TAG: "Students"

UC medical students celebrate Match Day


More than 650 UC graduating medical students match to residency programs.

UCLA graduating medical students Jiwoon Chang (left) and Abinav Baweja celebrate after learning that they matched together to the internal medicine residency program at NYU.

For graduating medical students, Match Day is the Academy Awards without the red carpet, March Madness without the brackets. It’s a thrilling time when the nation’s future doctors learn which hospital has accepted them for residency to get advanced training in their chosen specialty.

On March 20, more than 650 UC medical students were among the nearly 17,000 seniors at traditional U.S. medical schools who learned where they were matched.

UCLA graduating medical students Abinav Baweja and Jiwoon Chang couldn’t wait to tell each other where they were matched. The friends were overjoyed to find out that they matched together to their first choice – a top East Coast program in internal medicine.

“NYU: We said it at the same time. We burst into tears and laughter. It was a big moment for both of us,” Baweja said. “There is no better feeling than this … we made it!”

UC Davis' Chelsea Ma reacts to her residency match.

Virtually all UC graduating medical students matched, including 105 at UC Davis, 96 at UC Irvine, 161 at UCLA, 115 at UC San Diego and 177 at UC San Francisco. Most will continue their training in California.

“It’s a little hard to put into words,” said Agustin Morales, a fourth-year UC Davis medical student from Salinas who was part of the first San Joaquin Valley PRIME cohort – a collaboration between the UC Davis School of Medicine, UC Merced and UCSF Fresno that trains medical students with a special emphasis on patients in underserved communities.

“It’s been an amazing journey, and I matched to my number-one pick, UCSF Fresno,” added Morales. “It’s a gem of a program in internal medicine and I’m excited about the next three years.”

Newly minted UC Irvine doctor Jacob Blickenstaff and his wife, Jacky, cheer over his letter from the medical institution where he'll begin his career.

Fourth-year UCSF medical student Aaron Smith, was excited to be graduating and begin his residency program in internal medicine at Oregon Health & Science University.

“My dream growing up has always been to become a doctor,” Smith said. “Now when people call me a doc, I’m actually a doc! This is the fulfillment of what I’ve always wanted to do.”

At UC Irvine, Match Day is an emotional, festive event during which the future doctors are called to a podium one at a time to open an envelope and read aloud before hundreds of family members, friends and classmates the name and location of the hospital where they’ll spend the next three to seven years pursuing postgraduate medical training as a resident physician.

UC San Diego graduating medical students celebrate their matches.

A former elementary school teacher, Marcella Torres, 40, used her experience volunteering with the Peace Corps in Panama and helping Burmese refugees in Northern Thailand to enter UC Irvine’s PRIME program for the Latino community, the first medical training program to address the specific needs of America’s largest and fastest-growing community. She matched with a family medicine residency program at Contra Costa Regional Medical Center in Martinez and next month plans to go Cuba with another PRIME student to observe its community-based primary care health system.

Among the UC San Diego participants was Thomas Onyia, an immigrant from central Africa who plans to be an anesthesiologist and participate in surgical outreach missions in Africa and other developing countries.

UC San Francisco medical students Tarann Henderson (left) and Matthew Abad-Santos matched with emergency medicine and surgery programs, respectively.

“I feel great,” said Onyia, after his envelope revealed that he got his wish to do his residency at UC San Diego. “The best thing about it is that I have great mentors here who have supported me throughout the process.”

With a match rate of 93.9 percent, nearly all of the nation’s seniors at traditional medical schools landed a first-year residency.

A computer algorithm from the National Resident Matching Program matches the preferences of applicants with the preferences of residency programs at teaching hospitals throughout the country. The students from traditional medical schools such as UC apply for the available residency positions along with thousands of independent applicants, including osteopathic students and graduates of foreign medical schools. Overall, more than 41,000 individuals applied for more than 30,000 residency slots across the country.

“We are extremely proud of this year’s Match Day group,” said Mark Servis, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and senior associate dean for medical education at the UC Davis School of Medicine. “This is the future of medicine, caring individuals with a passion for health care and a desire to develop their clinical skills to the very best of their abilities. As I told them before they opened their envelopes, ‘It’s not where you match that is most important, it’s what you do in caring for your patients and working with others that is the key to your success and the ultimate accomplishment as a physician.’”

Related links:

CATEGORY: SpotlightComments Off

UCLA’s Clinical Informatics Fellowship Program among first to be accredited


Prospective applicants are urged to apply by April 1.

By Roxanne Moster, UCLA

UCLA’s Clinical Informatics Fellowship Program has been approved by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, providing the innovative subspecialty with key support as it earns broader recognition. In receiving accreditation, UCLA becomes one of only seven programs nationwide to earn approval from that important sanctioning body to date.

“We’re fortunate to be among the programs that will pioneer clinical informatics training, helping to establish the new subspecialty’s role in transforming health care,” said Dr. Douglas Bell, professor of medicine at UCLA and program director of the new fellowship.

Clinical informatics involves the application of both biomedical knowledge and information management to improve health care. Physicians who practice this growing scientific discipline strive to improve and transform health care by analyzing, designing, implementing and evaluating information and communication systems that enhance individual and population health outcomes, improve patient care, and strengthen the patient/clinician relationship.

“The UCLA fellowship program received accreditation just a year after planning and development began,” said Kevin Baldwin, specialist in IT engagement and quality improvement for UCLA Health and the program administrator.

Baldwin added that accreditation elevates UCLA to the vanguard of clinical informatics training.

“This program puts us at the forefront of informatics nationally, and we’re excited to continue building our leadership in the field,” he said.

The field of clinical informatics came into sharp focus in 2011 when the American Board of Medical Specialties approved it as a new, board-eligible subspecialty. Beginning in 2018, board eligibility in clinical informatics will require completion of a fellowship program that is accredited by the ACGME. Currently, fewer than 800 physicians around the country are board-certified in clinical informatics.

With accreditation now complete, UCLA Health and the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA have begun seeking candidates for two clinical informatics fellowship positions. Physicians from around the country are expected to apply, and fellows will be chosen in April. The two-year fellowship positions, both of them open to graduates of residency programs in any medical specialty, will begin in July 2015.

