TAG: "Administration"

UC awards $23M to multicampus research collaborations

Awards include 18 collaborative proposals.

The UC Water Security and Sustainability Research Initiative, led by Roger Bales at UC Merced, will dramatically improve the data on California’s water cycle and how water is used.

The University of California has announced the winners of the Multicampus Research Programs and Initiatives funding opportunity, which will award more than $23 million over four years to 18 collaborative proposals.

The research grants will go to a diverse array of projects, from developing an implantable device that could correct memory impairment to an effort to help California better manage its water resources.

The 2014 request for proposals garnered 186 eligible entries in the arts, humanities, social, biological, environmental and physical sciences, and engineering. They were reviewed and ranked by experts from both inside and outside the University of California. The selected proposals involve researchers from all 10 UC campuses and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

“There were so many worthy applicants for this highly competitive awards program,” said Kathleen Erwin, director of UC Research Initiatives, which oversees MRPI. “The proposals that were selected advance research in areas that are critical to California, and which provide important collaborative opportunities for UC faculty and students across the university.”

MRPI awards support UC research collaborations that involve at least three campuses and strengthen the UC research enterprise. Among the research projects granted awards were:

Memory Prosthetics
Memory impairment is becoming a critical issue as California’s population ages. This collaboration, led by Bruce McNaughton at UC Irvine, will take a bold approach by designing and prototyping an electronic device to correct the underlying malfunction in the brain that leads to memory problems.

UC Water Security and Sustainability Research Initiative
Ensuring that California’s water is well managed is of critical need, particularly during drought. The UC Water Security and Sustainability Research Initiative, led by Roger Bales at UC Merced, will dramatically improve the data on California’s water cycle and how water is used. The research will aid policy development to help the state achieve long-term water security.

Consortium for Black Studies in California
Enhancing collaborative scholarship among experts distributed across campuses will position the UC as the premier institution for black studies in the United States. The Consortium for Black Studies in California, led by Robin Kelley at UCLA, will focus on humanistic and arts-based studies, such as film, music, poetry and fiction, that are relevant to California and often overlooked in other black studies programs.

California Immigration Research Initiative
If California were its own country, it would have the world’s fourth largest immigrant population. Led by David FitzGerald at UC San Diego, the Immigration Research Initiative will examine how these newcomers are integrated into California’s schools, workforce and culture, and develop applied solutions on complex immigration issues for policymakers.

Legal Economic Data and Analysis of Environmental Markets
Research led by Gary Libecap at UC Santa Barbara takes a fresh look at how to best protect the environment. Rather than a traditional regulatory approach, researchers will instead study the legal and economic basis for a rights-based method that engages property owners as part of a market-based solution to environmental protection.

“These awards support exciting research across the full breadth of the UC research enterprise,” said Mary Croughan, executive director of UC’s Research Grants Program Office, which houses UC Research Initiatives and the MRPI program in the UC Office of the President.  “UC has tremendous talent across its campuses, and these grants foster engagement across disciplines and locales.”

Learn more about the MRPI funding opportunity and see a full list of awarded projects on the UC Research Initiatives website.

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UC San Diego, Perdana partner to advance medical education, research

Collaboration with Malaysian university will bring opportunities for both institutions.

UC San Diego and Perdana University in Malaysia have announced a medical education partnership.

By Jackie Carr, UC San Diego

Officials of UC San Diego and Perdana University in Malaysia have announced a plan to collaborate on further development of the Perdana University Graduate School of Medicine (PUGSOM). UC San Diego was chosen from among the top schools of medicine in the United States to lead this initiative.

“UC San Diego has a long history of excellence in education, research and medicine,” said Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “Our School of Medicine is ranked among the nation’s top graduate programs, and UC San Diego Health System has been ranked number one in San Diego for four consecutive years by U.S. News & World Report. We are excited to share our expertise and knowledge in the power of academic medicine, and collaborate with Perdana University in joint research efforts.”

“Perdana University is delighted to work together with UC San Diego. This collaboration will bring tremendous opportunities to both institutions. This venture will drive Perdana University towards its goal of achieving international distinction as well as bring it recognition as an elite and successful academic institution,” said YABhg Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, chancellor of Perdana University.

The collaboration is designed to help Perdana University (PU) capitalize on the breadth and depth of UC San Diego’s experience in stimulating and helping to sustain San Diego’s status as a major research, health care and biotechnology hub.

“The 10-year joint collaboration will focus on enhancing and implementing a forward-thinking medical curriculum, a model for comprehensive patient care and a platform for innovative world-class research in Malaysia and Southeast Asia,” said David A. Brenner, M.D., vice chancellor for health sciences and dean of the UC San Diego School of Medicine. “Opportunities for clinical research from a global health perspective will exist in many areas, including cardiovascular, neuroscience, tropical diseases, diabetes, cancer and trauma care.”

“This collaboration will help PU to achieve its vision of becoming a top-tier academic medical center serving the 21st century health care needs of Malaysia and the broader region,” said Tan Sri Datuk Dr. Mohan Swami, chairman of the Board of Governors of Perdana University. “It will also accelerate the growth of a vibrant biomedical research, biotechnology and pharmaceutical infrastructure, helping to elevate Malaysia as a global center for translational medicine.”

“This is an exciting and important collaboration that will benefit both universities through shared knowledge and expertise, and especially through joint research,” said Mounir Soliman, M.D., M.B.A., assistant vice chancellor and executive director of UC San Diego Health Sciences International. “Joint research will help improve health in Malaysia and empower Perdana University Graduate School of Medicine to train the future health care workforce. Perdana University is the first medical school in Malaysia to offer graduate entry medical education similar to the United States model.”

Professor Dato’ Sothi Rachagan, vice chancellor, and Ph.D. barrister of law of Perdana University also stated that UC San Diego Health Sciences will assist in creating and refining the organizational infrastructure and facilities necessary for the continued growth of the graduate medical school program, including faculty recruitment, academic program development, student enrollment and the advancement of research and clinical needs.

“We envision a collaboration that will facilitate two-way transfer of knowledge, operational expertise and accrued health care experience to the benefit of both institutions. We are committed to working closely with PU to listen, learn, then plan, and finally bring these plans to fruition,” said Soliman who will lead the planning and implementation of this venture.

