TAG: "Patient care"

Helping seriously ill children and their families cope with the unfathomable


Hospital team delivers compassionate care as a child dies.

UCLA social worker Gina Korfeind, a member of the Children's Pain and Comfort Care team based at Mattel Children's Hospital, and some of the families the team has helped get through the trauma of losing a child or sibling. (Photo by Ann Johansson)

By Marina Dundjerski

The news Jeannie Malabanan received last January was devastating. Following a year of difficult and aggressive chemotherapy for a rare bone tumor, the cancer at the base of her daughter Ashlee’s spine had metastasized to her brain. After a recurrence of her symptoms, Ashlee began to have seizures and was re-hospitalized at UCLA.

That’s when the Children’s Pain and Comfort Care (CPCC) team was called in to assist. “They talked to us and supported us, and provided Ashlee with as much quality care as was possible during this end-stage of her life,” Malabanan said. “Basically, they helped our family to process and survive this ordeal.”

Ashlee decided to forego further treatment and to stay in the hospital. “It was a hard choice for us to accept — as a parent, you want to keep your child alive for as long as you can,” her mother said. “But I know keeping Ashlee alive was not what she wanted. She didn’t want to just be breathing and not have any quality of life.”

During the two weeks when Ashlee was hospitalized, the CPCC team worked with her primary medical team and others to provide whatever assistance was possible. “They came by regularly to make sure her last days were as comfortable as possible as she fell deeper into her terminal illness,” Malabanan recalled. “They let us know that we were not alone and that if we wanted them, they would be with us every step of the way.”

The Chase Child Life Program of Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA created a plaque with Ashlee’s palm print, and the CPCC team had her fingerprint replicated on more than a dozen pendants for family members to wear. When Ashlee lost consciousness, her wishes were known. Arrangements were made so that family members could stay with her; they never left Ashlee’s side until the end. She was 21 years old when she died.

Since it was established in 2008, UCLA’s CPCC program in Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA has worked to succor pediatric, adolescent and young-adult patients like Ashlee in their days of need and to help their families grapple with the unfathomable: the death of a child. While the broad-based CPCC team includes a psychologist, three physicians, nurse practitioner, a social worker bereavement coordinator and chaplain, among others, the frontline clinical-service team, including physicians and nurse practitioner, sees some 200 patients a year in the hospital setting and another 325 patients through its outpatient clinic.

Taking an interdisciplinary approach to address the core goals of care decisions, pain and symptom management and bereavement support, the team has a mission to enhance the comfort and quality of life for children with complex medical conditions and for their families. They work to relieve symptoms of disease or its treatment and to address psychological, social and spiritual needs.

Said Malabanan: “That extra support and compassion is amazing. I’m so grateful that they were there for Ashlee and for us.”

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Boy battling cancer honored as UCLA’s No. 1 sports fan


He’s chosen as first Kid Captain by the basketball team and Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA.

Logan Nobriga, with ball, and friends cheering at Bruins basketball game.

By Amy Albin, UCLA

Logan Nobriga, a 10-year-old-boy who is battling cancer, never expected he’d see his story played out on the giant monitor at Pauley Pavilion. But on Wednesday, he stood on the basketball court before the tip-off of a game watching a video about the fight of his young life.

Logan, who comes from Oak Park, was honored at the Bruins’ game against UC Riverside as the first “Kid Captain” selected by Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA and the UCLA Men’s Basketball team. The new program will recognize UCLA pediatric patients who face life-threatening illnesses with courage, strength and determination.

Logan, who has spent half of his young life in the battle against acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), is an inspiration to everyone, a hospital staff member said.

“Logan, who transforms his hospital room into a ‘sports zone,’ has been known to play a couple of wild games of basketball in the hospital, even when he was in the intensive care unit,” said Hilary Gan, a child-life specialist with the Chase Child Life program at Mattel. “Recently, he donated his birthday presents to the other children in the hospital.”

On Wednesday night, Logan high-fived Bruin players as they entered the court at the start of the game and then took a complimentary courtside seat with a friend he invited before having dinner at Pauley Pavilion.

“My college basketball team is definitely UCLA,” said Logan, a huge sports fan, in the video.