“It is exciting and humbling for UCLA Health to be part of the initial group of programs around the country that will offer this innovative and impactful fellowship in clinical informatics,” said Dr. Michael Pfeffer, chief medical informatics officer and acting chief information officer for UCLA Health. “We have a diverse, board-certified clinical informatics faculty ready to train the country’s future leaders in informatics.”

The goal of UCLA’s fellowship program is to train physicians in the principles and practice of clinical informatics, preparing them to lead the way in implementing health information technology systems as well as in research that advances the discipline.

“Clinical informatics is the scientific discipline focused on how we can deliver knowledge and information precisely where it’s needed in health care,” said Bell. “By learning to conduct rigorous research as well as to manage health IT systems, our fellows will close the gap between informatics research and practice by conducting research that’s embedded in and that directly informs clinical informatics practice.”

As they investigate how health care IT systems impact the delivery of care, fellows will focus on real-world problems such as the fatigue that physicians and nurses face as more and more devices capable of tracking patient data bombard them with information.

Fellows will complete a training program that includes:

• Clinical rotations, which involve four-week assignments to working units of the UCLA Health Information Services and Solutions Department. The department was responsible for UCLA Health being named among the nation’s “most wired” by Hospitals and Health Networks magazine.
• Didactics, including case studies and course work presented by expert faculty and covering a challenging core curriculum.
• An individualized, mentored research project based upon personal career objectives and informatics challenges that fellows identify during clinical rotations.
• Dedicated time to practice in the fellow’s specialty.

“As much as possible, we incorporated practical experience into this program in order to equip the fellows with the skills necessary to flourish in the physician workforce immediately after certification in this specialized field.” Baldwin said. “These early fellows are innovators. I see them going out and having a big impact nationally across the health system.”

At least some graduates are expected to fill the role of chief medical information officer within health care delivery organizations, serving as a bridge between the physician team and IT workforce to ensure that IT systems are implemented appropriately.

“Clinical informatics is critical to the success of technology in health care, whether it involves electronic health records, imaging informatics or shaping policy on how technology is used,” Pfeffer said. “As board-certified physicians in the specialty of their choosing, and as active clinicians using technologies in real time, they will be able to apply their knowledge from the fellowship to develop new and user-friendly ways for technology to help clinicians take better care of patients.”

Prospective applicants are urged to complete an online application at www.uclahealth.org/ClinicalInformaticsFellowship by April 1. Questions should be emailed to: CIFellowship@mednet.ucla.edu.

View original article

CATEGORY: NewsComments Off

Film camp offers hope for pediatric cancer patients


UC Riverside senior, cancer survivor seeking support at April 2 screening to expand program.

Cassie Nguyen, a senior public policy major and brain cancer survivor, will introduce her Spotlight On Hope Film Camp to the community on April 2.

By Bettye Miller, UC Riverside

Brain cancer. Not the diagnosis Cassie Nguyen was expecting as a sophomore at Riverside’s Martin Luther King High School. Neither was the debilitating surgery that saved her life.

Today, Nguyen is an honor student and School of Public Policy ambassador at the University of California, Riverside, where she will graduate in June. She is a 10-year cancer survivor, American Cancer Society advocate, and the creator of Spotlight On Hope Film Camp, a free filmmaking program for pediatric cancer patients that until now has been held only in Los Angeles.

Nguyen hopes to bring the film camp to UC Riverside and the Inland Empire, and is screening short films written and produced by pediatric cancer patients in the program on Thursday, April 2, from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. in Highlander Union Building 367. The event is free and open to the public. Parking is free in Lot 1; pick up parking permits at the Kiosk on West Campus Drive at the University Avenue entrance to the campus. Reservations are requested as seating is limited and may be made online. The screening is co-sponsored by University Honors and the Women’s Resource Center.

The Riverside resident said she hopes the screening will generate support to expand the program to the Inland Empire. She hopes eventually to establish a nonprofit foundation and offer film camps across the country.

Approximately 13,500 children are diagnosed with cancer each year in the U.S., and about 25 percent of them die, Nguyen said. Although Spotlight On Hope Film Camp does not reduce the death rate, it does provide a therapeutic outlet for pediatric cancer patients, she explained.

“I know how boring the hospital scene is,” Nguyen said, recalling the surgery to remove the tumor from her brain, a year of radiation and chemotherapy, and physical therapy to learn to write with her left hand and regain mobility to address ongoing balance and difficult vision issues. “I wanted to do something to help kids take their minds off what was happening to them and give them something to look forward to.”

Nguyen suggested the film camp for young cancer patients while working as an intern for Think Ten Media Group, a production company based in Castaic that aims to use the power of media to create change and spread awareness of key issues.

She raised $700 to cover production costs of the first camp, held in September 2013, by selling plastic cancer bracelets to UCR faculty and students, family and friends in her junior year. She dedicated the first film camp to a younger cousin who died of sarcoma cancer at age 14.

Think Ten Media Group co-founders and filmmakers Ramon Hamilton and Jennifer Fischer helped Nguyen develop the Spotlight On Hope Film Camp for pediatric cancer patients at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles as part of their company’s arts education program. The UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television hosts the camp in Los Angeles.

When the film camp proved to be successful, Nguyen applied for and won a $10,000 scholarship from the Donald A. Strauss Public Service Scholarship Foundation in 2014, which funded 10 more film camps at UCLA. The foundation awards $10,000 scholarships to as many as 15 California college juniors annually to support public-service projects that the students carry out during their senior year.

Spotlight On Hope Film Camp allows patients to explore the art of green screen and special effects film-making while working in groups to create a short, green screen and special effects film. The participants, who range in age from 8 to 22, also learn about story/character development, camera technique, video and FX editing during three days of weekend classes.

“Being a pediatric patient myself, I understand how valuable a creative therapeutic outlet can be in the midst of your long, dreadful and difficult journey battling cancer,” Nguyen explained. “Spotlight On Hope Film Camp can help children live in a fantasy world that allows them to get away from all their troubles and create lasting memories.”

