Who we are
The UCLA Health brand, core mission, key message, brand pillars and personality
Policies, permissions and approvals to use UCLA, UCLA Health logos and marks
Creating an inclusive experience for everyone
How we look and talk
Logos & Marks
UCLA Health Logo
UCLA Mattel Childrens Hospital Logo
UCLA Health Brand Signature
UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center
Naming, Copy & Content
How to apply brand guidelines across channels
Reception Area Videos
Update Your Provider Profile
UCLA Health Style Guide
Project Request Guidelines
How to Place Orders
Business Cards & Stationery
Physician Announcement Cards
Back to top
Abbreviations — An abbreviation is the shortened form of a written word. In most cases, only abbreviate names on the second reference. Avoid using abbreviations that would not be easily recognized by most readers. Try to use abbreviations sparingly. Avoid using more than one abbreviation in a sentence. For information about how to abbreviate specific items, refer to their particular entry in this guide or The Associated Press Styleguide.
Examples: Mr. is an abbreviation of Mister; tsp. is an abbreviation of teaspoon.
Abortion — Use anti-abortion (not pro-life or anti-choice), abortion rights (not pro-abortion, anti-life or pro-choice), and abortion doctor or abortion practitioner (not abortionist).
Academic degrees/credentials — Only include highest-earned degree, with the exception of "MD, PhD," when both should be listed. Use at the end of a full name on the first reference only and in captions. Always use initials. When trying to establish someone’s position as an expert in a story, refer only to his or her specialty rather than using the initials of his or her degree(s).
Do not use periods between letters of academic degrees: MD, not M.D.; PhD, not Ph.D. If the subject is an MD, PhD or DO, refer to him or her as "Dr." on second reference.
Examples: John Smith, MD, seen here, with his patients; Jennifer Conner, BSN, joined UCLA General Pediatrics in 2016.
Academic departments and divisions — Lowercase the names of academic departments and divisions, except when used as a proper noun or when part of the official and formal name.
Examples: Does UCLA have a marketing department?; the UCLA Department of Neurology; the dean of the division of social sciences; the UCLA Division of Humanities; the UCLA College of Letters and Science's Division of Life Sciences.
Accept, except — Accept has several different meanings but in general means one of three things: to willingly receive something, to give permission or approvalto or to regard as proper or an ultimate truth.
Except refers to an exclusion or something outside of the ordinary.
Acronyms — An acronym is a word formed from the first letter(s) of a series of words. Omit periods between the letters. Generally, capitalize acronyms when the series of words form a proper name, such as CDC for Centers for DiseaseControl and Prevention, or the individual letters are pronounced, such as HMO for health maintenance organization.
Examples: The word laser is an acronym for light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation.
UNESCO (pronounced you-Ness-co) is an acronym for the United Nations Educational, Scientific & Cultural Organization.
Act — Capitalize when using act as a piece of legislation.
Example: The Dream Act
Acute care nursing
Addresses — Use abbreviations for street, avenue and boulevard when writing numbered addresses. All other street designations (lane, circle, alley, etc.) should be spelled out.
Do not spell out numbers in addresses. Only use the numeric form for the house or building number. However, street names that use ordinal numbers 1-9 should be spelled out and capitalized.
Examples: 1234 Main St.; 7654 Willow Circle; 745 Fifth Ave.
Affect, effect — Affect is most commonly used as a verb, meaning to influence. There is seldom a need to use affect as a noun in daily language, unless describing an emotion.
Example: Supporting local businesses affects the local economy.
Effect can be used as either a verb or a noun. As a verb, it means to cause. In its noun form, it means a result.
Examples: The fall of the regime was the effect of widespread protests.
Ages — Numerals should always be used for living things. For inanimate objects or when used at the beginning of a sentence, spell out the number. When expressed as an adjective before a noun or as a substitute for a noun, use a combination of numerals and hyphens.
Examples: John Doe, 35, is a rising star in the organization.
John Doe is 35 years old.
Thirty-five-year-old John Doe is on the fast-track to success in the organization.
The five-year-old building is already in need of repairs.
AIDS, HIV — AIDS is acceptable in all references to “acquired immune deficiency syndrome.” AIDS is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV. HIV is acceptable in all references.
All- — Use a hyphen when using this as a prefix.
Examples: all-around; all-encompassing
Alumnus, alumni; alumna, alumnae — Alumnus is the singular, masculine form of alumni. Alumna is the singular, feminine form of alumnae. Use alumni when referring to a group of men and women.