IIn 2009, he was diagnosed with ALL, a type of cancer of the blood and bone marrow. In 2013, he relapsed and is currently receiving chemotherapy as an outpatient.

“Having ALL … you don’t get to do a lot of other things that kids do,” he said on the video. So being treated as UCLA’s No. 1 Bruin fan with all the perks, including getting the game ball, was a special moment for him.

“We are excited to partner with our colleagues at Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA to recognize these special young patients who inspire us all with their stories of hope and courage,” added Paul Engl, general manager of IMG College Los Angeles, the official sports marketing agency for UCLA Athletics.

See Logan’s story:

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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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The art of healing


The concept is drawing increasing interest from the medical and science communities.

By Kathleen Masterson and Suzanne Leigh, UC San Francisco

Seated at a table dotted with paintbrushes, pencils and curios, Hideka Suzuki is creating an abstract on a small canvas. It’s not an idle craft project; for her, it’s a form of therapy.

“Sometimes I don’t even know what I’m thinking until I sit down and start drawing. Then my feelings come out on paper,” said Suzuki, a teacher in remission from uterine cancer.

She’s a participant at Art for Recovery, a pioneering program at the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center that has brought patients together since 1988 under the philosophy that creating art – no skills required – has a central role in healing.

It’s hard to empirically measure that impact because so many of art’s benefits are indirect, said Theresa Allison, M.D., Ph.D., an assistant professor in the UCSF Division of Geriatrics who has a background in musical anthropology. But, she said, therapies that benefit a patient’s emotional wellbeing can have real impact on overall health.

“We are finally at a tipping point, where the health sciences recognize the impact of loneliness and depression on health care outcomes, and we recognize the positive impact of visual and performing arts on symptoms management,” Allison said.

“Now we’re starting to ask why, and to bring in the science to study art’s impact. National funding agencies are starting to support this, and we’re going to see a lot of research emerge in upcoming years.”

Over the last few decades, a growing body of studies and anecdotal evidence suggesting that art is healing have driven the incorporation of art into medical settings. Nearly half of the health care institutions in the United States reported including arts in health care programming, ranging from art and music therapy to featuring visual art in hospitals.

“It’s a huge opportunity to think about using different modes of healing,” said Julene Johnson, Ph.D., a cognitive neuroscientist and professor at the UCSF Institute for Health & Aging. She’s running a study measuring the health impacts of singing in a choir. “The nice thing about the arts is our long, long history of using music and arts for healing across thousands of years, and the fact that it’s relatively low cost to implement.”

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UCSF nursing expands palliative care training


Nursing school starts palliative care minor for advanced practice nursing students.

UCSF School of Nursing professor DorAnne Donesky works with a patient, teaching her to exercise safely without overtaxing her lungs. (Photo by Elisabeth Fall)

By Kathleen Masterson, UC San Francisco

People who live with serious chronic illness often bounce in and out of the hospital, struggle to get the treatment they need and overall experience a poor quality of life.

Now, increasing research is supporting what many health care providers have long known: comprehensive palliative care that treats both symptoms and a person’s emotional needs can significantly improve a patient’s daily life – and in many cases prolong life, too.

These known successes are a big part of why the UCSF School of Nursing started a new palliative care minor for advanced practice nursing students.

The recent push also came from both hospitals looking to hire and nursing students who asked for more palliative care training, said DorAnne Donesky, Ph.D., ANP-BC, a nursing professor who spearheaded the creation of the minor with palliative care physician Wendy Anderson, M.S., M.D.

“Employers also came to us saying, ‘We’re hiring lots of palliative care providers and new graduates who are coming to us are not well prepared,’” said Donesky. Hospital hiring teams told Donesky that they would hire nurses specifically trained in palliative care first if they were choosing between multiple job candidates.

Donesky has seen the benefits of palliative care firsthand with her patients who have chronic lung and heart conditions.

She recalls one patient diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and heart failure whose doctors gave her a few months to live. The patient was put on hospice, given medication and nonpharmacologic strategies for symptom control and trained with breathing techniques. With this simple but attentive care, she “graduated” from hospice and a year later she’s medically stable, enjoying her family, home and daily gym exercise.