View original article

CATEGORY: NewsComments Off

Registration opens for UC Global Health Day


Feb. 27 is submission deadline for student video and student plenary contests.

Early-bird registration is now open for UC Global Health Day, April 18 at UCLA.

Presented by the UC Global Health Institute, UC Global Health Day is an annual conference that showcases the research, training and outreach in global health being undertaken across the University of California.

This event is an opportunity for UC students, fellows, faculty, staff and visiting scholars to share their current work in global health. The day will feature plenary sessions, posters and concurrent breakout sessions covering a broad range of global health topics.

For those who register before March 20, registration costs $50 for general admission and $25 for students. For those who register between March 21 and April 14, registration costs $75 for general admission and $50 for students. To register, visit: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/uc-global-health-day-2015-tickets-15838746116.

UC Global Health Day also will feature a student video contest and student plenary contest. The submission deadline for those contests is at 11:59 p.m. today (Feb. 27).

Read more at the UC Global Health Institute website

Related link:
Recommendations for improving farmworker health to be unveiled

CATEGORY: NewsComments Off

Laughter is the best medicine for jittery dental students


Comedy improv class helps them communicate with patients.

By Brianna Aldrich and Judy Lin, UCLA

Seven students in a classroom at the UCLA School of Dentistry are cracking each other up.

In a course far removed from “The Fundamentals of Caries” and “Oral Pathology,” dental students pair off and take turns improvising scenes based on characters and situations suggested by their instructor and fellow classmates. Two students role-play madcap bank robbers. Another pair pretends to be obsessive-compulsive campers gushing over the high thread count of their bed sheets. Then there are the lovers who, stunned at the revelation that they have syphilis, respond by microwaving popcorn and tuning into Netflix.

It’s all part of the silliness that surfaces in “Medical Improv,” a highly unusual class that teaches dental students how to implant a bit of comedy improv into their personas. But it isn’t laughter they’re after, explained instructor Dr. Craig Woods.

Woods’ students don’t learn to perform funny routines to help their patients get rid of their pre-procedure jitters. To the contrary, the techniques they learn in class help them as dentists to “come out of themselves, be a little more relaxed and confident,” Woods said, especially when they start to work with live patients in the dental clinic for the first time.

Third-year student Roya Mahmoodi said she’s already noticed a change in her chair-side manner. “When I first started in the clinic, I was very caught up in what I would say to my patient. I thought I had to have this very serious persona,” she said. “But being in this class — letting loose and just being silly — I’ve started bringing out my personality. I can kind of joke around with my patients, and I feel closer to them.

“There should always be a doctor-patient professional relationship,” Mahmoodi said, “but you can definitely tweak that relationship a little bit.”

Woods is as unusual as his class. He’s an adjunct professor of oral medicine and orofacial pain, director of the Advanced Treatment Planning Clinic and the dental school’s psychological counselor with an M.A. in clinical psychology on top of his D.D.S. He’s also a cast member of JumpStart Comedy, a Hermosa Beach-based troupe.

He got hooked on doing improv when, on a whim, he took a workshop about five years ago and liked it so much he enrolled in ImprovOlympic, a training program that also produced Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.

“I was amazed at the number of parallels there are in improv comedy to interacting with patients,” Woods said. “Improv comedy became a way to release stress and to enhance my skills at picking up on other people’s emotional cues in my professional life.”

His class is based in part on the Medical Improv program developed by Dr. Katie Watson, a physician educator at Northwestern University’s medical school. She’s also a trainer for Second City’s comedy improv program in Chicago. After Woods took a workshop with Watson, he decided to create a dental-school version to help the many bright students he has seen suffer self-confidence meltdowns in the clinics.

“Something happens when they get into their clinical instruction, where they have to interact with patients and perform a procedure while being supervised by faculty evaluating everything they do,” Woods said. “Their command of the situation falls apart.”

Gaining that sense of “command” is often less about taking charge and more about going with the flow, a skill that Woods gets across with exercises like “Search and Toss.” Standing in a circle, students “toss” the name of a country to another student, who “tosses” the name of another country to another student until everyone has a turn. Then Woods asked them to continue with the country names but weave in a second layer, this time with car names, and then a third layer with something they might tell a patient at the end of an appointment.

“Canada … Honda … Remember to floss.” “Austria … Chevy … Call me if you have any problems” went the dizzying exercise, the students starting to sweat – and giggle — as they as they struggled to keep track.

In dentistry, it’s a familiar feeling, Woods said. “You’re juggling different things — seeing your patient, working with faculty and hearing from the front office that your next patient is waiting. Be open to crazy things coming up. Expect the unexpected” — like encountering a patient who swears she isn’t afraid of dentists but starts to cry the moment she sits down in the chair.

“You’re doing surgery in someone’s mouth,” Woods said. “You have to convince them that they need to allow you to put a drill in their mouth that’s going 400,000 rpm. You have to come across as being able to do that, and they have to have confidence and trust in you.”

Key to building trust is having deep listening skills that pick up not just words but emotional affect and body language. Confidence also comes through in clear, succinct communication. “Students have a tendency to ramble when they’re not comfortable,” said Woods, who took students through a scene where one explained a form of modern technology — an iPhone, for example — to another student who pretended to be a time-traveler from 250 years ago. The result: a huge download of incomprehensible information.

Keegan Quadros, a fourth-year student, commented that the exercise reminded him of talking with a patient about a procedure. “He doesn’t want to know everything … He just wants to know what it is, what it costs and what I recommend.”

International dental students taking the class report that it’s helped them better understand American culture and humor.

Reena Guttha, a student from India, said she’s been working with a patient who likes to “crack jokes with me. But I don’t get it,” she said. “He knows that I don’t get it, and he’s okay with that. But I will enjoy my work more when I can communicate with patients like him and their sense of humor.”

Woods said he would like to expand the class to include medical and nursing students to enhance teamwork among medical professionals.

“Life is improvised,” Woods said. “Everyone could benefit from a course like this.”

View original article

CATEGORY: NewsComments Off

High school students help grow ‘genetically engineered machine’


UCSF researchers help high school students dive into growing field of synthetic biology.