The collaboration between UC San Diego and PUGSOM will include exchange of faculty, students and staff. Faculty members from UC San Diego will travel to PUGSOM as visiting faculty to facilitate collaborative educational and research programs. PUGSOM faculty members may travel to UC San Diego to gain valuable skills and knowledge.

“In addition to Perdana University Graduate School of Medicine’s strong education focus, there will be future opportunities for collaboration in biomedical research, including bioengineering and technology, as well as for planned new academic teaching facilities, which include a 600-bed hospital,” said Tan Sri Datuk Dr. Mohan Swami.

Perdana University Graduate School of Medicine was established in 2011 with the vision of contributing to the global community through the pursuit of excellence in education, research and service. PUGSOM is intended to promote intellectual discovery, generate and spread state-of-the art knowledge and be a center of excellence in medical education based on a graduate entry level approach. Perdana University was established as a Public Private Partnership (PPP) initiative with the support of the Economic Planning Unit in the Prime Minister’s Department.

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UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay opens

Large-scale transport completed with support of city of San Francisco agencies.

More than 130 patients were carefully transported from Parnassus and Mount Zion campuses to the new UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay on Feb. 1. (Photo by Noah Berger)

>>Related: UCSF Medical Center at Parnassus and Mount Zion to expand care

>>Related: President Bill Clinton tours new UCSF hospitals

By Karin Rush-Monroe, UC San Francisco

With 40 ambulances, approximately 300 UCSF staff and faculty, as well as 100 emergency medical services personnel, UCSF Medical Center on Sunday, Feb. 1,  safely transported 131 patients to the new UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay from its Parnassus and Mount Zion campuses.

The move day started at 7 a.m. on the UCSF Parnassus campus; later in the day patients also were transported from the UCSF Mount Zion campus. The last patient to be moved arrived at UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay at 3:33 p.m. The new medical center also greeted the first baby born at the new hospitals, a healthy boy who entered the world at a little more than seven pounds.

The opening of the new hospitals was the culmination of more than 10 years of planning and construction of the complex, which includes UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco, UCSF Betty Irene Moore Women’s Hospital, UCSF Bakar Cancer Hospital and the UCSF Ron Conway Family Gateway Medical Building.

The move day, itself, reflected significant planning. “Patient safety was our top priority during the patient move, along with minimizing disruption to our neighbors. We achieved both goals, thanks to the superb work of our medical center faculty and staff as well as our partners in the City of San Francisco,” said Mark R. Laret, CEO of UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals. “We have been looking forward to this day for some time, and the opportunity to start providing care in our new location at UCSF Mission Bay.”

The majority of patients who made the trip on Sunday were children, as UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco moved from Parnassus to its new home at UCSF Mission Bay.

Strategically located on UCSF’s world renowned UCSF Mission Bay biomedical research campus, the new medical center puts UCSF physicians in close proximity to UCSF researchers and nearby biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies in Mission Bay and beyond who are working to understand and treat diseases ranging from cancer to cardiovascular disease to neurological conditions.

“Placing the hospitals on our Mission Bay campus underscores our commitment to driving discoveries toward patient care, ensuring that our world-class researchers are working in close proximity to our leading clinical researchers and physicians in the hospitals,“ said Sam Hawgood, M.B.B.S., chancellor of UC San Francisco.  “They also will provide invaluable training for our medical students, the next generation of clinicians who will take care of patients at health care facilities across California and nationally.

“Significantly, the move also frees up space on our Parnassus and Mount Zion campuses, which will allow us to enrich our medical programs for adult patients there. With the opening of the hospitals at Mission Bay, we now have integrated clinical care and research programs on all of our campuses, the critical factor that has contributed to UCSF’s local, regional and global impact.”

The UCSF Parnassus campus will be restructured to provide more specialized clinical services, such as transplants, and the UCSF Mount Zion campus will become a world-class hub for outpatient care.

“UCSF Medical Center’s new $1.5 billion, state-of-the-art campus in our city’s Mission Bay neighborhood will help improve the health of children, women and cancer patients,” said San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee. “This is not just a milestone for UCSF; this is a milestone for our city and our city’s health care industry, which is at the heart of our economy providing good jobs for our residents.

“Right before our eyes, we have seen the transformation of this underutilized railyard in Mission Bay into an epicenter where new discoveries and innovation in medicine are saving lives around the world. By working together with our great partner UCSF, and the many generous philanthropists that helped build these new hospitals, we will continue to ensure our residents get the highest quality of health care.”

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UCSF names physician-scientist as executive vice chancellor, provost

Driven by science, humanism and service, Dan Lowenstein joins UCSF leadership team.

Dan Lowenstein, UC San Francisco (Photos by Marco Sanchez)

By Lisa Cisneros, UC San Francisco

A charismatic high school biology teacher named Brian Biemuller and a trip to Bolivia 38 years ago as a health care volunteer convinced Dan Lowenstein of his direction in life.

“The path was obvious: I wanted to become a doctor,” Lowenstein, M.D., said in a 2013 talk about his life’s story. “The mixture of science and humanism, the opportunity to serve others in such a fundamental way, the rawness, the poignancy, the intensity – all lined up to become my dream.”

Lowenstein, professor and vice chair of the Department of Neurology, has been devoted to his dream ever since. His distinguished career encompasses teaching, research and patient care – from his arrival to UCSF in 1987 as an aspiring pediatrics intern to his appointment on Thursday (Jan. 29) as executive vice chancellor and provost.

“Our singular focus on excellence in all three elements of our mission is what defines the unique greatness of UCSF, and I will do everything I can to help UCSF remain a world leader in life science discovery and innovation.”

Leading UCSF’s research enterprise

For his wealth of experience and passion for UCSF, Chancellor Sam Hawgood, M.B.B.S., tapped the physician-scientist to be second-in-command at the nearly $5 billion enterprise, effective Feb. 1. He succeeds Jeff Bluestone, Ph.D., who stepped down to devote more time leading diabetes research for which he is internationally renowned.