Meeting a growing need

The UCSF palliative care minor is designed to match the national competencies for palliative care so students can take the certification exam.  The minor includes two base courses and an elective, and Donesky also works with students to get them a clinical placement with a palliative care faculty mentor.  For certification students need 500 hours of practice, which they begin to accumulate during the minor.

Palliative care focuses on treating the whole patient with the goal of improving quality of life by addressing everything from symptoms to emotions to family members’ concerns. Research has shown that palliative care improves patients’ symptoms, including pain and depression. And some data suggest that compared to regular care, it prolongs life.

“People are realizing that symptom management and quality of life are really important, separate aspects of care,” said Donesky.

In addition to offering patients standard medications for pain and symptoms, palliative care nurses also teach patients non-pharmaceutical approaches to managing their own health. Donesky said her patients with lung illnesses benefit from learning simple breathing techniques and incorporating exercise into their daily routines. These successes aren’t only good for the patient, it also helps to avoid unnecessary and costly emergency department visits and lengthy hospital stays. While this coordinated care relies on a team of health care providers, in most cases it’s more efficient and more cost effective.

“Palliative care is a team sport,” said Donesky; the core team typically includes a nurse, a physician, a chaplain and a social worker, but varies depending on a patient’s needs. Together these providers work to give patients back some control over their health by training them with techniques to manage pain and self care.   

Donesky said when people hear palliative care, many think of the dying.  While hospice does provide palliative care for end of life patients, palliative care as a whole is really about creating the best quality of life for patients with acute or chronic illnesses or cancer that can be managed, sometimes for years or decades.

Treating the emotional side, too

Oftentimes a big part of treatment is helping patients cope with the emotional distress that their diagnosis brings up.

“A lot of patients are in distress related to relationships that have not been mended, or thinking about where their place is in the world, will their life have meaning, what will be their legacy after they’re gone. Those more spiritual issues are also addressed in palliative care,” said Donesky.

That’s why a big focus of the UCSF palliative care minor is communication skills, from difficult conversations with patients’ families to addressing a patient’s emotional concerns.

Donesky has an extensive background in navigating these kinds of health care communications, including ongoing training with VitalTalk, a highly respected training program that developed out of NIH-funded research. She’s incorporating these techniques in teaching her students.

“As clinicians, it’s scary to talk about these topics, we might be afraid we’re going to open a can of worms,” said Donesky. “But if instead of resisting, we jump in, and say, ‘I suspect you’re having concern with: fill in the blank.’ Often, it just opens the floodgates, and it doesn’t take that long to solve it.”

Donesky said employers specifically want to hire nurses who have advanced training in managing and negotiating these kinds of conversations.

UCSF nursing master’s student Julia Itsikson agrees.

“I believe communication is a cornerstone of this whole program,” Itsikson said. “This is really the bottom line, how do you approach sensitive topics at critical pivotal moment of somebody’s life — it’s not easy.”

Itsikson was accepted into the palliative care minor, which just began this quarter. In addition to coursework, Itsikson is doing clinical work at Laguna Honda Hospital and Rehabilitation Center, where there’s an entire unit that focuses on palliative care.

Itsikson said learning firsthand from an experienced nurse has been invaluable: “I watch my preceptor and it just blows me away every time; the words she finds, her mannerism, her tone of voice – all of this is so critical and important.”

Donesky said as the palliative care minor becomes more established, she’d like to create a multidisciplinary continuing education training that would be open to all kinds of health care providers, including nurses, social workers, chaplains, pharmacists, physical therapists and dentists.

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UC San Diego Health, I.V. Family Care Medical Group sign affiliation


Agreement will enhance health care in the Imperial Valley.

By Jackie Carr, UC San Diego

UC San Diego Health System and Imperial Valley Family Care Medical Group (IVFCMG) announced a comprehensive affiliation that will enhance the depth and quality of multispecialty health care services and clinical trials available to patients in the Imperial Valley and surrounding communities.