In addition to their prize-winning science project, the 2014 UCSF iGEM team morphed into superheroes as a creative way to teach synthetic biology to visitors at The Exploratorium.

By Kathleen Masterson, UC San Francisco

Taking molecular parts from living organisms to engineer biological systems sounds a bit like science fiction, but with the help of UCSF researchers, high school students are diving into this growing field of synthetic biology.

It’s all part of a global synthetic biology competition called iGEM.

The international competition aims to engage students in the constantly evolving world of synthetic biology, which is part molecular biology, part systems biology and part genetic engineering. While the “Giant Jamboree” is a fun, lively event, the lab work and presentation preparation are serious work – and real science findings come out of the competition.

This year UCSF’s team won “Best Presentation,” competing against 225 teams hailing from across the globe. Of the two UCSF presenters, one was Eleanor Amidei, who was 17 years old at the time.

To prepare for the competition, the students spend all summer designing their experiments, running them, building a website, developing a presentation and a few other requirements, including submitting a genetic fragment to the synthetic biology bank at MIT.

“At first it was really overwhelming,” said Amidei, who is now a freshmen at UC Berkeley. “It was just scary to be thrown into lab environment. But you kind of just pick up the work as you’re going; you go with it, you read articles, you study more about what you’re doing and it becomes easy, it becomes second nature.”

Bringing high schoolers into the lab

When Wendell Lim, Ph.D., formed the first UCSF team eight years ago, he needed to include participants younger than graduate students to meet the iGEM contest eligibility requirement. Instead of bringing in college students, he partnered with high school teacher George Cachianes who teaches a two-year biotechnology program at Lincoln High School in San Francisco. Every year, a few of the top high school students are invited to join the iGEM team.

This year’s team also partnered with two UC Berkeley undergrads who bring additional programming and graphic design elements to the team skill set.

Lim said the experience benefits both the high school students and the Ph.D. students, who learn to be better mentors.

“What is really unique about this experience is that most of the time, when you do an internship in a lab, you’re assigned to one person who tells you what to do, who gives you instructions,” he said.

But here the group is really a team, said Lim. There’s a lot of brainstorming, and the students, few undergrads, postdocs, all really work together to shape the project. “We’ve defined the sandbox we’ll play in, but exactly what we do and how we do it – they’re a part of defining.”

Real science findings

This year the “sandbox” focused on testing yeast cells to determine if they exhibit collective behavior. That’s a loose term for the “group think” behavior exhibited by seemingly choreographed flocks of birds or tightly synchronized schools of fish swirling in a flash. This kind of group response also occurs in some cells and even electrons – and in tiny yeast cells.

The team discovered that the presence of the group actually influences the behavior of the yeast cells. Though the cells are genetically the same, they respond differently when isolated and respond in synchronized manner when together as a group.

This behavior hadn’t been shown in yeast, said Kara Helmke, the education and outreach coordinator for UCSF’s Center for Systems and Synthetic Biology who works with the iGEM teams.

“The findings were something we didn’t even realize would be possible,” Helmke said. “It was great we could demonstrate it.”

Beyond getting results in the lab, the UCSF team is producing new scientists: Of the more than 60 high school alumni of the program, all are pursuing or have completed science degrees.

“Biotechnology is really a unique aspect of San Francisco and important part of the economy, and it’s exciting to help train the next generation of people,” said Helmke.

View original article

CATEGORY: NewsComments Off

Eat.Think.Design: A public health course for the startup generation


UC Berkeley course feeds need for rethinking problems of food and nutrition.

By Tamara Straus, UC Berkeley

For the creators of the UC Berkeley course Eat.Think.Design, two things are certain.

First, the United States is facing a food and nutrition crisis, with rocketing rates of diabetes, hunger and health disparity.

Second, graduate students today — from fields as different as public health, business, information technology and engineering — want their education to be more hands-on, more interdisciplinary and more “impactful” to society at large.

In the case of the Eat.Think.Design course, they want to spend class time not just learning about food and nutrition problems, they want to devise actual food and nutrition solutions.

This may sound grand, but for the course’s three instructors — Jaspal Sandhu, a UC Berkeley lecturer in design and innovation; Nap Hosang, a longtime Kaiser Permanente medical doctor and UC Berkeley School of Public Health instructor; and Kristine Madsen, an associate professor in the Joint Medical Program and Public Health Nutrition at Cal’s School of Public Health — there is nothing grand or inappropriate about letting students attempt societal solutions while in graduate school.

“The reason we emphasize experiential learning is because it has proved to be more effective,” says Sandhu, who is also a partner at the Gobee Group, a consulting firm he runs with two other multilingual Fulbright scholars with UC Berkeley roots. Sandhu speaks Punjabi, Spanish, Mongolian and English, and prior to Gobee worked with the Mongolian Ministry of Health designing mobile health information systems.

Sandhu emphasizes that his students’ backgrounds demand more than lecturing. Among the 25 people enrolled in Eat.Think.Design this spring, many have relevant work experience. At least three have started their own companies, several have worked for big companies like IBM, Deloitte and Eli Lilly, and most have about five years under their belts working for government agencies or large nonprofits. “To keep the attention of such students,” says Sandhu, “we need to give them actual problems to focus on.”

Working in interdisciplinary teams of three under an instructor, Eat.Think.Design students spend the bulk of the semester on one project, conducting ethnographic and market research, investigating models and constantly devising and then revising potential solutions. Members of last year’s class, for example, streamlined SNAP federal nutrition benefits payments at San Francisco’s Heart of the City Farmer’s Market, worked with the Kossoye Development Program in Ethiopia on strategies to make home gardening more accessible and built a pilot program with Partners In Health: Navajo Nation to test a pop-up grocery store in areas that are one hour’s drive from fresh food. Although the project in the Navajo Nation helped COPE to receive a three-year, $3 million REACH grant from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention to pursue healthy eating programs in the vast American Indian territory — Hosang argues that the course is not designed to incubate social innovations per se.

“Our goal is to incubate innovative people — people who can be influencers in the public health sector,” he says.

