TAG: "Community partnerships"

Integrative medicine takes modern step

UC Irvine, Orange County arts school school team to create unique healing environment.

UC Irvine Health Family Health Center in Santa Ana is hopping with activity thanks, in part, to a troupe of student dancers from neighboring Orange County School of the Arts. The collaboration is part of a novel program that brings music and arts to clinical settings creating a calmer and more comfortable environment for patients.

Six OSCA dancers recently performed two contemporary routines in the lobby of the FHC to the surprise and amusement of unsuspecting patients and their families. Dancers sat alongside patients while they carried out their unique movements that included elements of ballet, modern and lyrical dancing.

This patient-centered approach to health and wellness focuses on treating the whole person including the mind, body and spirit and is part of UC Irvine Health’s Integrative Medicine Program.

“There have been a variety of studies demonstrating the health benefits of simple mind-body interventions, which include art, music, and laughter in addition to the more familiar mind-body techniques such as meditation,” said Dr. David Kilgore, director of integrative medicine at UC Irvine Health. “Our intent is to create a welcoming and less intimidating clinical setting that helps patients feel more at ease before meeting with their physician.”

In addition to the dance performances, the clinic has hosted musical performances and a poetry reading by OCSA students. The clinic also plans on displaying students’ artwork including paintings and ceramics.

A grant from the Samueli Foundation funds the integrative medicine program. Through this donation, the program integrates the best of Western scientific medicine with broader therapeutic approaches for patients to achieve optimal health and healing. A large focus of this health center is to bring preventive medicine to an underserved population.

“Our goal is to transform our sites from being a health care provider in the community to a community center that also happens to provide quality health care,” says Dirk Zirbel, Ph.D., associate director of UC Irvine Health Family Health Centers.

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UC Riverside hosting Palm Desert health fair, health exchange sign-up event

Certified counselors will provide Covered California enrollment assistance at March 21 event.

MEDIA ADVISORY: There will be a press conference associated with this event at 11 a.m. in the Building B Auditorium at the UC Riverside Palm Desert Campus. Present will be: Assemblyman V. Manual Perez; Edith Lara-Trad, regional information officer, Covered California; G. Richard Olds, dean of the UCR School of Medicine; Kathy Greco, CEO of the Desert Healthcare District; and Gary Honts, CEO of JFK Memorial Hospital.

UC Riverside Health will host a free health resource fair and sign-up event on Friday, March 21, to assist community members interested in enrolling in Covered California, the state health insurance exchange established in response to the federal Affordable Care Act.

The event is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the UCR Palm Desert Center, Building B Auditorium, 75-080 Frank Sinatra Dr. in Palm Desert. Parking will be free.

In addition to Covered California enrollment assistance, the event will include free basic health screenings by UCR Health physicians and Medi-Cal application assistance. English- and Spanish-speaking certified enrollment counselors will be available to assist with enrollment in Covered California health plans. The application process may take up to 90 minutes.

In order to enroll in a Covered California health plan, individuals should bring:

  • Proof of California residency (California driver’s license or California identification card or proof of citizenship/immigration status)
  • Social Security number
  • Total monthly income
  • Number of persons in the household

Appointments are available by calling (866) 893-8446.

The event is supported by several cities and community-based organizations in the Coachella Valley. In addition to UCR Health, the clinical arm of the UC Riverside School of Medicine, the event is being organized in partnership with Covered California, the Desert Healthcare Foundation, and the Path to Health Program of Desert Regional Medical Center and JFK Memorial Hospital. Path to Health is a campaign by JFK Memorial Hospital and Desert Regional Medical Center that offers educational materials and resources for navigating the insurance exchanges and the ACA.

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UC Davis Children’s Hospital teams with Sac Republic FC

The hospital will be season presenting partner for the soccer club’s inaugural season.

Sacramento Republic FC player Rodrigo Lopez visits the pediatrics unit at UC Davis Children's Hospital to bring cheer to patients.

Sacramento Republic FC player Rodrigo Lopez visits the pediatrics unit at UC Davis Children's Hospital to bring cheer to patients.

Improving children’s health is the goal for UC Davis Children’s Hospital, as it teams up with Sacramento professional soccer team Sac Republic FC for its inaugural season.

The three-year exclusive agreement was announced today (Dec. 5) in a press conference and kickoff event at UC Davis Medical Center.