Lowenstein will lead UCSF’s robust research enterprise, and its highly ranked academic program, consisting of four professional schools and Graduate Division. He will work in close collaboration with the chancellor and the leadership team to develop and implement campus priorities and vision, including advancing precision medicine, maintaining UCSF’s status as an international leader in health sciences education, and overseeing external partnerships and representing UCSF’s best interests across the University of California system and at the UC Office of the President.

“Dan exemplifies excellence in each of our mission areas – research, education and patient care – and has a deep love for our public mission,” Hawgood said. “His values very much reflect those of UCSF, and I am very pleased that he will join me in leading this great university.”

For Lowenstein, the decision to join Hawgood’s new administration came easily: “Quite simply, I love our community and I welcome this opportunity to work in this new capacity with the phenomenal people here.”

As their career paths have crossed over three decades, Lowenstein has watched Hawgood emerge as a leader, amid myriad challenges and changes, including taking over as dean of the School of Medicine in 2007.

“I was so impressed with his leadership through this time. He demonstrated a deep understanding of UCSF and a resolute belief in our mission,” Lowenstein said. “I also appreciate his humanism, selflessness and remarkable awareness of the intricacies of this institution, and his commitment to keep pushing the boundaries of what is possible.”

The same can be said about Lowenstein.

He is universally admired among faculty, staff and students. A legendary educator and mentor, Lowenstein has been lauded with every major teaching award in medical education granted by students and colleagues both locally at UCSF and nationally.

Standing up for social justice

Lowenstein’s love for UCSF comes “from being among faculty who have led the world in scientific discoveries, watching our students graduate, and witnessing the saving and restoring of lives by our health care teams,” he said. “And, of course, there are the times when our community has stood up against the injustices in the world.”

UCSF students did just that in a peaceful demonstration on Dec. 10 to raise awareness of social injustices and racial disparities experienced by black Americans. Their actions and outreach to students across the U.S. started a national movement called #whitecoats4blacklives. “I am so proud of them,” Lowenstein said. “This idea came directly from our students and within five days, they had more than 80 schools from across the country join their movement.”

Lowenstein hopes this is just the beginning of a renewed commitment to fostering equality and inclusion that will be carried out across campus and the country.

He is acutely aware of the ongoing need to ensure that more people of diverse backgrounds have the opportunity to excel to positions of leadership at UCSF. Those who know him well, including many in the under-represented community, appreciate his attitude and advocacy advancing diversity and inclusion at UCSF.

His work in championing diversity and civil rights, as well as his long-standing advocacy for students, staff and faculty of all backgrounds, has been honored by the 1998 Black Student Health Association’s Faculty Award, the 1998 UCSF Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Award, the 2006 Holly Smith Award for Exceptional Service to the UCSF School of Medicine, and the 2009 UCSF Chancellor’s Award for Public Service.

He also was honored by students who voted him in 2013 to deliver “The Last Lecture,” during the second year of its existence (after Susan Desmond-Hellmann, M.D., M.P.H., the first woman to serve as chancellor). In an hourlong speech, Lowenstein told his inspirational life story of lessons learned – all a testament to his integrity, inner strength and spirituality.

Lowenstein concluded that lecture with a call to action to continue the march for equality and justice for all. He specifically referred to the rise of the Black Caucus to address the racial discrimination that existed on a then-segregated campus in the 1960s.

“Despite the progress, despite all the effort, our work is not done – including, as I said before, right here at UCSF,” Lowenstein told to the audience in a packed Cole Hall Auditorium. “So, pick something that is far bigger than you and figure out how to contribute, at least in some small way, to this very long march.”

Dan Lowenstein works with a medical student in his office at Parnassus.

Research in the era of precision medicine

Lowenstein brings the perspective of many roles at UCSF since he himself has been a neurology resident, postdoctoral fellow, epilepsy physician, principal investigator and professor of medicine.

He also has served as vice chair of the Department of Neurology, director of the UCSF Epilepsy Center at UCSF Medical Center and director of the Physician-Scientist and Education Training Programs in the UCSF School of Medicine, the last two titles he will relinquish with his new position.

He has a strong track record as a scientist across the research spectrum. “I’ve been very fortunate to have been involved in a wide range of scientific approaches, including basic and translational laboratory science exploring developmental neurobiology and basic mechanisms of epileptogenesis, multicenter clinical trials looking at the treatment of prolonged seizures, and large-scale team science investigating the genetics of human epilepsy.” His papers have been published in the Journal of Neuroscience, Neuron, Nature and the New England Journal of Medicine.

Lowenstein is keenly interested and involved in furthering the promising field of precision medicine.

“I watched President Obama’s [State of the Union] speech and the phrase ‘precision medicine’ did not escape my notice,” Lowenstein said. “UCSF has been at the forefront of this concept, and there is no question that we are at the threshold of an entirely new era in translational science and health care. I can say from firsthand experience it is redefining the world of epilepsy.”

Lowenstein has been leading the Epilepsy Phenome/Genome Project (EPGP) and the Epi4K Gene Discovery in Epilepsy project, two large-scale, international studies on the genes implicated in epilepsy, partnering with basic and clinical scientists at more than 40 institutions on four continents to collect actionable data to make treatments more precise for patients. This work has already yielded promising results that highlight how high-quality phenotype data, combined with state-of-the-art genomic analyses, can identify the causes and specific treatments for some of the most intractable forms of epilepsy. That accomplishment is at the core of precision medicine.

He also organized a conference in the San Francisco peninsula city of Half Moon Bay in 2014 titled, “Epilepsy in the Era of Precision Medicine,” the first conference of its kind that brought 100 leaders from around the world to plan a roadmap for research in epilepsy.

In this effort, Lowenstein is in good company at UCSF, one of the world’s leading institutions involved in epilepsy research and one of the few medical centers on the planet with top-ranking departments in the areas most relevant to this research: biomedical imaging, neurology and neurosurgery.

For his many contributions to epilepsy research, Lowenstein received the American Epilepsy Society’s 2001 Basic Research Award, an honor given each year to the foremost basic science investigator whose research “contributes importantly to understanding and conquering epilepsy.”