Hosang, who has served as head of the interdisciplinary online MPH degree program for the past 15 years and executive director of the Interdisciplinary MPH degree program since 2010, is not subtle in his criticism of public health teaching.

“Most academics are in a silo,” he said, “and their silo has driven them more and more into their specialist thinking.”

Yet this specialist thinking, Hosang argues, is running counter to the view that public health is enmeshed in almost every field — from architecture and transportation, to product design and education.

“We need to change the way public health professionals approach problems,” said Hosang, “and we need them to be in touch with people from other disciplines to inform their problem-solving processes.”

Hosang and Sandhu started working on their public health course in October 2010, after Hosang read Sandhu’s dissertation on public health design research in rural Mongolia and was impressed by the combination of grassroots and trial-and-error learning. In the spring of 2011, they launched their course, with financial support from the Blum Center for Developing Economies, which seeds interdisciplinary, social impact courses on campus. Madsen joined the course in 2014 when the focus narrowed from designing innovative public health solutions to designing innovative food solutions. In a forthcoming article in the American Journal of Public Health titled “Solutions That Stick: Activating Cross-Disciplinary Collaboration in a Graduate-Level Public Health Innovations Course at the University of California,” the three instructors describe how their approach is part of a much-needed pedagogical shift. They write:

A Lancet Commission, convened to discuss the education of health professionals in the 21st century, argued that educational transformation is critical to meet the public health problems we face in this century. Specifically, the commission called for a higher level of learning, moving beyond informative learning, which transmits knowledge to create experts, to transformative learning, which transmits leadership attributes to create agents who can successfully implement change.”

Sandhu explained that when he and Hosang came up with the idea for the course, not only was this “change agent” approach novel but no one was applying design thinking or human-centered design approaches at the School of Public Health at UC Berkeley. (He describes those approaches as ones that enable teams to systematically develop novel, effective solutions to complex problems.) Yet Sandhu says it is clear there’s a demand for this kind of problem solving.

Sandhu’s proof is the continual over-enrollment in and rave reviews of his course. This year, 60 students applied for 25 spots. And for the past four years, 40 percent of students indicated it was the “best course” they took at UC Berkeley, with the other 40 percent stating it was in the “top 10 percent” and the rest saying it was in the “top 25 percent.”

Christine Hamann, an M.B.A./M.P.H. candidate who took Eat.Think.Design in 2014, confirmed that “the teaching team is phenomenal — both in terms of the academic leadership and the mentoring of graduate students.”

She also confirmed that she and her fellow students want “practical challenges in graduate school,” adding, “we are tired of theory.”

Hamann is one of the many students who has brought past work into the classroom. Before grad school, she worked for seven years at Partners In Health, most recently on the nonprofit’s COPE Project in the Navajo Nation. She said the course forced her to look at Navajo Nation residents’ consumer needs around food and nutrition — and to see food less as a supply issue and more of a demand issue.

“Traditional public health approaches focus on supply, but that is why you see programs that don’t meet the needs of the community,” she said.

Hamann and the three other graduate students opted not to focus on the best truck routes to bring fresh produce into the 27,000 square mile territory — and instead focused on seeing what citizens there want to consume and what can last in what is a food (and actual) desert. During the summer of 2014, with funding from the Blum Center, Hamann created pop-up grocery stores in Navajo, to determine which food items were most in demand and could help reduce chronic diseases like diabetes, which affects 20 percent of residents. This exploration helped lead to the aforementioned $3 million CDC grant for COPE.

As to why so many Cal students are so focused on food and nutrition, Hamann has this to say: “From a public health perspective, I think we’re seeing the ramifications of the American diet play out in really scary chronic disease indicators.” She also noted that there is a general heightened awareness of food systems — “of where food is coming from, the corporations that own it, and the detrimental effects those relationships can have on both health outcomes and business models.” Third, Hamann said a growing number of students want to see tech innovation applied to less wealthy and less urban populations—“the people,” she said, “who need it.”

Then, there are the galling statistics: Americans throw out an estimated 40 percent of food grown per year. An estimated 50 million Americans do not have access to enough food. As of 2012, about half of all adults — 117 million people — have one or more chronic health conditions, such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, obesity and arthritis. And childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years.

Sandhu is aware that a course on food innovation is well timed at UC Berkeley. In 2013, UC Berkeley’s College of Natural Resources, the Goldman School of Public Policy, the Graduate School of Journalism, Berkeley Law and the School of Public Health joined forces to create the Berkeley Food Institute to improve food systems locally and globally. A year later, UC President Janet Napolitano launched the UC Global Food Initiative — to prompt all 10 campuses, UC’s Division of Agricultural and Natural Resources, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, and a consortium of faculty, researchers and students to address food security, nutrition and sustainability issues. Even BigIdeas@Berkeley, the annual student innovation prize, has a contest category on food systems innovation.

“Our timing is either well forecasted or extremely lucky,” said Sandhu.

Eat.Think.Design may be a popular course — and may inspire copycats — but both students and instructors are quick to point out that the course cannot serve as a model for every graduate-level class.

“It is difficult to take more than one experiential class per semester,” said Hamann. “The time commitment with fellow students and with our client is just too big.”

Amy Regan, who took the course in 2013 and now works with the San Francisco Unified School District’s Future Dining Experience program, agrees that “compromising and agreeing on the best approach among a group takes time.”

For instructors, professor Madsen estimates the course requires one and a half to two times more time than an average School of Public Health offering, because she, Sandhu and Hosang each mentor three student groups during and after class time. The three instructors also spend time cultivating their connections to bring in student projects from nonprofits and government agencies. During the class on Feb. 4, 16 pitches were made by representatives of various organizations, including California Farm to Fork, San Quentin State Prison and Project Open Hand.

“Much more work goes into creating the class because of all the connections to be made,” said Madsen.

And very little is scripted. This gives the course the feeling of a kind of pedagogical startup, exciting but uncertain. Madsen said this atmosphere comes with a distinct disadvantage for professors.

“You have to admit you don’t know as much,” she said. “If your identity is wrapped up in being an academic expert, this won’t work; you’ll always default to the more narrow but comfortable path.”