“California health care providers must collaborate to offer the best possible health services across the state. With this affiliation, our goal is to improve access to care so that patients in Imperial Valley can benefit from a broad array of high-quality services at the best possible value,” said Paul Viviano, CEO, UC San Diego Health System. “Together with Imperial Valley Family Care Medical Group and their superb physicians and staff, we can fulfill our mission of delivering outstanding patient care through commitment to the community, groundbreaking research and inspired teaching.”

Viviano added that UC San Diego Health System looks forward to working closely with Pioneers Memorial Hospital, El Centro Regional Medical Center and the medical community to complement existing services while serving the overall health needs of the region.

“This affiliation with UC San Diego Health System is an excellent way to bring the benefits of academic medicine to the Imperial Valley community,” said Vachas Palakodeti, M.D., president, IVFCMG. “The primary goal is to provide a broader base of medical care for the entire Imperial Valley by connecting with the region’s only academic health system — one of the top-ranked health systems in the nation.”

As terms of the affiliation, IVFCMG will become a member of the UC San Diego Health Physicians Network. The relationship will increase access to specialty care and more than 2,500 clinical trials for patients in the Imperial Valley. Communication and delivery of services between the two organizations will be streamlined by integrating electronic medical records, providing telemedicine and direct access to specialists.

Patients in Imperial Valley who are in need of advanced medical and surgical care will receive priority transfers to UC San Diego Health System, including the Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center, Moores Cancer Center and Hillcrest Medical Center – one of the nation’s first comprehensive stroke centers. UC San Diego Health System currently supports the Imperial Valley by providing tertiary care for complex cardiovascular disease, primary angioplasty for acute myocardial infarction, telemedicine stroke consultations and advanced care for high-risk pregnancies, trauma and burn patients. This affiliation will further expand this long-standing relationship.

Additionally, UC San Diego Health System and IVFCMG will pursue a model of delivery in which best practices for patient care for chronic diseases are identified and shared. This approach to managing health care is designed to improve patient outcomes by optimizing and standardizing care based on evidence-based practices.

Established in 1995, IVFCMG is the largest physician’s multispecialty group with 13 clinics in Imperial County including El Centro, Brawley and Calexico. The physicians and medical staff of IVFCMG provide a broad range of medical services, including internal medicine and family practice and specialty clinics in cardiology, gastroenterology, general surgery, nephrology and neurology.

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UC San Diego opens first angioedema treatment center


Nation’s first dedicated center for diagnosing, treating diverse forms of swelling.

Bruce Zuraw, UC San Diego

By Jackie Carr and Christina Johnson, UC San Diego

UC San Diego Health System in partnership with the U.S. Hereditary Angioedema Association (HAEA), a nonprofit patient advocacy organization, has opened the nation’s first dedicated center for diagnosing and treating diverse forms of swelling, known collectively as angioedema.

The U.S. HAEA Angioedema Center at UC San Diego Health System will serve as an international referral center for people with all types of angioedema and will work closely with basic science laboratories at UC San Diego School of Medicine to better understand the condition and develop new treatments.

“The opening of this center is an incredible step toward building a national center of excellence for the diagnosis and treatment of angioedema,” said Bruce Zuraw, M.D., professor of medicine, the center’s director and the inaugural recipient of the U.S. HAEA Endowed Chair at UC San Diego. “With our research and clinical expertise and partnership with the U.S. Hereditary Angioedema Association, we can improve patients’ lives, save lives and ultimately find a cure.”

Marc Riedl, UC San Diego

Physicians at the center will offer comprehensive, holistic approaches to angioedema, emphasizing the importance of educating patients, families and the medical community about the condition in all its forms. Using the latest therapeutic tools, physicians will ensure that patients are correctly diagnosed and will then use novel therapies to treat and prevent acute swelling events that occur sporadically, often without clearly identifiable triggers, which may be life threatening.

“The disease may be misdiagnosed as a food or medication allergy, a bowel disorder or a gynecological condition, leading to unnecessary surgeries or even death if a patient has a swelling attack in the throat,” said Marc Riedl, M.D., associate professor of medicine and the center’s clinical director.

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Grant will aid patients suffering from severe pulmonary hypertension


$7.6M grant helps launch a nationwide patient registry to improve CTEPH practices.