“The full range and depth of our research enterprise, from fundamental biological science to population science and everything in between, is, quite simply, stunning,” Lowenstein said, “and the contributions of UCSF to the world are incalculable.”

And in this, UCSF’s 150th anniversary year since its start as a medical college, the list of its accomplishments is long. Among the greatest hits he highlights are UCSF’s leadership in HIV/AIDS, the start of a hospitalist movement, cutting-edge interdisciplinary education and world-renowned expertise in molecular biology and its application in understanding science and disease, to name just a few.

“UCSF is the only place on the planet that combines a singular focus on improving health, impassioned creativity and the highest standards of excellence in such wide domains, and a community that truly cares about the success of all,” Lowenstein said. “That’s why I love it here.”

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UCSF, CMC sign letter of intent to increase pediatric, women’s health services

Collaboration to expand services in Valley would build on foundation of existing relationship.

By Karin Rush-Monroe, UC San Francisco

UCSF Medical Center and Community Medical Centers (CMC) have signed a letter of intent (LOI) to expand women’s and children’s services to the Central Valley, which has an undersupply of specialists for a growing population. The collaboration also would broaden medical education services in the area.

CMC, a Fresno-based regional health system, owns and operates Community Regional Medical Center (CRMC) and other licensed general acute care hospitals and outpatient centers in Fresno and Clovis that serve Fresno County and the surrounding counties.

“The delivery of health care is changing. We’re going to rely on medical information technology and strong alliances with private and academic physicians to more efficiently manage the health of entire families. This project with UCSF will be a key part of that,” said Craig Wagoner, CEO at Community Regional Medical Center.

The shared vision of CMC and UCSF includes development of a clinically integrated health system to facilitate better sharing of information in order to manage patient health; improved access to high-quality pediatric services in Fresno and surrounding communities; higher acuity pediatric services at CRMC to reduce the need for patients’ families to travel outside of Fresno; and increased integration of the academic and training missions of UCSF and CRMC.

An immediate goal for 2015 is to increase the availability of specialists at CRMC by this summer.

UCSF School of Medicine, which consistently is ranked among the nation’s top medical schools, has for decades operated a graduate medical education program in collaboration with Community, the San Joaquin Valley’s largest hospital organization.

About 300 UCSF medical residents and fellows currently practice on the Community Regional Medical Center campus, which is the Valley’s Level 1 trauma center. Pediatrics is one of 22 specialties currently offered in the Fresno-based graduate medical education program.

The collaboration among UCSF Fresno, CRMC and Valley Children’s Healthcare has afforded UCSF residents the ability to receive high-quality residency training across the entire spectrum of pediatric needs within a diverse set of clinical settings. UCSF remains firmly committed to maintaining and strengthening this long-time, top-ranked pediatric residency program for the benefit of patients, the community and the entire San Joaquin Valley.

“This is the next logical step in our relationship with Community,” said Michael Peterson, M.D., interim associate dean for UCSF Fresno. “The medical school is committed to serving the Valley, and our leadership team in San Francisco is excited about the opportunity to partner with the Community Regional Medical Center and build a leading-edge women’s and children’s program.”

“We have a great relationship with Fresno and the Central Valley, and this partnership with Community Medical Centers will strengthen that relationship,” said Stephen Wilson, M.D., Ph.D., associate chief medical officer for UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco. “This is an opportunity to better integrate our women’s and children’s services in the region and support UCSF’s mission to provide care to patients in areas that are underserved.”

UCSF has been providing services in Fresno for decades. Established in 1975 and now celebrating its 40th anniversary, the UCSF Fresno Medical Education Program plays a substantial role in providing health care services to residents of California’s San Joaquin Valley and training medical professionals in the region. A clinical branch of UCSF, the Fresno medical education program has trained approximately one-third of Central San Joaquin Valley physicians.

Faculty and medical residents at UCSF Fresno engage in a broad spectrum of research addressing health issues pertinent to the Valley. Faculty and residents also care for the overwhelming majority of the region’s underserved populations at health care facilities like CRMC.

In addition, UCSF Fresno provides academic preparation programs for middle- and high school students interested in the health professions through the Junior Doctors Academy and the Doctors Academy. UCSF Fresno academically prepares students at Fresno State to become competitive applicants to health professional schools and ultimately aims to prepare them for careers in health and medicine. UCSF Fresno also is a key partner in the UC Merced San Joaquin Valley Program in Medical Education.

The collaboration is anticipated to be finalized in the fall of 2015.

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Act of courage: Life after the ‘die-in’

UCSF med students sparked a national movement with #whitecoats4blacklives; what’s next?

UC San Francisco professional students led a national movement via social media that examined how racial disparities impact health care. (Photo by Leland Kim, UC San Francisco)

By Leland Kim and Laura Kurtzman, UC San Francisco

A group of UCSF medical students gathered in a closed meeting last month to talk about race, racism and racial disparities.

They were troubled by recent grand jury decisions not to indict white police officers who were involved in the deaths of two unarmed African American men, Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and Eric Garner in New York City, and wanted to channel their frustration into something constructive.

The students, including many from the UCSF Underrepresented In Medicine (UIM) mentoring program, decided to hold a “die-in” at UCSF while wearing their white coats, symbolic of those in the health profession. They and their peers of all ethnic backgrounds tapped into student networks across the country.

In just five days, a national movement called #whitecoats4blacklives was born.

It catalyzed thousands of students, faculty and staff in more than 80 colleges across the country. At UCSF, students from all professional schools (dentistry, medicine, nursing and pharmacy) and the Graduate Division participated, as well as some faculty and staff members.

The hashtag dominated social media on Dec. 10, garnering widespread media attention and sparking a much-needed national conversation about racism being more than a just criminal justice issue.

Organizers of the student #whitecoats4blacklives die-in were invited to participate in the School of Medicine leadership retreat to share their experiences. (From left) Frederick Jamison, Angela Broad, Faby Molina, Adali Martinez, Donald Richards, Stephen Villa, Sidra Bonner and Nicolás Barceló. (Photo by Elisabeth Fall)

“As students, we were able to use the momentum from the #whitecoats4blacklives movement to demonstrate the urgency of dealing with the issues of race, micro-aggressions and inequality that affects UCSF faculty, staff, students and most importantly the patients we all serve,” said student organizer Sidra Bonner, a second-year student in the School of Medicine. “It is my hope that this movement leads to improvement of the social medicine curriculum, specifically continued learning and skill development around this issue of bias, creation of a robust mentorship/advising system for all students, as well as commitment to strengthening the pipeline for underrepresented students in medicine by increased availability of scholarships and administrative support.”