For Sandhu and Hosang, who are adjuncts, there is less face to lose.

“I think over the last seven years, since the start of the Great Recession, there’s been a transformative energy happening in higher education,” said Hosang. “It’s coming from the younger generation who see the world has changed and who no longer see college as a ticket to success. That’s where this move toward an interdisciplinary, hands-on approach is coming from.”

View original article

CATEGORY: NewsComments Off

UC Davis student diagnosed with meningococcal disease


Student is receiving medical care and treatment at a local hospital.

(Updated Feb. 25: University and Yolo County Public Health officials say the student with meningococcal disease is recovering. The officials added that they had contacted people who had been in close contact with the student, so that they could arrange preventive medication for them. Read more, including the strain of meningococcal bacteria in this case.)

By Andy Fell, UC Davis

A student who attends the University of California, Davis, has been diagnosed with meningococcal disease, a bacterial infection that can cause bloodstream infections and meningitis, the university and public health officials said today (Feb. 23).

The student is receiving medical care and treatment at a local hospital.

UC Davis and Yolo County Public Health teams are investigating the case, providing preventive antibiotics to contacts where indicated, and educating the university community about meningococcal disease. Close contacts of meningococcal cases who are recommended to receive preventive antibiotics include people who were exposed to the ill person’s respiratory and throat secretions through living in close quarters, or kissing or other prolonged close contact.

University and county health officials are identifying people who had close contact with the student and recommending antibiotics to protect them from becoming ill. Officials are not recommending antibiotic prophylaxis for community members or UC Davis students in general. Prophylaxis is recommended for people specifically identified as close contacts of the ill student.

Meningococcal disease signs and symptoms, which are sometimes mistaken for those of flu early in the course of illness, can include:

  • High fever
  • Severe headache
  • Rash
  • Body aches/joint pain
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Confusion

Anyone with the signs or symptoms of meningococcal disease should seek medical care immediately. Early treatment of meningococcal disease is critical as the infection can quickly become life threatening.

Students with questions or any of the above symptoms should contact: UC Davis Student Health and Counseling Services’ Advice Nurse Line, (530) 752-2349.

Parents, family members and the general public with questions or concerns should contact: Student Health and Counseling Services’ Directors Office, (530) 752-2333.

Covering coughs, keeping hands clean and being up to date with recommended vaccines, especially flu vaccine this time of year, are actions everyone can take to stay healthy, protect themselves from illness and prevent the spread of infections to others.

Media contacts:
Beth Gabor
Public affairs manager
Yolo County
(530) 666-8042
beth.gabor@yolocounty.org

Andy Fell
UC Davis News Service
(530) 752-4533
ahfell@ucdavis.edu

Related links:

View original article

CATEGORY: NewsComments Off

UCSF receives $100M gift to advance health sciences mission


Landmark gift cements Chuck Feeney’s role as UC system’s top philanthropist.

Chuck Feeney

By Jennifer O’Brien, UC San Francisco

UC San Francisco has received a $100 million gift from visionary philanthropist Charles F. “Chuck” Feeney to support its new Mission Bay hospitals, world-class faculty and students, and research programs focused on the neurosciences and aging.

This donation brings the longtime supporter’s total UCSF giving to more than $394 million, making Feeney the single largest contributor to the University of California system.

“I get my gratification from knowing that my investments in medical research, education, and the delivery of health care at UCSF will provide lifelong benefits to millions of people not only in the Bay Area but also around the world,” said Feeney, who, despite his global presence as a successful entrepreneur and discerning philanthropist, prefers remaining out of the limelight. “I can’t imagine a more effective way to distribute my undeserved wealth.”

Reflecting on Feeney’s contributions, UCSF Chancellor Sam Hawgood, M.B.B.S., said, “As we celebrate UCSF’s 150th anniversary this year, it is only fitting that we acknowledge the unique role Chuck has played in our history. While his impact has been felt most profoundly during this past decade, his generosity will carry on forever at our university, in the San Francisco community, throughout the Bay Area and globally, as our faculty and students advance knowledge and provide the finest clinical care. We are honored that he has decided to invest again in UCSF.”

Feeney’s gifts to UCSF are most visible at the university’s Mission Bay campus, where he has provided indispensable support to create advanced facilities and foster the environment for the biomedical research and patient care that goes on within them.

Before the latest funding, Feeney’s most recent gift to the campus was to UCSF Global Health Sciences, enabling the October 2014 opening of Mission Hall, which houses global health researchers, scientists and students under the same roof for the first time. Feeney, who coined the term “giving while living,” also generously supported the building of the Smith Cardiovascular Research Building and the Helen Diller Family Cancer Research Building.

“Chuck Feeney has been our partner at Mission Bay for more than 10 years,” added Hawgood. “He immediately embraced the Mission Bay concept, and he has enthusiastically helped us shape a larger vision for the campus and finance its development because he knew that our research and clinical programs could not flourish without state-of-the-art buildings.”

Gift to support four primary areas

The Campaign for the UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay
Funds will support the $600 million philanthropy goal of the $1.5 billion hospitals project. The latest donation builds upon the transformative $125 million matching gift Feeney made to support the hospitals complex and its programs in 2009, the largest gift received toward the campaign.

The opening of the 289-bed hospital 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 – was the culmination of more than 10 years of planning and construction. Strategically located adjacent to UCSF’s renowned Mission Bay biomedical research campus, the new medical center places UCSF physicians in close proximity to UCSF researchers and nearby bioscience companies who are working to understand and treat a range of diseases, from cancer to neurological disorders.

“It’s been thrilling to see the reactions of our patients and their families as they encounter the amazing care offered at our new UCSF Mission Bay hospitals,” said Mark Laret, CEO of UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals. “This world-class experience would never have been possible without the support of Chuck Feeney who, as the largest contributor to the project, helped us create the hospitals of our dreams. Every patient cured, every breakthrough discovered at Mission Bay, will be thanks in part to Chuck. His legacy is unparalleled.”

Neuroscience and aging
The gift also supports UCSF’s pre-eminent neuroscience enterprise, including its Sandler Neurosciences Center and neurology programs at Mission Bay.