Imagine trying to take a deep breath, but feeling like you’re sucking air through a straw. That’s how some patients with chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH) describe living with the condition, which is estimated to affect several thousand Americans yearly but is commonly misdiagnosed. UC San Diego Health System is a world leader in CTEPH, and now with a $7.6 million grant, has helped launch the first national CTEPH registry to improve best practices and patient care.

The United States CTEPH registry, funded by Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals, is a centralized electronic database that will involve 30 sites across the nation. UC San Diego Health System will manage the registry with the goal of enrolling 750 newly diagnosed patients over the next six years. It will allow physicians to follow the short- and long-term outcomes of patients and learn more about CTEPH.

CTEPH is believed to be a complication of a common blood clot condition called pulmonary embolism. It has been reported that as much as 3.8 percent of individuals with first-time pulmonary embolism may develop CTEPH. This suggests there may be thousands of new cases of CTEPH in the United States annually.

“Currently, the number of patients in the United States with CTEPH is unknown. Because the symptom of shortness of breath is nonspecific, many CTEPH patients may be misdiagnosed as having more common diseases like asthma or COPD,” said Kim Kerr, M.D., principal investigator and pulmonologist at UC San Diego Health System. “Using data collected from the registry, we will identify barriers to patients receiving the correct diagnosis and treatment of their CTEPH. This registry will also allow us to assess the effectiveness of established and evolving therapies of this disease.”

UC San Diego Health System is the pioneer of pulmonary thromboendarterectomy (PTE) surgery, a life-saving procedure that removes the blood clots from the lungs’ arteries that rob patients of their ability to breathe.

“The registry will serve as an educational tool for physicians and centers to learn more about the disease and its prognosis and outcomes, especially as it relates to surgical techniques used for PTE and the benefits to the patient,” said Michael Madani, M.D., co-investigator and cardiac surgeon, chief of cardiothoracic surgery and director of UC San Diego Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center – Surgery. “People from around the US suffering from CTEPH are referred to UC San Diego Health System for PTE but usually after discharge we do not have the resources to follow up long-term. Another critical part of the registry is that it will give us a more thorough understanding of how PTE truly improves a patient’s overall quality of life, even if they live 2,000 miles away.”

Nick Kim, M.D., pulmonologist and director of pulmonary vascular medicine at UC San Diego Health System, adds that the registry will enrich physicians’ understanding of all aspects of CTEPH in the U.S., including the subset of patients deemed not operable and treated with medical therapy instead.

“Centers across the nation working as a team will not only help health providers improve their approach to CTEPH, it will ultimately give patients more options, knowledge and empowerment in how their disease is managed,” said Kim.

For more information on pulmonary vascular medicine at UC San Diego Health System, please visit heartcenter.ucsd.edu.

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Building the future of health care


More than 1,000 donors give $131M in support of UC San Diego Jacobs Medical Center.

By Judy Piercey and Jade Griffin, UC San Diego

Committed to fostering the future of health care in San Diego, more than 1,000 donors have contributed $131 million to UC San Diego’s Jacobs Medical Center. Included in the total are gifts that matched a donation of $25 million, meeting the Challenge goal of the initiative.

Today (Nov. 20), the campus announced that the Challenge donation, originally anonymous, was made by Joan and Irwin Jacobs. They provided a $75 million lead gift for the new facility in 2010; with the Challenge gift, that brings their contributions to the Jacobs Medical Center to a total of $100 million. Continued private support will help fund the completion of the new medical center, which is the largest hospital project currently underway in Southern California.

Under construction and projected to open in 2016, Jacobs Medical Center is a $839 million, 10-story facility on the university’s La Jolla campus, which will include three new clinical care units in one location: The A. Vassiliadis Family Hospital for Advanced Surgery, The Pauline and Stanley Foster Hospital for Cancer Care and the Hospital for Women and Infants.

“We are deeply grateful to Joan and Irwin Jacobs for their generosity, including the recent $25 million match challenge,” said UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “We also thank Carol Vassiliadis and Pauline Foster, who made leadership gifts, as well as all of the other donors who participated in meeting this challenge. These visionaries support UC San Diego’s commitment and vision to create a healthier world through new science, new medicine and new cures.”