“Teaming with Sacramento Republic FC is a great way for UC Davis Children’s Hospital to educate younger generations about the benefits of healthy living and raise awareness among all soccer fans that physical activity is essential to good health,” said Ann Madden Rice, chief executive officer of UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento. “Our success with Sacramento Soccer Day in July demonstrated how effective this partnership can be as a way to make a difference in the well-being of children, young adults and our entire community, and we are proud to be a presenting partner.”

The new Sac Republic FC soccer jersey features the UC Davis Children's Hospital wordmark.

The new Sac Republic FC soccer jersey features the UC Davis Children's Hospital wordmark.

The press conference featured remarks by UC Davis Medical Center CEO Ann Madden Rice and Sac Republic FC president/founder Warren Smith and the screening of the team’s launch video entitled “The Chant.” The new team jersey, which featured UC Davis Children’s Hospital’s wordmark positioned across the front, was also unveiled for the first time, worn by young UC Davis patients.

“Soccer is the only sport in which the commitment we demonstrate to our partners is literally written across our chests,” said Smith. “We are honored to partner with an organization that is improving the quality of life for thousands in our region, not just in health care and research, but also as an economic force through jobs, technology and education. UC Davis Children’s Hospital is a champion for this indomitable city and we are proud to partner with them on and off the pitch.”

In addition to their placement on the jersey, UC Davis Children’s Hospital will serve as the “Season Presenting Partner” and the official medical provider for the club. UC Davis Medical Center will provide health-care services for Sacramento Republic FC players and personnel including treatment by the Sports Medicine Program and a team of physicians led by Eric Giza and Jeff Tanji.

UC Davis Children’s Hospital previously partnered with Sac Republic FC in July as part of Sacramento Soccer Day, an event to promote fun, active, healthy lifestyles among thousands of children, soccer players and fans of all ages in the greater Sacramento region. More than 14,000 people attended the sold-out event.

Sacramento Republic FC is an expansion franchise of United Soccer League (USL PRO). The club will launch its inaugural USL PRO season in 2014 and play its matches at an 8,000-seat multiuse facility at Cal Expo, pending approval by the Cal Expo board of directors on Dec. 13. The club’s commitment to position Sacramento as an “indomitable city” is evident through its community investments and goal of Major League Soccer (MLS) expansion by 2016. The club has taken steps to build the franchise with the highest caliber of talent, both on and off the field, in preparation for a MLS franchise including the hiring of head coach Predrag “Preki” Radosavljevic. The club’s motto is urbs indomita – Indomitable City. Indomitable Club.

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Cedars, UCLA, Select Medical plan to open rehabilitation hospital

Future 138-bed facility to provide advanced treatment for acute injuries.

David Feinberg, UCLA

David Feinberg, UCLA

Cedars–Sinai, UCLA Health System and Select Medical today (Dec. 3) announced a partnership to create a 138-bed acute inpatient rehabilitation hospital located in the former Century City Hospital.

With an expected opening in late 2015, the new hospital will serve the growing needs of the community for inpatient rehabilitation and is also expected to serve as a center for treating complex rehabilitation cases from around the nation.

The vision of the joint venture, an LLC partnership among the parties, is to develop a world-class regional rehabilitation center providing highly specialized care, advanced treatment and leading-edge technologies to treat individuals with spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, strokes, amputations, neurological disorders, and musculoskeletal and orthopedic conditions.

Currently, both Cedars–Sinai and UCLA Health System provide acute inpatient rehabilitation services at their respective facilities. Both of these facilities are usually full, as capacity is limited (28 beds at Cedars–Sinai and 11 beds at UCLA). When the new hospital opens, Cedars–Sinai and UCLA Health System would transition their acute inpatient rehabilitation services to the facility.

The new facility will be operated by Select Medical, a leading provider of long-term acute care services with hospital and outpatient locations in 44 states, including the renowned Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation in New Jersey. Select Medical has partnered with a number of academic medical centers, including Baylor Health Care System and Penn State Hershey, to manage and operate similar rehabilitation hospitals.

“As one of the most highly respected academic medical centers and health systems in the world, UCLA is delighted to join forces and share expertise with Cedars–Sinai and Select Medical, a preeminent provider of post–acute care in the United States,” said Dr. David T. Feinberg, president of UCLA Health System, CEO of the UCLA Hospital System and associate vice chancellor for health sciences at UCLA. “The addition of this rehabilitation facility will be of extraordinary benefit to the people of Los Angeles.”