The center, a five-story, 237,000-square-foot building that opened in 2012, brings under one roof several of the world’s leading clinical and basic research programs in a collaborative environment. UCSF’s neurology and aging efforts are focused on finding new diagnostics, treatments, and cures for a number of intractable disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, stroke, migraine, epilepsy and autism. The programs also seek to integrate neuroscience and clinical disciplines with public health initiatives in order to disseminate and implement novel findings from research centers of excellence, as well as conduct community outreach to raise awareness about the diseases of aging.

“Chuck Feeney has taken a keen interest in the challenges of aging,” said Hawgood. “In turn, he has recognized UCSF’s extraordinary talent in the neurosciences, among both basic researchers and those who translate research into clinical care and public policy. This gift will build on UCSF’s strengths while encouraging strong partnerships at other research institutions around the world where Chuck also has made important investments.”

Student scholarships and housing
Even with its extraordinary academic firepower, UCSF has extremely limited funds to support scholarships for professional students in its schools of dentistry, medicine, nursing and pharmacy. Part of the gift will provide scholarship support, bolstering UCSF’s ability to recruit the best and brightest students, regardless of their financial circumstances.

Recent decreases in state funding led to tuition increases and higher demand for scholarships. This, in turn, increased student debt. Combined with Bay Area housing prices that are among the highest in the nation – from 2011 to 2013, the median rent increased by 24 percent – the prospect of overwhelming debt can deter economically vulnerable students as well as those from middle-class backgrounds from attending UCSF. By minimizing debt upon graduation, the scholarships will help ensure that a UCSF education remains in reach for students from underserved populations, as well as for those students who choose to become health care leaders in underserved communities.

“Scholarships give our students the gift of freedom: to make career choices based on purpose and passion, rather than the price of education; to use time to study, explore science, and volunteer to help others, rather than working to make ends meet; and to succeed because someone who never met them saw enough potential to invest in their dreams,” said Catherine Lucey, M.D., vice dean for education at UCSF’s School of Medicine. “These scholarships catalyze our schools’ ability to find, recruit, educate and nurture the workforce our country needs: talented professionals whose life experiences enable them to provide compassionate care to today’s diverse communities and advance science to improve the health of future communities.”

Faculty recruitment
The donation also will help UCSF recruit the next generation of promising faculty in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

New funding will attract junior faculty – who frequently find it more challenging to secure research funding – and provide initial startup funds as they launch their research careers and clinical practices. With decreasing federal support for young investigators, this gift will underwrite a new generation of brilliant upcoming faculty.

“While Chuck’s unprecedented generosity has been focused primarily on Mission Bay, he understands the power of the entire UCSF enterprise, from our cutting-edge stem cell research at Parnassus to our innovative cancer programs at Mount Zion,” Hawgood said. “We’re thrilled that Chuck has inspired other philanthropists to join him in creating one of the most vibrant life science communities in the world, where progress will ripple far beyond Mission Bay and the campus for generations to come.”

View original article

CATEGORY: NewsComments Off

Doctorate program will study substance abuse, its consequences


Collaboration between UC San Diego, SDSU among first in nation.

By Scott LaFee, UC San Diego

A new Joint Doctoral Program (JDP) in Interdisciplinary Research on Substance Use has been launched by the Division of Global Public Health in the UC San Diego School of Medicine and San Diego State University’s School of Social Work. The program will emphasize research devoted to studying the use and misuse of alcohol and drugs – and related social and health consequences.

“This program is the first of its kind,” said JDP co-director Steffanie Strathdee, Ph.D., professor and head of the UC San Diego Global Health Initiative. “Given that substance use has a growing health and societal impact in the U.S. and globally, this program could not come at a better time.”

The JDP will focus on research designed to identify and assess substance use risk and create intervention programs for preventing or ameliorating high‐risk behaviors related to substance use. It will include training to craft and evaluate disease prevention and health promotion recommendations and help guide public health policies.

María Luisa Zúñiga, Ph.D., JDP co-director and associate professor in SDSU’s School of Social Work, said “SDSU and UC San Diego have a long history of jointly offering cutting edge, high-demand programs. This new doctoral program is designed to train the next generation of researchers to lead interdisciplinary research efforts that will meaningfully address substance use issues of national and global impact. Our graduates will be highly sought after in fields including medicine, social work and public health, as well as research firms and governmental health departments.”

The new JDP is the 14th such program offered by UC San Diego and SDSU. Others include highly acclaimed programs in public health and clinical psychology.

Funding from SDSU Division of Academic Affairs and College of Health and Human Services will cover tuition fees and a teaching associate stipend for four students per year for up to four years. Students will spend the first year of study at SDSU, the second at UC San Diego and subsequent years working with faculty from both campuses.

For more information on the joint doctoral program in Interdisciplinary Substance Use Studies, visit socialwork.sdsu.edu/degrees-programs/graduate-programs/phd-substance-use-studies/phd-overview.

View original article

CATEGORY: NewsComments Off

Student projects dig deep into campus, community food issues


UCLA expands gardens, films documentaries as part of UC Global Food Initiative fellowships.

UCLA student Ian Davies (in the foreground) is working with three other students to install two new campus community gardens. Their project was funded by the UC Global Food Initiative, which was announced by UC President Janet Napolitano during a visit to UCLA last July.

By Rebecca Kendall, UCLA

Vanessa Moreno knows what it’s like to feed a family on a tight budget. The fourth-year international development studies major watched her own mother, a single parent, do it when she was temporarily unemployed. Moreno is now chronicling on video the story of a single mother of five as she struggles to meet the same challenge.

Fellow UCLA senior Sanna Alas, a human biology and society major, knows the value that urban gardening can bring to a community. She is helping students at Jordan High School in Watts tell their story through film as they turn an abandoned plot of land into a community garden for their school.

Alas and Moreno, who started these projects in the fall quarter when they were taking a class on filmmaking for social change, are now expanding their documentaries, thanks to a $2,500 fellowship that each student received from the UC Global Food Initiative Student Fellowship Program.