“Jacobs Medical Center is part of a multibillion dollar university investment in the future of health care for the region,” said Dr. David A. Brenner, vice chancellor for Health Sciences and dean of the UC San Diego School of Medicine. “I want to thank all of the donors who have helped make this extraordinary medical center a reality.”

Irwin and Joan Jacobs

“When we came here in 1966, the medical school was just starting,” said Irwin Jacobs, co-founder, former chairman and CEO of Qualcomm Inc. and UC San Diego founding faculty member, who served as a professor in electrical and computer engineering from 1966 to 1972. “There was no hospital, just a school. So it’s very exciting to make Jacobs Medical Center possible. More and more, we’re learning how to bring results from basic research in biology and engineering to medicine, and to the clinic. I think this medical center is going to show how effective that can be. The innovations will spread out from San Diego, and go all around the world.”

The 509,500-square-foot facility will house 245 patient beds and be connected on multiple floors with the existing John M. and Sally B. Thornton Hospital on UC San Diego’s La Jolla campus, in the heart of the area’s nexus of biomedical research centers. Jacobs Medical Center has been designed with the patient in mind. From spacious private rooms to soothing color schemes and artwork, to next-generation medical equipment, the vision and needs of patients, doctors and nurses, all aspects of the Jacobs Medical Center have been fully integrated. Each floor will combine all the necessary healing elements while achieving optimal safety and efficient delivery of care.

“Soon we will have the largest, most technologically advanced hospital in the region, dedicated to offering specialized care for every kind of patient, in every phase of life,” said Paul Viviano, CEO of UC San Diego Health System.

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UCSF Mission Bay hospital complex to open Feb. 1


Three new hospitals for women, children and cancer patients.

UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay will open Feb. 1, 2015. (Photo by Mark Citret)

After more than 10 years of planning and construction, UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay will open Feb. 1, 2015 on UC San Francisco’s world-renowned biomedical research campus. UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay 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.​

UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay will welcome its first patients the morning of Feb. 1, when teams of health care professionals and ambulances begin moving some inpatients from the UCSF Parnassus campus and Mount Zion campus into the new facilities.

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.

“UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay profoundly advances our ability to fulfill our mission as a public hospital, providing high-quality health care that meets the future needs of the entire Bay Area,” said Mark R. Laret, CEO, UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals. “By embedding clinical care within our research enterprise at Mission Bay, UCSF physicians and scientists in the forefront of cancer medicine, and women’s and children’s health will be able to more readily translate discoveries into next-generation therapies and cures.”

Each of the new hospitals’ designs reflects significant input from patients and families, as well as clinicians.

“UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay sets a national benchmark for patient- and family-centered health care by offering an unparalleled healing environment that supports and connects patients and their families during hospital stays,” said Cindy Lima, executive director, UCSF Mission Bay Hospitals Project. “These new hospitals expand our capacity to provide the most advanced treatments in buildings that reflect input from the people who will use them.”

The hospitals feature state-of-the art technology, including the world’s largest hospital fleet of autonomous robotic couriers which will deliver linens, meals and medications. Interactive media walls in each private room will enable patients to communicate with their families and clinicians, and an imaging suite specially designed to eliminate anxiety during an MRI offers children the chance to virtually experience a San Francisco trolley ride, or to play with a cast of animated critters as they boat around the San Francisco Bay.

Distinctive features of UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay include 4.3 acres of green space and 1.2 acres of rooftop gardens, soothing art- and light-filled interiors and a public plaza created in partnership with the City of San Francisco. In addition, UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay is on target to be one of the first LEED Gold-certified hospital in California.

The Integrated Center for Design and Construction brought together more than 200 architects, engineers and contractors working side by side in a command center on the construction site. Construction of the hospitals began in December 2010.