“This exciting project is a natural progression of Cedars–Sinai’s mission to provide the highest level of patient care while supporting medical innovation,” said Thomas M. Priselac, president and CEO of Cedars–Sinai Health System. “Meeting the health needs of the community, state and nation often requires a new type of partnership, and we look forward to working with UCLA Health System and Select Medical to create a highly advanced, comprehensive rehabilitation center for patients.”

“UCLA Health System and Cedars–Sinai are two pillars in medicine, and we are honored to work with them,” said David S. Chernow, president of Select Medical. “In fact, the joint venture is already creating synergies among the three partners. For example, we will feature an open medical staff model led by a core group of physician leaders from both UCLA Health System and Cedars–Sinai. At the same time, Select Medical has begun to share lessons learned and best practices from our experience running top-tier medical rehabilitation hospitals. All of it should add up to a new destination for patients for years to come.”

Earlier this year, a feasibility study found that appropriate seismic retrofitting would enable the former Century City Hospital facility to meet seismic safety standards and all necessary licensure requirements to be operated as a rehabilitation hospital. The building’s current owner has begun infrastructure and modernization work to bring the building up to standards. The preparation work will be completed in 2015 and will allow building occupancy until 2030.

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Lockheed Martin funds new telehealth suite for Operation Mend

$4M gift also includes enhanced recovery area for wounded warriors treated at UCLA.

Thanks to a $4 million gift from Lockheed Martin, UCLA Health System’s Operation Mend now has a state-of-the-art telehealth suite, which will enable improved communication between the program’s personnel, patients and partners, and a renovated recovery area for the wounded warriors who undergo surgery at the Westwood facility.

The new Lockheed Martin UCLA TeleHealth Suite and Lockheed Martin Outpatient Recovery Suites for the Wounded Warriors of Operation Mend were officially dedicated at a ceremony on Nov. 18. The Operation Mend program provides reconstructive surgeries and other health care services to U.S. military personnel severely wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Lockheed Martin is honored to partner with UCLA and Operation Mend to make sure that our wounded warriors receive the best medical care possible,” said Bob Stevens, Lockheed Martin’s executive chairman. “The Lockheed Martin Outpatient Recovery Suites and TeleHealth Suite will strengthen the capabilities of Operation Mend for the benefit of our military heroes and their families, and we are proud to support this important mission.”

Lockheed Martin’s gift provided funding for two important areas of need. First, the advanced telehealth suite sets a new benchmark for face-to-face telecommunications, enabling better consultation, collaboration and coordinated care among UCLA, members of the military, patients and other medical institutions, and fostering innovative new research in the field of regenerative medicine for military veterans and active-duty service members.

Highlights of the telehealth suite include three 65-inch screens with the ability to deliver three high-definition video streams simultaneously and one high-definition, full-motion content sharing stream. The system allows UCLA personnel to edit, manipulate and add to shared content through the use of a high-tech touch panel for optimal collaboration with colleagues and patients.

“Operation Mend is based at UCLA, but the team often collaborates with doctors, case coordinators or members of the military located in other states,” said Dr. Christopher Crisera, Operation Mend’s co–medical director. “Additionally, while patients undergo treatment at UCLA, most live out of state and return home after surgery. The new telehealth suite will allow face-to-face communication in many types of situations, providing improved communications as well as alleviating the need for travel to meet in person. Telehealth is fast becoming the wave of the future in medicine, and this system helps us advance the delivery of care.”

Second, the gift supported the renovation of Operation Mend’s surgical waiting room and pre- and post-operative recovery areas, upgrades that will enhance the patient experience during multiple surgeries and help the program better accommodate patients’ family members. The improvements were part of Operation Mend’s broader Ambulatory Surgical Center Enhancement Project, which also included the addition of four private patient recovery suites and four new high-tech surgical suites.

Following surgery, Operation Mend patients will be transported to one of the four renovated private recovery suites, where the post-operative team will monitor blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, respiratory rate and pain. When the effects of anesthesia have diminished, visits from family members are permitted. The enhancement project also included the addition of a private consultation room to create a more accommodating ambience for patients’ families.

