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16 hours ago · Enabling Trainees to Implement Innovation

“The Biodesign Program kicks off with an intensive 10-day boot camp dedicated to fundamentals of the innovation process,” states Jennifer McCaney, who serves as assistant professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and program director of the Biodesign Program. “Over the next year, the trainees will apply that innovation process to a project in the area of medical technology.

The Biodesign Program is the culmination of efforts between DGSOM, the UCLA Health System, and the Anderson School of Management to bring healthcare technology innovation to our campus. We want to enable our trainees and our graduates at UCLA to be future leaders in healthcare. We have an amazing group of trainees and we want them to have a fulfilling experience that will enable them to go out into our health system and beyond in their careers to implement innovation.”

Learn more at

Tue, Sep 10 3:49pm · More Active, More Capable

“I feel like I’m more active now,” reflects Mia McKinley, a 9th-grader at Culver City High School, which partners with UCLA Health for the Sound Body Sound Mind Program. “I ran track in 7th grade but took a break in 8th grade. I was out of shape, and I knew this would push me to the limit. To a good limit. I like working out with all my friends. We compete and sometimes I beat them. It’s really fun. I’m a lot better at running and am more capable of doing stuff now.”

Mon, Sep 9 3:31pm · Able to Swallow Without Choking

“After the procedure, I just wanted to call my doctor, Priyam V. Tripathi, MD, MPH, and hug her and thank her,” exclaims Guillermo Verjan, who had been living with esophagitis for 10 years.

“You have trouble swallowing. It’s scary because you go out to dinner or you’re with people you don’t know and you start choking. I was just trying to manage it, but I don’t know why I waited so long have this procedure done. It completely changed everything. I’m sure there are lots of people who just live with esophagitis like I did; not knowing there is a solution. And it’s an easy one. I don’t think I’m going to have to have any other procedures done. The difference is amazing.”

Learn more about the UCLA Robert G. Kardashian Center for Esophageal Health.

Mon, Sep 9 3:10pm · Have No Fear

“If I had not had this procedure, then I would’ve had cancer of my esophagus,” believes 72-year-old Harry Corder, who came to UCLA Health after finding out he had Barrett’s esophagus with high dysplasia, or precancerous changes in the cells of the esophagus.

Dr. V. Raman Muthusamy explained I would need several radiofrequency ablation treatments. I went in every four to six months for three years to get the procedure done. It was really easy. It was an outpatient procedure at UCLA Health, which I thought was outstanding. Dr. Muthusamy talked with me every time before the procedure and all of his assistants were wonderful. It’s been two years that I’ve been under surveillance and all my biopsies are negative, so I’m considered in the clear. If you have high dysplasia of Barrett’s esophagus, have no fear of this procedure. Everyone associated with Dr. Muthusamy and UCLA Health were just marvelous.”

Learn more about the UCLA Robert G. Kardashian Center for Esophageal Health.

Mon, Sep 9 2:58pm · Don't Just Live With Reflux, Seek Help

Dr. Jeffrey Conklin, Medical Director, UCLA Robert G. Kardashian Center for Esophageal Health

“Most of my career has been centered on understanding how the esophagus works and managing or treating patients with esophageal diseases,” explains Dr. Jeffrey Conklin, medical director of the UCLA Robert G. Kardashian Center for Esophageal Health. “Probably the most common disease we see is gastroesophageal reflux, which seems to be rampant in our society these days. A lot of folks, if they could change their lifestyle, probably wouldn’t need medications.”

“If you have heartburn and your primary care doctor has given you treatment, but it has not been successful, then you should probably be seen by a gastroenterologist to determine whether or not reflux is the cause of your heartburn. If the reflux is really bad and the patient is having a lot of problems, there are surgical techniques to take care of their reflux. We just opened this new center for esophageal health, and we’re looking forward to improving the esophageal health of people all over the community.”

Learn more at

Fri, Sep 6 2:33pm · Fixing Santa Claus' Hyperparathyroidism

“We just took care of Santa Claus for hyperparathyroidism,” says Dr. Masha Livhits, an endocrine surgeon at UCLA Health. “I really want to bring attention to this disease because it often takes patients a while to come to a diagnosis. Depending on where they live, in this case, North Pole, Alaska, there may not be a lot of expertise so someone may have high calcium for years because their physician doesn’t know the cause. High calcium contributes to osteoporosis, fractures and can lead to kidney stones. We have a lot of patients who fly to us for this surgery from all over the world because we do a one-inch incision in the neck, surgery takes 30 minutes or so, and the patient has a fast recovery. We’re accommodating to the individual patient’s needs, so we moved Santa’s beard and didn’t do much shaving. Everyone’s story is unique, and it’s been exciting to hear about what life has been like for Santa Claus.”

Related Links:
On Santa’s ‘Nice List’
Santa Visits Dr. Livhits

Thu, Sep 5 4:39pm · Gaining Skill Set to Innovate

“My research has been on wearable robotics for rehabilitation or assistance,” muses Gil Hernstadt, an engineer in the new UCLA BioDesign Program. “This is the third or fourth day of the boot camp and this group is great. Everyone is very smart and I’m excited.”

“One of the goals for this program is to give us the tools and skillset to be innovators and to be key players in creating technologies and translating them into something that can last. It would be great to create a new technology that actually becomes a product.”

Wed, Sep 4 2:49pm · Mickey and Minnie Surprise Headliner for a Fun-Filled Afternoon at UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital

As part of its Disney Team of Heroes initiative, Disney teamed up with Mattel, Inc. for an afternoon that started with a screening of Toy Story 4, a toy giveaway and the biggest surprise of all, a meet-and-greet with Mickey and Minnie!

Special thanks to Disney Team of Heroes and Mattel Inc for donating toys for our kids and their families.