“The healing power of UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay extends beyond the hospitals’ walls, as clinicians and researchers work side by side to accelerate medical breakthroughs and transform the delivery of health care in this country,” said Sam Hawgood, M.B.B.S., chancellor of UC San Francisco. “It’s important to note that the hospital complex was built only through the generous philanthropic support of the Bay Area community, who share our vision of advancing health care across the world. We are greatly appreciative of their unwavering commitment to our mission over the past decade. ”

UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco

UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco, one of the nation’s leading children’s hospitals, provides treatment for virtually all pediatric conditions, as well as for critically ill newborns. The Neonatal Intensive Care Nursery at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco was one of the first of its kind in the world. The hospital is the only California state-designated children’s medical center in San Francisco and is affiliated with UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland.

The new 183-bed facility at Mission Bay creates an environment where children and their families find quality care at the forefront of scientific discovery. Private rooms in the intensive care nursery support the youngest patients, while the fully accredited classroom and teachers enable school-age patients to continue their education while focusing on their health. The hospital offers accommodations for families of pediatric patients and nearby lodging for those requiring longer stays.

UCSF Bakar Cancer Hospital

UCSF ranks consistently among the top cancer care centers in the nation, according to the “America’s Best Hospitals” survey from U.S. News & World Report. UCSF Bakar Cancer Hospital sets the standard in personalized care, delivering advanced cancer therapies tailored to individual patient needs. The hospital increases UCSF’s inpatient and outpatient capacity to meet growing demand, in a state-of-the-art facility. The new hospital will absorb many of the cancer surgery beds currently located at UCSF Medical Center at Mount Zion, offering cancer surgeries in specialties ranging from urology and orthopedics, to head and neck and gynecologic oncology. Specialists also serve the individual needs of cancer patients from the children’s and women’s hospitals. In the future, Mission Bay could house as many as 250 or more surgery beds, with a full complement of outpatient cancer care services.

UCSF Betty Irene Moore Women’s Hospital

As the region’s first dedicated women’s hospital, UCSF Betty Irene Moore Women’s Hospital will embody the philosophy of the UCSF National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health. The new hospital will deliver care that addresses health needs across a woman’s lifetime, including cancer treatment, specialty surgery, a 36-bed birth center, nine deluxe labor and delivery rooms, and select outpatient services. Customizing care to each patient, the hospital will provide the best available diagnostic tests and treatments in a caring, women- and family-focused environment that incorporates the latest technology. Spacious rooms allow loved ones to spend the day or night comfortably.

Each labor and delivery room is designed to be respectful to patients and families during the life-altering event of childbirth. Combining sophisticated technical capabilities with carefully considered design choices, each room emits a sense of calm for the birthing experience. At the same time, it is a highly functional space for clinicians to provide quality care.

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UC Irvine Health announces affiliation with Corona Regional Medical Center


Priorities include enhancing cancer, stroke and perinatal-neonatal care.

UC Irvine Health and Corona Regional Medical Center announced a comprehensive affiliation that will enhance the depth and variety of specialty health care services available in Corona and nearby communities. A major hospital expansion project will accompany this affiliation.

“Our goal is to transform health care in west Riverside County,” said Mark Uffer, CEO and managing director of Corona Regional Medical Center. “The affiliation with UC Irvine Health complements our strengths, brings residents a variety of clinical services normally available only from an academic medical center and allows local patients to be treated closer to home.”

This transformation of Corona Regional Medical Center includes recently approved expansion plans that include an entirely new building. This new building will include a larger emergency room that more than doubles the size of the existing space and creates shelled space above that will be designed for future private patient rooms.

Corona Regional is a subsidiary of Universal Health Services Inc. The expansion and an affiliation with a prestigious university health system reflects the strong commitment UHS has toward meeting the needs of the growing communities along the Interstate 15 and Highway 91 corridors, Uffer said.

“We are pleased to provide the residents of the Inland Empire access to the clinical expertise we’re known for as an academic medical center,” said Terry A. Belmont, CEO of UC Irvine Medical Center. “The area is growing and it is a privilege to formalize the longstanding relationship we have with Corona Regional and the area’s residents.”