“On behalf of the wounded warriors we serve, we are so grateful for the new telehealth suite and renovated recovery room that were made possible by such a significant gift,” said Dr. David T. Feinberg, president of UCLA Health System, CEO of UCLA Hospital System and associate vice chancellor for health sciences. “The results of this gift have greatly enhanced the physical surroundings where the patients are cared for and allow our doctors to consult with our military partners using the best technology available. Lockheed Martin’s commitment to UCLA’s Operation Mend program and all that UCLA Health System does for military patients ensures our ability to provide critical treatment for future wounded military personnel in the years to come.”

Established in 2007, Operation Mend is a unique partnership among UCLA Health System, Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio and the Veterans Affairs Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System. To date, nearly 100 men and women from all branches of the military have participated in the program.

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Three decades in the heart of Skid Row

UCLA clinic delivers care where it’s needed most.

Suzette Cardin, assistant dean of student affairs at the UCLA School of Nursing, talks to a patient at the clinic in the Union Rescue Mission about medication. Cardin was one of several representatives who talked to mission guests about health at a 30th anniversary celebration.

Suzette Cardin, assistant dean of student affairs at the UCLA School of Nursing, talks to a patient at the clinic in the Union Rescue Mission about medication. Cardin was one of several representatives who talked to mission guests about health at a 30th anniversary celebration.

Thirty years ago, the Union Rescue Mission in downtown L.A. contacted the UCLA School of Nursing with an intriguing request: Would the school be interested in providing nursing services to homeless adults and children staying at the mission?

Back then, very little was known about the homeless population encamped in the gritty neighborhood of shabby buildings and sidewalks they regarded as “home.” What was a mere 15 miles away might just as well have been a continent away when it came to the distance that separated West Los Angeles from downtown Skid Row. Few health care providers knew how to reach or even treat this forgotten sliver of humanity that remained out of sight and out of mind as L.A. expanded around them.

“At that time, there was little data on the homeless,” recalled Ada Lindsey, who was dean of the School of Nursing when the request was made. “Nobody really knew whether they would come to any clinics for healthcare or whether they would come back for follow-up visits. Nobody even knew much about what kinds of health problems they had.”

But the prospect of reaching out to this underserved transient population and learning from these experiences generated excitement at the school. Soon they realized that there was a need for more comprehensive health services. Could a nurse-managed clinic provide quality primary health care to the homeless and indigent? Would such a clinic be accepted? Could the nursing staff win their trust?

Today, the UCLA Nursing Health Clinic at the Union Rescue Mission has become a national model for its delivery of health care to the poor and homeless. Celebrating its 30th anniversary this month, it is one of the oldest and largest clinics of its kind in the country. And it is also the only shelter-based health clinic in the city that provides health care, not just for homeless men, but women and children as well.

“It means a great deal to me,” said one homeless man staying at the shelter. “People who are homeless — that are down-and-out on their luck, you know — they have medical facilities available to them that help them out.

“It means a great deal,” he reiterated.

Since its founding, the clinic, which manages both acute and chronic illnesses, has provided care in more than 250,000 patient visits. Last year alone, its small staff of six provided comprehensive medical services to more than 2,500 people.

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Community impact: Nurse-run clinics

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Edith Sanford partners with Athena Breast Health Network

Partnership brings personalized breast cancer risk assessment to Sanford patients.

Edith Sanford Breast Cancer (ESBC), part of the Sanford Health system based in Sioux Falls, S.D., today (Nov. 13) announced it is partnering with the Athena Breast Health Network, a University of California program, to advance the use of a personalized breast cancer risk assessment.

The innovative program includes a breast cancer risk assessment tool and a care plan for high-risk patients. Additionally, it will offer patients the opportunity to participate in research aimed at gaining a better understanding of breast cancer and its risk factors, ultimately raising the standard of care for women everywhere. This program marks another milestone in ESBC’s mission to end breast cancer

Athena Breast Health Network is a collaboration among the five University of California medical centers. ESBC is its first partner outside of California and was selected because of its expertise in breast cancer genomics and its ability to integrate the risk assessment into patient care.

“This new partnership allows us to use the latest risk assessment technology to uncover a woman’s potential to develop breast cancer and to then to develop customized care plans for her,” said Thomas Cink, M.D., a fellowship-trained breast radiologist with Edith Sanford. “A risk factor is anything that increases a person’s chance of developing cancer. Risk factors don’t necessarily mean a woman will develop breast cancer, but understanding them allows a woman and her physician to make more informed health care and lifestyle choices.”

As part of the new standard of care, prior to a breast screening (mammogram) appointment, Sanford Health patients will complete an Athena screening questionnaire online at home or in the clinic. Patients identified with an elevated risk will be referred to additional resources and specialists including risk-reduction programs and/or genetic counseling.