A priority for the university

The die-in had a ripple effect across UCSF.

A student-initiated town hall held two days after attracted faculty members, deans and many of the University’s top leaders, who talked openly with students about the UCSF’s ongoing challenge with diversity.

Chancellor Sam Hawgood, M.B.B.S., has made race and racial inequities a priority in his administration.

“This is an issue that goes beyond any one school or department; this is a campus issue,” he said. “Diversity is going to be an important priority for the entire UCSF community. I thank our students for initiating this conversation.”

And organizers of the School of Medicine’s annual leadership retreat this month decided to change the event’s agenda to discuss the enduring question of race in America – and how racial dynamics play out at UCSF.

“Our students are asking us to acknowledge, to think and to do something about the problem of racial and ethnic injustices,” said Bruce Wintroub, M.D., interim dean of the School of Medicine, introducing a daylong colloquy that was rich in both data and personal stories about what it means to be black and brown in America.

“It is very easy to talk about racial disparities at other places,” he said. “It is much harder for us to take an honest look at the problems we have at UCSF.”

Groundbreaking discussion of race

The leadership retreat, which took place on Jan. 8 and 9, was the first one ever to focus solely on race/ethnicity and health disparities. It came as the School of Medicine has launched a six-year, $9.6 million effort to hold its departments accountable for achieving diversity, provide the resources to recruit and retain a more diverse faculty, create a culture of diversity and inclusion and expand the pool of scientific talent, which gets smaller at each level of training.

“This retreat was the first time in my 32 years at UCSF that I feel we have started to have an authentic conversation about race and the impact of racism and unconscious bias on our students, faculty and patients,” said Renee Navarro, M.D., Pharm.D., vice chancellor of diversity and outreach. “I applaud the students who organized and implemented the #whitecoats4blacklives movement. They were the spark that led to this event.”

Some of those students were invited to participate in the leadership retreat and share their experiences with the group to help facilitate organizational change.

At times, nervous energy was palpable as students recalled instances of racism on campus. Some community members, participants noted, have accused UCSF being an “elitist ivory tower.”

White faculty members listened attentively, and some were candid enough to admit that they hadn’t really thought about racism and its impact on students and patients in a meaningful way.

“Being on the panel and speaking to an audience of accomplished and powerful people at UCSF were terrifying,” said Angela Broad, a second-year medical student. “It was really difficult sharing those experiences but the informal conversations I had throughout the day were very heartening. So many faculty, deans and staff thanked me for sharing my story.”

Compelling presentations and anecdotes by faculty of color helped shape the day’s conversation.

Neal Powe, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A., vice chair of the Department of Medicine and chief of medical services at San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center, shared a story about being pulled over by the police in North Carolina while in town to give a lecture. A police officer suspiciously questioned Powe about his destination, instructed him to keep his hands on the steering wheel and asked him if he had drugs in the car.

Guest speaker Denise Rodgers, M.D., focused on the impact of race and racism on health and health care in her talk, helping the audience to understand how a climate of violence affects their patients and their health.

“When we teach about homicide, do we reinforce the stereotype of violent, lawless black men who should be feared and for whom there is little hope for change?” asked Rodgers, vice chancellor of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences. “When we teach about homicide, do we talk about poverty, unemployment, poorly-performing schools, inadequate access to social and mental health services as contributors to the homicide rates we see?”

Nurturing a pipeline of UCSF talent

This year, one-third of first-year medical students are underserved minorities (black, Latino, Native American or Pacific Islander), the highest percentage of any medical school in California.

Despite having one of the most diverse student populations in the nation, a recent survey found that nearly one-third of students who are black, Latino and Native American reported feeling shunned or ignored or having experienced behavior they found intimidating, offensive or hostile, and 21 percent said it interfered with their ability to learn. That was double the percentage reported by whites and a third higher than reported by Asians.

Talmadge King, M.D., chair of the Department of Medicine, said the medical school is doing well at recruiting students, but many are not staying for their residency training.

Retention drops more at the fellowship training level and then essentially stops at the faculty level. Similar statistics also apply to the other professional schools and the Graduate Division.

King believes the best long-term strategy is for UCSF to build its own pipeline of talent, beginning with middle and high school, so students learn to love science and have an association to UCSF. “Places that have really focused on that are beginning to have success,” he said. ”It takes a long time, but it actually works.”

Turning words into action

UCSF leadership will review and evaluate ideas that were generated by the retreat participants and determine the priorities and tactics to move them forward. This effort is aligned with the campus obligation to the University of California Office of the President to identify initiatives in the UC-wide Climate Survey. Those initiatives will include one that is focused on establishing a “climate of inclusion.”

Meanwhile, the students who organized the #whitecoats4blacklives event have formalized the creation of the national White Coats for Black Lives organization that was born out of the movement. They are connected with 83 representatives of various medical schools throughout the country and are in the process of creating a national board for their student organization.

They will also be actively involved in working with faculty and leadership to achieve the goals identified during the leadership retreat.

“I have never felt so inspired by UCSF – what it is and what it can be,” said student organizer Nicolás Barceló, a fourth-year medical student who attended the retreat. “My decision to attend UCSF was motivated by the belief that its capacity to effectively address the social determinants of health, it stands alone. No other institution can bring together the resources, talent and dedication to social justice that you see at UCSF. No one.”

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UCSF taps expert to lead big data center

Atul Butte also will be executive director of clinical informatics for UC Health.

Atul Butte (Photo by Susan Merrell, UC San Francisco)

By Kristen Bole, UC San Francisco

UC San Francisco has recruited a world-renowned expert in medical technology, Atul Butte, M.D., Ph.D., to lead the new UCSF Institute for Computational Health Sciences, which will serve as a cornerstone of the university’s efforts to harness the power of “big data,” to lead to faster and more effective cures for patients worldwide.