“This fellowship supports our project beyond the classroom,” said Alas. “We want to build upon it, make it bigger and include the voices of more people.”

The University of California Global Food Initiative, launched in July 2014, is a systemwide commitment to harness UC resources to sustainably and nutritiously feed the world’s population by 2025. Moreno and Alas are two of 16 UCLA undergraduate and graduate students to receive funding from this initiative to support four projects.

Other funded UCLA ventures include a research project to evaluate the impact and sustainability of farmer hubs in California that sell to large institutions — such as school districts and universities — and the creation of two new student-run vegetable gardens at UCLA that will be used to educate others about the benefits of a campus garden. A raised bed garden is scheduled to be built at Hershey Hall this winter, with an amphitheater garden to be installed at the Sunset Canyon Recreation Center in the spring.

Additionally, matching funds for two of these projects — the documentary being produced by Moreno’s group and the community garden project — were provided by the UCLA Healthy Campus Initiative, which is funded by generous support from Jane and Terry Semel.

“I want to congratulate the inaugural class of Global Food Initiative student fellows,” said UC President Janet Napolitano in a statement. “These are outstanding students who are passionate about this important global topic and will be able to make valuable contributions to this initiative through these fellowships. I’m looking forward to seeing the results of their projects.”

As a member of Mentors for Academic and Peer Support, one of 29 organizations operated through the UCLA Community Programs Office, Alas, along with two other UCLA students, is making a short documentary to tell the story of the Jordan High students and that of other urban gardeners in L.A.

“We chose to work on urban gardening because we believe that it strongly connects with current issues regarding health, food access and social justice throughout L.A.,” said Alas.

Alas’ documentary will also feature a weekend gardener at Wattles Farm community garden in Hollywood and a Native-American woman who incorporates her ancestral beliefs into a gardening class she teaches at the Autry Museum’s Southwest Museum. In the next phase of production, Alas plans to allow the Jordan High students to shoot their own footage as they turn neighborhood blight into a neighborhood asset.

“We want to put the camera into the students’ hands and have them take ownership,” Alas said. “We want them to tell the story of their own community.”

Health, food access and social justice are also at the root of the documentary being produced by Moreno and her team of four. The film, which draws attention to the relationship between food advertising and childhood obesity, follows single mother Stefani Gilmore as she tries to feed her family of six nutritionally, using the federal Special Supplement Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC).

Moreno’s team hopes to raise awareness of the issues faced by low-income and single parents and help motivate policymakers tighten up restrictions on advertising that markets food to children.

“I know what it’s like to be constrained monetarily and nutritionally,”` said Moreno. “It surprises me that more people are not aware of the realities faced by people in their own neighborhoods.” It’s not true that poor people eat fast food because they’re lazy and don’t want to cook for themselves, she said.

“They eat fast food because it’s the cheapest thing they can afford, and it’s readily available,” Moreno said. “When you’re working more than 40 hours a week, or not working at all, and taking care of a large family, you don’t have that much time to think about what’s for dinner. You’re just trying to survive.”

View original article

Related link:
Dozens of UC students awarded Global Food Initiative fellowships

CATEGORY: NewsComments Off

UC Davis increases efforts to train nursing students to serve in underserved areas


Grant will further develop integrative case-based learning programs for clinical grad students.

By Jennette Carrick, UC Davis

The Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis has received a $150,000 grant from the Office of Statewide Health and Planning to continue developing an integrative case-based learning curriculum for its clinical programs. The school also received an additional $103,650 in one-time, special program funds to provide housing and travel funds for students doing clinical training in underserved areas of central and Northern California.

The granting program, part of the Song-Brown Health Care Workforce Training Act Nurse Practitioner and Physician Assistant Training Program, encourages universities and primary care health professionals to provide health care in medically underserved areas and provides financial support for programs like the School of Nursing’s family nurse practitioner and physician assistant curricula. The School of Nursing’s application ranked first out of thousands of public and private in California that applied for support.

“We were only a handful of schools that focused on the social determinants of health. It tells us that we’re on track with the types of initiatives that are important for the state of California,” said Debra Bakerjian, senior director for the School of Nursing’s nurse practitioner and physician assistant clinical programs. “Providing high quality primary care to the medically underserved are both goals of the office and consistent with the core values of our school.”

In addition to studying health-care concepts, conditions or diagnoses, School of Nursing faculty use case scenarios from real case examples of people living with real conditions that impact their health. The cases are developed so that none of the people are identifiable, yet the details of specific events in a context or situation promote an authentic learning experience. Professors incorporate family relations, regional geography, cultural competence and sociodemographic details, with the hope that students will better appreciate the impact of multiple systems on individual health and well-being.

“By seeing past the chronic condition to explore the bigger picture, students acquire a unique set of knowledge, skills and attitudes that enable them to administer care effectively and lead a team of caregivers,” added Mark Christiansen, director of physician assistant studies. “These cases serve as curricular threads that decrease course isolation and facilitate learning across the curriculum.”

Over the past 40 years, UC Davis graduated 1,800 nurse practitioners and physician assistants, with 67 percent of graduates working in underserved areas. Additionally, nearly 70 percent of graduates work in primary care, compared with significantly lower national averages of between 30 and 40 percent. The new grants will enable faculty to make current integrative case-based curriculum more interactive and more interesting.

“Our philosophy of team-based learning and a flipped classroom creates an environment where our students retain more of what they learn,” explained Virginia Hass, director for the nurse practitioner program. “If we can incorporate videos, short tests and avatars into the program, we can make it more real and more engaging for the students.”

School of Nursing faculty also will use the funding to implement a requirement into clinical rotations mandating students follow people throughout the continuum of care — from office, to hospital, to skilled nursing facility and back to office again.

The Song-Brown Health Care Workforce Training Act was established in 1973 to increase the number of family physicians to provide needed health-care services to the people of California. The program encourages universities and primary-care health professionals to provide health care in medically underserved areas, and provides financial support to family nurse practitioner, physician assistant and registered nurse education programs, as well as family medicine, internal medicine, OB/GYN, and pediatric residency programs throughout California.

View original article

CATEGORY: NewsComments Off