The risk assessment process evaluation includes the following risk factors for breast cancer:

  • Age
  • Personal history of breast cancer
  • Family history of breast cancer
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Personal history of ovarian cancer
  • Lifestyle (weight, smoking, alcohol use)
  • Dense breasts
  • Postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy
  • Race/ethnicity
  • Previous radiation exposure
  • Lobular Carcinoma In Situ (LCIS)
  • Atypical hyperplasia found in breast biopsy

In the near future, Athena will integrate breast density and small variations in inherited gene profiles, or so-called single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPS), into the standard risk assessment process. The Athena Breast Health Network already has collected patient-reported data on more than 41,000 women and 7,900 biospecimens from women across the state of California. In addition, the network has identified 673 women at elevated risk for breast cancer and completed 466 elevated-risk consultations with breast health specialists.

Sanford patients who complete the survey also will be given the opportunity to participate in research to further scientific knowledge on the development of breast cancer. One of the program goals is to engage the support of 4,000 women diagnosed with breast cancer to participate in a study to identify DNA, or genetic, markers.

“This milestone collaboration will benefit our patients today and women everywhere tomorrow,” said Brian Leyland-Jones, M.B.B.S., Ph.D., director of Edith Sanford’s genomic research program.  “With the help of those women who volunteer to participate in the study and through genomic sequencing, we will strive to better understand what drives breast cancer at the molecular level so we can improve treatment and someday prevent the disease altogether.”

“Our goal is to learn who is at risk for what kind of breast cancer and tailor screening and prevention accordingly,” said Laura Esserman, M.D., M.B.A., founding director of Athena and director of the UCSF Breast Care Center. “We welcome the participation of Sanford Health in this exciting practice-changing endeavor.”

Sanford Health will begin implementing the Athena screening and risk assessment model in pilot locations in the coming months. Athena will be implemented across the Sanford Health system beginning in 2014.

About Sanford Health and Edith Sanford Breast Cancer
Sanford Health is the largest rural nonprofit health care system in the nation with locations in 126 communities, in nine states. In addition, this dynamic integrated health system is now developing international clinics in Ghana, Israel and Mexico. Sanford Health has more than 26,000 employees, and includes 39 hospitals, 140 clinic locations and 1,360 physicians in 81 specialty areas of medicine.

In 2011, Sanford Health announced the launch of the Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Initiative, a bold new endeavor to end breast cancer, comprised of state-of-the-art patient care, genomic research and national fundraising through the Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Foundation. For more information, visit edithsanford.org.

About Athena Breast Care Network
The Athena Breast Health Network (Athena) is a unique collaboration among the five University of California (UC) medical/cancer centers (UC Davis, UC Irvine, UCLA, UC San Diego and UCSF), the Graduate School of Public Health at UC Berkeley, and many other public and private partners. The Network takes a transdisciplinary approach by design, and its participants work together across fields including: epidemiology, genetics, molecular biology, psychology and social and behavioral sciences, primary care, radiology, pathology, oncology, surgery and health services research. Also included are clinical staff and genetic counselors, health information technology professionals, health care administrators, and importantly, patient advocates.

Athena is integrating clinical care and research in order to revolutionize the delivery of breast care. By standardizing the collection of data from both patients and physicians, integrating molecular profiling at the time of breast cancer diagnosis, and creating an unparalleled biospecimen repository, Athena will enable personalized care informed by science and will fuel continuous improvement in treatment options and outcomes.

Key components of Athena include:

  • Identifying women at high risk for breast cancer who will be offered prevention services and decision support
  • A comprehensive informatics strategy that includes tools to collect, analyze, and distribute clinical and research data in real time
  • Web-based decision tools for patients and providers to translate clinical evidence into actionable treatment options – allowing physicians to tailor treatment to biology, patient preference and clinical performance
  • A data and biospecimen repository to support large-scale, longitudinal studies that will enable tailored prevention and treatment strategies

Underpinning these goals is a culture that supports continuous improvement, as well as a commitment by Athena clinicians and researchers across California to share data. With this unique collaboration, Athena aims to change the options for patients today and create a better future for all women at risk of developing breast cancer.

UC disclaimer
The information stated above was prepared by Sanford Health and reflects solely the opinion of the health system. Nothing in this statement shall be construed to imply any support or endorsement of Sanford, or any of its products, by The Regents of the University of California, its officers, agents and employees.