The agreement will initially focus on developing several key specialty services supported by UC Irvine’s clinical and research expertise:

  • Stroke telemedicine — Minutes count when treating a stroke. Backing up Corona Regional’s stroke program with the resources of UC Irvine Health and its Joint Commission-certified Comprehensive Stroke Center gives the community instant access to the region’s greatest concentration of fellowship-trained stroke neurologists and surgeons.
  • Cancer services — The two institutions will explore ways to bring the resources of UC Irvine Health’s National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center to the Inland Empire. The UC Irvine Health Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center is one of only 41 in the United States and is dedicated to excellence in cancer treatment, prevention, research and education. Its specialists in medical and surgical oncology offer access to more than 150 ongoing clinical trials that reflect the latest cancer treatments.
  • Maternal-fetal medicine — The affiliation includes plans to create a perinatal services program in Corona, building on Corona Regional’s obstetrical and gynecological program and UC Irvine Health’s expertise in managing complex and high-risk pregnancies. This agreement formalizes a years-long relationship in which UC Irvine’s medical faculty assisted physicians at Corona Regional to manage difficult pregnancies and deliveries through the resources of the UC Irvine Health high-risk perinatal and regional neonatal intensive care services. The two organizations will also explore jointly developing a neonatal ICU at Corona Regional.

This affiliation is a natural extension of a longstanding connection between the greater Corona area and UC Irvine Medical Center. Many residents have roots in and commute to work in Orange County. UC Irvine Health has provided services to Corona-area residents for decades, including more than 525 last year who required tertiary care such as complex neurosurgery, high-risk perinatal, trauma and cancer services. This agreement strengthens the continuity of care for Corona Regional patients who need primary, specialty and tertiary services, as well as access to new health care resources.

Corona officials are enthusiastic about the announcement.

“I am elated that the expansion is finally coming to fruition, as the residents of Corona will benefit from more modern facilities and higher levels of care,” said Corona Mayor Karen Spiegel. A longtime supporter, Spiegel has worked closely with the Corona Regional administration for a decade on expansion plans. “We have worked hard to change the face of our city and to create a healthier community — one that we can all be proud of.”

Spiegel said the project will bring much needed health care services to the growing community and views the academic and clinical affiliation with UC Irvine Health as a major contribution to the quality of life for Inland Empire residents.

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Hundreds welcome UC Irvine Health Medical Group to Tustin, Orange


Opens two new primary care centers.

Dr. Sajee Lekawa, right, greets a visitor to the UC Irvine Health Medical Group open house on Nov. 15.

More than 500 people from Tustin, Orange, Santa Ana and Irvine visited Saturday’s grand opening celebration of two new, state-of-the-art UC Irvine Health Medical Group primary care offices in Tustin and Orange. The family-friendly event was held at the Tustin office, 1451 Irvine Blvd., and featured free flu shots, blood pressure screenings, tours of the new center, face painting, music, healthy snacks and a chance to enter a drawing to win an iPad mini.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony featured remarks by Terry A. Belmont, CEO of UC Irvine Medical Center. Tustin Mayor Al Murray, Orange County Supervisor Todd Spitzer and Assemblymember Don Wagner also delivered remarks and presented certificates and proclamations welcoming UC Irvine Health to the community. Representatives from Sen. Mimi Walters’ office were also in attendance to present a certificate on her behalf.

Physicians from both the Tustin and Orange locations were on hand to meet new patients, greet long-standing patients and answer questions.

“The opportunity to interact with so many members of the community outside of a traditional office visit is a very meaningful, personal way to let them know that we are here to better serve them and their families by bringing exceptional care close to home,” said Dr. Sajee Lekawa, medical director of UC Irvine Health Medical Group. “Our patients have access to world-class clinical services, and more than 500 specialists at UC Irvine Health.”

UC Irvine Health physicians, nurses and other health care experts hosted information stations, offering health screenings and providing a more detailed description about their specialty services.

Both the Tustin and Orange locations feature family and internal medicine plus laboratory services. The Tustin center also offers pediatrics, rheumatology, imaging services and urgent care. Office hours are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Urgent care services are offered from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends and holidays.

The Orange office is located at 293 S. Main Street, Suite 200, and is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

In October 2013, UC Irvine Health and MemorialCare Health system created an affiliation to develop primary care centers across Orange County. The new centers complement existing UC Irvine Health primary care practices at UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange and the Gottschalk Medical Plaza on the UC campus in Irvine.

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