A noted expert in pediatrics and medical informatics at Stanford University, Butte brings the rare combination of deep knowledge in medicine and biomedical research, and technological fluency to lead in the new realm of computational health. The appointment will be effective April 1.

The institute is a core element of UCSF’s campuswide efforts in what is known as precision medicine – a growing field that aims to take advantage of new advances in computer technology to mine the immense amounts of data being generated by biomedical research and clinical care, including vast new understanding of human genetics.

“Atul is a visionary leader working at the intersection of the technological and life sciences,” said UCSF Chancellor Sam Hawgood, M.B.B.S. “The convergence of these disciplines will revolutionize how we envision wellness and medicine in the future. Under Atul’s leadership, our new Institute of Computational Health Sciences will position UCSF at the forefront of this revolution in health.”

In addition to his role at UCSF, Butte also has been named executive director of clinical informatics for UC Health Sciences and Services, in which he will assist UC Senior Vice President John Stobo, M.D., and other UC Health leaders in the ongoing development and implementation of a UC-wide data warehouse and analytic platform.

This type of platform and data warehouse ultimately could enable researchers to tap into the vast amount of clinical data being generated by the five medical centers in the University of California system to help advance basic research in disease, better understand which therapeutic approaches are most effective and improve care across the UC system.

Butte is currently chief of the Division of Systems Medicine and associate professor of pediatrics at Stanford University and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, where he has been a faculty member for the past decade. Trained in both computer science and medicine at Brown University, Butte previously worked as a software engineer at Apple Inc. and Microsoft Corp., and received his Ph.D. in health sciences and technology from Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is also a founder of several Bay Area biotech startup companies.

Butte’s research laboratory, which is funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health and March of Dimes, focuses on building and applying computational tools to convert hundreds of trillions of points of molecular, clinical and epidemiological data collected by researchers worldwide over the past decade, now commonly known as “big data,” into new diagnostics, therapeutics and insights into both rare and common diseases.

That is the crux of precision medicine, in which UCSF has played a key role, including co-chairing the committee that authored the definitive white paper on the subject for the National Academy of Science in 2011.

The institute Butte will lead is one of the core elements of UCSF’s precision medicine platform, which provides a single, overarching strategic vision for the campus going forward. That vision brings together the knowledge gained across the continuum of biomedical research and care, from basic researchers to translational scientists, clinical practitioners and social and behavioral scientists in all four of its schools – dentistry, medicine, nursing and pharmacy – and to patients and the community.

“If we could access and integrate the enormous amount of data imbedded in that continuum, we could potentially change the ways we understand life processes, imagine therapeutics and cure and avoid disease,” said Keith Yamamoto, Ph.D., UCSF vice chancellor of research and a national leader in bioscience research. “If we just aggregate the data, we’d have just a pile of data. The challenge is to devise ways to analyze it, mine it and make sense of it.”

The institute, which launched under interim directors Neil Risch, Ph.D., and Michael Fischbach, Ph.D., with seed funding from the chancellor’s office so it could co-recruit its first faculty members with other UCSF departments, will serve as a campus hub for computer scientists and for researchers who use big data and computation as critical tools in biomedical research and practice, while also serving as an educational center to train future leaders in the field.

“The idea is to build a fully inclusive institute that reflects and harnesses what’s happening in all of the schools at UCSF,” Butte said. “Of course we hope that we will be successful in making discoveries and developing diagnostics and therapeutics, which we will disseminate through publications. But we also intend to take these discoveries out of the laboratories through licensing and starting companies, when we need to.

“We especially want to take advantage of the entrepreneur spirit growing in Mission Bay,” Butte continued. “If we want to change the world of medicine, we have to bring those discoveries into the marketplace and closer to patients.”

Butte has authored nearly 200 publications and delivered hundreds of invited presentations in personalized and systems medicine, biomedical informatics, and molecular diabetes, including 20 at the National Institutes of Health or NIH-related meetings and TEDMED.

His awards include the 2014 E. Mead Johnson Award from the Society for Pediatric Research, 2013 National Academy of Sciences Kavli Frontiers Fellowship and 2013 Champion of Change in Open Science awarded by the White House. He was inducted into the American Society of Clinical Investigation (ASCI) in 2013, the Society for Pediatric Research (SPR) in 2011 and American College of Informatics in 2009. He received numerous early-career awards, including the 2010 Society for Pediatric Research Young Investigator Award and the 2006 Howard Hughes Medical Institute Early Career Award, among others. Butte also co-authored one of the first books on microarray genomic analysis titled “Microarrays for an Integrative Genomics” published by MIT Press.

Butte’s compensation includes a base salary of $147,300, in accordance with his academic rank and program unit, for which he will be eligible for the UC Retirement Plan and other standard UC benefits. He also is eligible for an additional $332,700 in negotiated salary, which will be supported through philanthropic sources and extramural grants.

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UC to supply electricity to select campuses, medical centers

Making this change could trim UC’s power bills by as much as 10 percent in 2015.

The University of California will begin directly supplying electricity to its campuses and medical centers this month as part of an initiative to become the first research university to achieve carbon neutrality by 2025.

UC will switch from a third-party electricity supplier and throughout January begin to provide electric power directly to five of its campuses and three of its medical centers, along with other electric accounts throughout the university.

“The University of California is committed to being a leader in sustainability and this brings us another step closer to achieving carbon neutrality,” said Nathan Brostrom, UC’s chief financial officer. “Making this switch will give UC more control over the type of energy it buys, and provide our campuses and medical centers with more price transparency.”

Last year, UC became a registered Electric Service Provider (ESP), allowing its Wholesale Power Program to serve as the primary energy supplier, under direct access rules, to UC Irvine and its medical center, UC San Diego and its medical center, UC San Francisco and its medical center, UC Santa Cruz, UC Merced and a number of other accounts throughout the university.

Direct access is an optional service that allows retail customers to purchase electric supplies and additional energy services from a competitive ESP.

UC’s ability to enter into its own long-term contracts is intended to help control costs. UC staff estimate that making this change also could trim the university’s power bills by as much as 10 percent in 2015.