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2013 Bay Area Science Festival brings thousands to ballpark

Popular festival produced by UCSF’s Science & Health Education Partnership.

About 30,000 people came out to Discovery Day at AT&T Park, the culmination of the 10-day Bay Area Science Festival, on Nov. 4.

About 30,000 people came out to Discovery Day at AT&T Park, the culmination of the 10-day Bay Area Science Festival, on Nov. 4.

The Bay Area Science Festival capped its third annual run with a huge turnout for Discovery Day at AT&T Park.

About 30,000 people flooded the ballpark on Nov. 4 to check out more than 150 interactive science exhibits, including a virtual reality experience, a tour of human organs in the Giants dugout and an opportunity to build your own Legoscope, a working microscope made from toy building block pieces.

San Francisco Board of Supervisor’s President David Chiu welcomed the crowd at 11 a.m., with an official ribbon-cutting by a member of the Robot Zoo. The robots, on display in Willie Mays Plaza, were later pitted against each other for a Frisbee-throwing challenge.

Produced by the Science & Health Education Partnership (SEP) at UC San Francisco, the 10-day festival involved a number of science institutions, including UC Berkeley, Stanford University, the California Academy of Sciences, the Chabot Space & Science Center and the Tech Museum. While the festival culminated with the AT&T Park event, families got a chance to play and explore science throughout the Bay Area, with Discovery Day-North Bay at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds and Discovery Day-East Bay hosted by Cal State East Bay.

In total, nearly 70,000 people participated in this year’s Bay Area Science Festival events, according to festival director Kishore Hari.

The 2013 festival may now be over, but the fun doesn’t end there: Check out the festival website for related events throughout the year.

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Free health care clinic

UCLA health care staff help treat thousands at Care Harbor clinic.

A team of more than 200 UCLA health professionals helped staff a free health care clinic last week that provided vital basic medical services to approximately 3,000 uninsured and underserved people in Los Angeles.

They were among the nearly 3,000 medical and general volunteers at Care Harbor’s annual urban health clinic — held Oct. 31 through Nov. 3 at the Los Angeles Sports Arena just south of downtown Los Angeles — who provided more than 5,700 medical, dental and vision exams.

“To me it’s part of the mission of being a physician to care for people,” said Dr. Colin McCannel, a UCLA ophthalmologist. ” It’s part of what I should be doing so doing it makes me feel like I’m doing what I’m supposed to.”

There were 16 volunteers from UCLA Jules Stein Eye Institute, who conducted eye exams, donated 10 free cataract surgeries and prescribed free eye glasses. UCLA’s team also included seven doctors from family medicine, 17 general internists, and one physician from internal medicine/pediatrics, as well as some specialists and medical students.

The Care Harbor clinic provides a wide range of services for people who lack the means to get medical care on a regular basis. The health professionals screened for diabetes and hypertension, administered immunizations, offered mental health counseling and provided teeth cleanings, among many other basic services. For those patients who had more severe problems or conditions that required longer term care, the volunteers provided referrals to followup services.

The UCLA School of Dentistry staffed 10 dental chairs providing oral hygiene services for hundreds of patients.

“Service is part of the core missions and I want to take every opportunity I can to give back,” said Dr. Edmond Hewlett, a professor in the school of dentistry.

In addition to the doctors, UCLA volunteers included nearly 80 nurses from Ronald Reagan UCLA and Santa Monica medical centers; six clinical lab scientists and a pathologist from the department of pathology who interpreted the pap smears; and six nurse practitioners.

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From welfare to work: EXCEL program becomes model of success

UCSF workforce development program training empowers low-income San Franciscans.

EXCEL graduate Kaya Lewis, center, smiles as she is introduced to deliver a speech at the program's latest graduation ceremony on Oct. 25. (Photo by Cindy Chew)

EXCEL graduate Kaya Lewis, center, smiles as she is introduced to deliver a speech at the program's latest graduation ceremony on Oct. 25.

Many of those selected for UC San Francisco’s EXCEL program share a similar spirit: Despite tough circumstances or mistakes that left them unable to find a job, they possess the will and determination to turn their lives around.

UCSF’s flagship workforce development program has provided the opportunity to do just that.

A recent study conducted by an independent firm found that 80 percent of EXCEL graduates were employed six months after completing the program, making it the most successful workforce development program under San Francisco’s Jobs Now initiative.

