathology report education along with the opportunity to view their personal cancer specimen slides. The pathology clinic team is designing a curriculum for pathology resident and fellows to effectively participate in patient communication. We anticipate that this will serve to improve patient and community health literacy, enhance effectivity of multidisciplinary care, and increase pathology trainee exposure to the positive outcome of their work.

Kenechukwu N. Ojukwu, MD

Robert Oye, MD Awarded the 2023-2024 Carole E. Goldberg Emeriti Service Award

Dr. Robert Oye has been honored with the prestigious 2023-2024 Carole E. Goldberg Emeriti Service Award, a recognition that caught him by surprise! I am of course, not surprised as the award reflects Dr. Oye’s enduring commitment to the various communities that make up our world of academic medicine.

Robert K. Oye, MD

Reflecting on his career, Dr. Oye highlights a defining moment that solidified his dedication to teaching and mentoring faculty in the health sciences clinical professor series. During the primary care network expansion in the 1990’s, he served as the director of clinical skills training at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He recruited faculty for teaching assignments and office preceptorships ensuring that faculty documented their creativity and teaching experience which is essential for their advancement within the academic medical system. Oye emphasizes that successful clinical teachers provide clear expectations to students, especially within office-based teaching experiences where time management is critical. Additionally, as medical education in the ambulatory setting continues to grow, he emphasizes the importance of clinical follow-up so that students can learn the yield of proposed diagnostic or treatment plans, and gain an appreciation of the impact of both acute and chronic illness on patients.

His visionary leadership is further exemplified by his co-founding of the Proceedings of UCLA Health with Dr. Alan Fogelman in 1996. He shares that he was motivated to begin the journal to support faculty who need to document creativity for faculty promotions. Dr. Oye highlights that the journal contains valuable resources for faculty that remain timeless. Of note, he highlights the following articles in the Volume 5, number 2, Fall 2001 issue of Proceedings which may help clinical instructors:

  • The Primary Care Network Faculty Development Program: LuAnn Wilkerson
  • Effective Feedback and Evaluation in Clinical Medicine: Michael Brousseau
  • The One-Minute Preceptor: Harvey Raskind
  • Orientation and Priming: Setting the Stage for Learning: Bruce Landres
  • Arrows in the Quiver: Being on Target: Erie Boorman

 Dr. Oye has served as the sole editor since the journal’s inception and envisioned it being included in PubMed to expand its reach and impact in the medical community. He notes that with the journal’s growth, its next stage will require additional faculty involvement to manage reviewing and editing manuscripts, which may potentially be supported by artificial intelligence.

Dr. Oye looks forward to the continued growth of medical education in the ambulatory setting, and the evolution of the Proceedings of UCLA Health. As he reflects on the future of medical education, he recognizes the challenges introduced by telemedicine but is optimistic about how expanding resources in simulation technology, as well as empowering patients with tools to manage their health, will help us collect better clinical research data and help aspiring physicians towards becoming exceptional medical LEADERS.

Congratulations Bob!

Thomas Coates, PhD Received the 2023–2024 Edward A. Dickson Emeritus Professorship Award

Dr. Thomas Coates has been awarded the esteemed Dickson Emeritus Professorship Award in recognition of his exceptional research, scholarly work, teaching and service since retirement. The honor underscores Dr. Coates’ significant contributions to HIV prevention, public health, and global health.

Thomas Coates, PhD

Upon receiving the award, Dr. Coates expresses his gratitude, stating, “I’m honored by this award, but I feel like I am one of the lucky ones. I had the advantage of strong family support, a great education, and incredible opportunities in the University of California. The work was a labor of love. I had the opportunity to focus on issues that I care about, and UCLA supported me all the way. Not everyone in life gets such opportunities and luxuries.”

Reflecting on his career, Dr. Coates shared key lessons that have shaped his approach to research, teaching, and service. "Follow your passions," he advised. "I was focused on cancer and heart disease prevention when I first joined the faculty at UCSF in 1982. But HIV was everywhere in San Francisco and taking a heavy toll. I felt that I had to use my research skills in disease prevention to address AIDS. We didn't know what caused AIDS, but we knew it was transmissible. We ultimately founded the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies (CAPS) with NIH funds, and it is still going today and making a difference. But my division chief at the time told me that my move into HIV prevention was a bad career move. I reminded him of that not too long ago."

He also shares that mentorship has been a significant aspect of his career and continues to pay it forward with aspiring leaders in medicine. In his approach to mentoring future physician and physician scientist leaders, he highlights the importance of recognizing and building on the individuals’ strengths and building upon them. “It's such a delight to work with young physicians and social scientists. They have strong aspirations and it's just a matter of people finding their footing, learning a few skills, and working hard. And everyone I have worked with has strengths and is willing to work hard and realize their dreams.”

Looking ahead, Dr. Coates remains dedicated to his work in HIV prevention, global health, and mentorship. "As I said above, this is a labor of love, and I want to continue as long as I am able to make a contribution," he stated. He identified some of the most pressing challenges in global health today, emphasizing the disparities on geographic location. "The biggest issue is that where you live determines how long and how well you live. This is true whether we are talking about Los Angeles or the United States vs. low-income countries. PEPFAR—the President's Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief—taught us that we can make a difference. The message was that you can live with HIV in the United States and that you should be able to live with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa or any other low- or middle-income country. And it has made a difference. Transmission rates—including mother-to-child transmission of HIV—are at an all-time low in sub-Saharan Africa. We can do that with every disease if we focus on it."

Congratulations Tom! I invite readers to learn more about Dr. Coates’ impact in the field of medicine, by visiting

I also invite you to join me in congratulating Drs. Oye and Coates. It is a privilege to honor those who have dedicated their entire lives to advancing our department’s core missions.



For those who are fathers, I hope you had a meaningful Father’s Day yesterday with your loved ones. We are empty nesters, so our greetings were virtual, although we enjoyed hanging out with our grandchildren and their parents over video.

Meanwhile, trees in our backyard must have soaked in all the moisture from the winter rains, because we literally harvested a ton of plums and avocados from our trees. I am thinking about what to do with them. Hoping to get your feedback regarding options.

  1. Open a stand at the Westwood Farmer’s market
  2. Solicit recipes for Guacamole and plum preserves
  3. Bring them to office and give them away as is.

I am leaning towards a recipe competition and giving them away to the winners, with the expectation that they will share their handiwork.

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