As part of its climate neutrality initiative, UC also announced plans last September to make the largest solar energy purchase by any U.S. higher education institution by signing two power purchase agreements with Frontier Renewables, a power provider focused on solar photovoltaic technology. Those agreements secure solar energy for UC for 25 years, and will allow the university to supply 206,000 megawatt-hours per year of solar energy to California’s electrical grid.

UC’s Wholesale Power Program is overseen by a governing board with representatives from UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Irvine, UC Merced, UC San Diego, UC San Francisco and UC Santa Cruz.

Media contact:
University of California Office of the President
(510) 987-9200

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UCLA Health Sciences vice chancellor leaving for top post at Duke Health System

A. Eugene Washington has led a ‘bold new direction for the future of health care.’

A. Eugene Washington

In a message to the UCLA campus community today (Jan. 13), Chancellor Gene Block announced that Dr. A. Eugene Washington, vice chancellor of UCLA Health Sciences and dean of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, will be leaving UCLA at the end of February. Read the full text of the chancellor’s statement below.

To the Campus Community:

Regretfully, I write to announce the departure from UCLA of Dr. A. Eugene Washington, who for nearly five years has admirably served our campus and the Los Angeles community as vice chancellor of UCLA Health Sciences and dean of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, and who has helped elevate our medical enterprise to world-class status.

Dr. Washington has been selected to serve as chancellor for health affairs at Duke University and president and CEO of the Duke University Health System beginning April 1.

An internationally renowned clinical investigator and health policy scholar, Gene came to UCLA in 2010 after a remarkable career at UC San Francisco, where he served as executive vice chancellor, provost and professor.

Since his arrival, Gene has proven to be an exceptional leader dedicated to improving the health of people throughout the Los Angeles region and far beyond. During his tenure, our medical centers in Westwood and Santa Monica have repeatedly been named to U.S. News and World Report’s Best Hospitals Honor Roll, consistently ranking among the best in the nation and No. 1 in California. Last November, Dr. Washington received the David E. Rogers Award from the Association of American Medical Colleges for his lasting contributions to health care.

In his time at UCLA, Dean Washington led a bold new direction for the future of health care, beginning a strategic planning process that envisioned 24/7 medical care by multidisciplinary teams, fast-track translation of groundbreaking research into hands-on health care and impactful partnerships dedicated to solving critical health issues in underserved communities. This process sought input from faculty, staff and students across the health system and the medical school, and created a blueprint for the future of our medical school and health system.

Also under his direction, a new groundbreaking gift from David Geffen helped ushered in an era in which increasing numbers of our students are pursuing their passions unencumbered by medical school debt, and has contributed to making the school one of the most competitive in the nation.

A national leader in assessing medical technologies, Gene also worked to develop clinical practice guidelines and establish disease prevention policies, particularly in women’s health. He was elected to the National Academy of Science’s Institute of Medicine nearly two decades ago and, in 2010, served as program chair of the IOM annual meeting focused on advancing health through innovation. Throughout his career, Dr. Washington’s research has contributed to policy-focused reports credited with improving health services and advancing health.

His global reputation as a committed, visionary leader and consensus builder has led him to serve on many prestigious professional and government boards and committees, including the Association of American Medical Colleges, the Centers for Disease Control, the Scientific Management Review Board of the National Institutes of Health, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Board of Trustees. He also has served as a distinguished professor of gynecology and health policy and he holds the Gerald S. Levey, M.D. Endowed Chair.

As difficult as it is to see him go, I congratulate Gene on this tremendous new opportunity and wish both him and his wife, Marie, great success in their new ventures. He will remain in his current positions through the end of February. UCLA is blessed with exceptional leadership in our health care enterprise, and Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Scott Waugh and I intend to appoint an interim vice chancellor and dean until a permanent successor is named.

Gene will be deeply missed, but his tenure here has positioned UCLA Health Sciences for an exceptional future that will be a source of pride for our campus and the Los Angeles community for many years to come.

Gene D. Block
Chancellor, UCLA

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UCSF receives $40M gift for new Medical Center at Mission Bay

Outpatient medical building to be named in honor of the Ron Conway family.

CSF Medical Center's new outpatient building, located on 16th Street, will be named the UCSF Ron Conway Family Gateway Medical Building in honor of the family $40 million gift. Some outpatient clinics will begin opening on Jan. 26. (Photo by Cindy Chew)

By Karin Rush-Monroe, UC San Francisco

UC San Francisco has received a $40 million gift from angel investor and philanthropist Ron Conway, his wife Gayle, and sons Ronny, Topher and Danny, to help fund the outpatient medical building at the new UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay, which opens on Feb. 1 on UCSF’s world-renowned biomedical research campus. The outpatient medical building, a 207,500-square-foot facility that anchors the hospital complex, will house outpatient services for women, children and cancer patients.

In honor of the Conways’ generosity, UCSF will name the outpatient building the UCSF Ron Conway Family Gateway Medical Building.

UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay, a result of more than 10 years of planning and construction, comprises UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco, UCSF Betty Irene Moore Women’s Hospital and UCSF Bakar Cancer Hospital. The new facilities include a 289-bed hospital complex, with children’s emergency and outpatient services that will integrate research and medical advancements with patient-focused, compassionate care.​

Ron Conway is the founder of SV Angel and has worked with hundreds of startups including Google, Facebook, Zappos, Square, Airbnb, Dropbox, Pinterest  and Twitter. He also is a board member of the Salesforce.com Foundation and actively supports the tech civic organization sf.citi, College Track, Sandy Hook Promise, Americans for Responsible Solutions, Teach for America, THORN and Donors Choose.

“Ron and Gayle have been true partners with UCSF for more than a decade, and we are extremely grateful for their ongoing support. This building is significant for the connection it provides between the high-quality medical care patients will receive at our three specialty hospitals as inpatients, and the groundbreaking continuing care they will receive as outpatients,” said Sam Hawgood, M.B.B.S., chancellor of UCSF.

Ron Conway is a member of the UCSF Medical Center Campaign Cabinet and served on the UCSF Foundation Board for several years. He has been a generous fundraiser for and philanthropist to UCSF and in particular, UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco.