James Whelly, manager of the Workforce Development Division of the city’s Human Services Agency, said the city is using the EXCEL success story to convince other employers to start similar programs and spread the gospel of workforce training outside San Francisco.

“We’ve used the UCSF model as a kind of ‘cherry on the top’ demonstration to show senior policymakers from Washington how programs like this can actually work successfully to move individuals from welfare to work,” Whelly said. “We tell them, ‘This can work. Don’t talk to us. Talk to UCSF. Look at the results.’”

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UCLA dental school teams with community bank to serve neighbors in need

Nearly 250 local residents receive free oral health screenings.

A woman being examined at the UCLA dental clinic inside the lobby of Wilshire Bank in Koreatown.It was anything but a typical Saturday at the bank. On Oct. 12, inside the lobby of Wilshire Bank in Koreatown, nearly 250 local residents lined up for oral health screening appointments offered free of charge by UCLA School of Dentistry students, residents and faculty.

For many of the primarily Korean participants, this was their first dental check-up in several years — not so surprising in the low-income community, and a factor that had prompted the bank to collaborate with UCLA to bring free dental care to its neighbors in a new program set to take place every year for five years. A $100,000 pledge to the dental school from Wilshire Bank – which is headquartered in Los Angeles but has 28 branches in four states — helped cover the costs of bringing in 30 dental students and 17 supervising faculty and residents who volunteered their services during the inaugural event. The funding also helped pay for topical fluoride treatments and dental home care kits given to those in dire need of dental care.

In addition, the School of Dentistry will contribute more than $100,000 in in-kind donations including faculty time and expertise, and additional supplies and staff support in the school clinic.

But the check-ups at the bank were just the beginning: Of the 250 people who were seen, about half were referred for free follow-up treatment a week later, on Oct. 19, at several of the dental school’s more than a dozen clinics in Westwood, with Wilshire Bank providing the patients with free transportation.

A number of the patients presented very complex cases requiring multiple procedures and treatment from multidisciplinary dental teams.

“I was told by some patients that the service and attention they received at the screening and treatment days was much more thorough than what they experienced at a private dentist,” said Dr. Paulo Camargo, associate dean of clinical dental sciences, who was in charge of coordinating the treatment day.

Ultimately, it is hoped, this collaborative effort will prompt patients from the Koreatown community to maintain their oral health by becoming regular patients of the UCLA dental clinics.

“The partnership we have embarked on with Wilshire Bank is a testament to both organizations’ commitment to the health of the people in the community,” said Dr. No-Hee Park, dean of the UCLA School of Dentistry. “These screenings and corresponding treatment create an opportunity for those severely lacking in access to receive definitive dental care and oral health education at the UCLA School of Dentistry’s clinics.”

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Bay Area Science Festival features events for all ages

10-day festival runs through Nov. 2.

Zoe Ghislain, 7, left, and brother Max, 6, look at a sheep's heart during Discovery Days at AT&T Park in 2012.

Zoe Ghislain, 7, left, and brother Max, 6, look at a sheep's heart during Discovery Days at AT&T Park in 2012.

Let scientists demonstrate how to play with your food at the local farmer’s market. Learn how to survive a zombie attack on Halloween night. Or sip a cocktail in the company of robots.

The third annual Bay Area Science Festival is rolling out a variety of fun, informative events for all ages to celebrate the role of science, engineering and technology in the region and around the world. Produced by the Science & Health Education Partnership (SEP) at UC San Francisco, the 10-day festival involves a number of science institutions, including UC Berkeley, Stanford University, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the California Academy of Sciences, the Chabot Space & Science Center, and the Tech Museum.

The festival kicked off Thursday (Oct. 24) at the new Exploratorium in San Francisco with an “After Dark” event that featured a series of guest lectures and the debut of Homouroboros, a large-scale interactive zoetrope by artist Peter Hudson, in the public plaza at Pier 15.

More than 30 events later, the festival culminates with Discovery Days at AT&T Park on Saturday, Nov. 2, when the entire ballpark will be transformed into a playground for science exploration. The free daylong event, which drew more than 30,000 people last year, will have 150 exhibits, as well as the first-ever Robot Zoo showcasing innovations curated by the Silicon Valley Robotics.

Check out the full event schedule on the Bay Area Science Festival website.

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Match Day at UC San Diego School of Medicine

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UC Davis: Investigating liver cancer disparities

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