He also has been an active supporter of neurodegenerative disease research and treatment, through the UCSF Neuroscience Initiative, which brings together under one roof outstanding scientists and clinicians from multiple disciplines – and the core technologies that they need to be successful.

“Ron is known as an ‘angel’ investor, and that description certainly holds true for his passion to better the lives of patients at UCSF,” said Mark R. Laret, CEO of UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals. “As a public medical center, we depend on the generosity of people like Ron and Gayle to continue serving the patients of San Francisco as well as Northern California and beyond. The Conways have been generous not just through financial gifts but with their time, introducing UCSF to their colleagues throughout the technology sector and Silicon Valley in order to advance our mission of care, research and education.”

The UCSF Ron Conway Family Gateway Medical Building is expected to draw more than 1,500 outpatient visits daily, as well as serve as a teaching facility for students. It includes a cancer clinic and women’s health clinic, and pediatric clinic. Some outpatient clinics will begin opening on Jan. 26.

The new medical center, strategically located on UCSF’s 60.2-acre Mission Bay research campus, will enhance UCSF’s ecosystem of innovation by putting physicians in close proximity to researchers and near biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies in Mission Bay and beyond. The new cancer hospital, for example, will sit near the UCSF Helen Diller Family Cancer Research Building, where every day leading scientists are seeking causes and cures for cancer.

UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay also will feature the only operating hospital helipad in San Francisco to transport critically ill babies, children and pregnant women to the medical center from outlying hospitals.

“Gayle and I are proud to partner with UCSF to improve the health of the Bay Area. We have watched UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay grow from a concept to a magnificent hospital complex, and can think of no better investment than supporting patients who are accessing needed outpatient medical services,” Ron Conway said. “We encourage others to get involved with the new medical center philanthropically, as well as other programs at this leading institution.”

The total $1.5 billion cost of the Mission Bay Hospitals Project has been funded by UCSF Medical Center financing and private philanthropy. Of the $600 million fundraising goal, UCSF has raised $550 million.

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UC Health names chief procurement officer

Patrice Knight to start Jan. 1, will support ‘Leveraging for Scale’ initiative.

Patrice Knight

The University of California has appointed veteran supply chain executive Patrice Knight as associate vice president – chief procurement officer for UC Health. She will start Jan. 1.

Her appointment is a key position for UC Health’s efforts to better control costs and manage the overall enterprise more efficiently. As part of UC Health’s “Leveraging Scale for Value” initiative, her charge will be to develop programs and processes to achieve a target of $150 million in savings over three years at UC medical centers.

“We’re thrilled to have somebody with Patrice’s experience with procurement and supply chain to join the Leveraging Scale for Value effort,” said Dr. John Stobo, UC Health senior vice president. “She not only has the right experience but the right temperament for helping us achieve the savings in supply chain that we need.”

Knight has more than 30 years of procurement experience with IBM, including vice president-level positions in procurement, global supply, supply chain and strategic sourcing. Most recently, as vice president of procurement at IBM, she led a team of consultants and process managers that focused on year-over-year efficiency and effectiveness improvements across all businesses and delivered more than $200 million in return on investment over five years.

“I’m excited to be part of UC Health and to help accelerate the transformation of procurement and supply chain,” Knight said. “Adding program and process innovations to Leveraging Scale for Value will yield even greater savings, and support the ongoing mission of UC. I look forward to working with both the medical centers and the suppliers to enable these changes.”

UC Health launched the Leveraging Scale for Value initiative in March to reduce costs and enhance revenue at UC medical centers. Its initial focus is on supply chain, revenue cycle and clinical laboratories. The effort, developed in consultation with UC leadership, is aligned with UC President Janet Napolitano’s push to identify cost savings and operational efficiencies.

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UC San Diego Health System names chief experience officer

Thomas Savides to fill newly created role.

Thomas Savides, UC San Diego

By Jackie Carr, UC San Diego

Thomas Savides, M.D., has been named as the first chief experience officer at UC San Diego Health System. In the newly created role, Savides will be responsible for the strategy, leadership and implementation of the plan to improve the total health care experience of patients, families, providers and staff.

“At UC San Diego Health System, we recognize that engaged employees drive the patient experience and understand that every encounter we have with patients and their loved ones influences their perceptions of the care we deliver, the compassion we show and the value we provide,” said Paul Viviano, CEO, UC San Diego Health System. “We are excited to have Dr. Savides champion employee engagement and patient experience so that we can exceed our patients’ expectation in everything we do.”

Savides is tasked with helping to develop and lead a cultural transformation that results in new levels of patient care excellence that are grounded in innovative health care programs. He will motivate and inspire employees to continually strive for service excellence while promoting a culture where patient service and satisfaction are top of mind and continuously improved.

In 1993, Savides joined the UC San Diego Division of Gastroenterology. He is a nationally recognized expert in interventional gastrointestinal endoscopy, and currently serves as professor of clinical medicine, vice chair of strategic affairs for the Department of Medicine and clinical services chief in the Division of Gastroenterology.  During his tenure at UC San Diego Health System, Savides has served in other leadership positions including chair of Health Sciences Faculty Council, member of the UC San Diego Medical Group Board of Governors, interim chief of gastroenterology and GI clinical services chief.

Through his demonstrated expertise in leading organizational and cultural change, Savides will help to ensure that service excellence practices are sustained and remain highly visible to all employees, physicians and volunteers across the health system enterprise.

Savides completed his internal medicine and gastroenterology training at UCLA Medical Center after receiving his medical degree from UC San Diego School of Medicine and undergraduate degree from Harvard College. Savides has authored more than 175 publications including original research articles, invited reviews, books, chapters and videos.  He has been a governing board member of the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy and president of the San Diego Gastroenterology Society.

He consistently is named a “Top Doc” in San Diego Magazine’s “Physicians of Exceptional Excellence” annual survey performed in collaboration with the San Diego County Medical Society, as well as U.S. News & World Report’s “Top Doctors” in gastroenterology in the United States. He is a two-time recipient of UC San Diego Health System’s Attending Physician of the Year Award, and also received UC San Diego Health Sciences’ Faculty Award for Excellence in Clinical Care.

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