American Medical Association — Only use initials AMA on the second and subsequent references.
Ampersand (&) — Use only when it is part of the name of an organization or a composition.
Examples: U.S. News & World Report; House & Garden Magazine
am/pm See time. Not a.m. or AM.
Annual — Describes an event that happens once every year. Events cannot be considered annual unless they have been held for at least two successive years. If reporting on an event that is the first of an event to be held annually, note that rather than labeling it as an annual event. Do not use the description “first annual.” Use inaugural.
Another — Do not use as a synonym for additional. Only use when it doubles the original amount mentioned.
Examples: Twenty people have signed up for classes; another 20 are expected to sign up soon.
Fifteen people agreed with the decision while another 15 dissented.
Wrong: Three stores were severely damaged in the flood. Another 10 suffered only minor damages.
Ante- — See the Prefixes entry.
Anti- — Generally, all words containing this prefix should be hyphenated, except those below. Note that all physics terms that use this prefix should not be hyphenated.
Anticipate, expect — When one anticipates something, there is an implied element of preparation for the coming event. Expect does not imply that preparations have been made for what is to come.
Anybody, any body, any one, anyone — Generally, use one word. When the emphasis is placed on a single element, use two words.
Examples: The right smoking cessation program can help anyone kick the habit.
Any one of the many programs available could help you quit smoking.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder — No hyphens or slashes. ADHD is acceptable on second reference. Autism, autism spectrum disorder — Autism is appropriate for first and successive references. The term autism spectrum disorder is appropriate for first reference, if dictated by the research or faculty member, but use autism for second reference. Avoid using ASD in all references.
Baby boomer — Refers to the generation born after World War II and in their late teens and early 20s during the 1960s and 1970s. Always lowercase and only hyphenated when used as a compound modifier.
Examples: He is a baby boomer; He is of the baby-boomer generation.
Bachelor of Arts/Science — Bachelor’s degree can be used rather than the full title. See Academic degrees entry.
Bi- — The rules in Prefixes apply.
Biannual, biennial — Something that occurs biannually occurs twice each year. An event that occurs biennially occurs once every two years.
Bimonthly, biweekly — Bimonthly and biweekly refer to events that occur once every two months or once every two weeks, respectively. Semimonthly and semiweekly refer to events that occur twice each month or twice each week.Breastfeed — One wordBroadcast — Use this for both present and past tense. Broadcasted is unacceptable.By- — The rules in Prefixes apply.
Call letters — Capitalize all letters in the name of a broadcast station. Use a hyphen to separate the individual call letters from the base call letters. It is not always necessary to include the base call letters. They should be excluded on a second reference to the station.
Examples: WRNR-FM; WJZ-TV
Can’t hardly — Although grammatically correct, it implies a double negative, which is never acceptable. Avoid using this phrase. The preferred form is can hardly.
Capitalization — Capitalize the following:
Caretaker — Caregiver is preferable to caretaker when referring to the care of people.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — The abbreviation CDC is acceptable on the second and takes a singular verb.
Certified registered nurse practitioner — The abbreviation CRNP is acceptable in all references.
Cesarean section — C-section is acceptable on second reference.
City — Follow rules of capitalization. When using more generalized terms, always lowercase.
Click here — MUST be avoided. Most Web users intuitively know to “click” at a hyperlink. The link should be the part of the text that describes the function. Example: Browse Common Questions. Use terms such as Read More, Learn more, View, For More Information, or Download.
Clinical trial phases — Lowercase phase. Use the Arabic numeral, not Roman numeral.
Example: phase 2 clinical trial
Co- — Hyphenate when creating a word that indicates status. In other combinations, do not hyphenate.
Examples: co-pilot; co-author; coexist; cooperation
Note that cooperation and similar words are exceptions to the rule that prefixes should be hyphenated when the following word begins with the same vowel.
Coinsurance — Not co-insurance.
Complementary/Complimentary — Complementary refers to the ability of a person or item to enhance or add to another. Complimentary is in reference to something that is free of charge.
Coordination of benefits Spell out initial reference. May be shortened to COB upon subsequent references in the same article.
Comparison of benefits Always spell out.
Copay No hyphen. Not copayment, not co-pay, not co-payment.
Complementary/Complimentary Complementary refers to the ability of a person or item to enhance or add to another. Complimentary is in reference to something that is free of charge.
Composition titles Except for books that are primary catalogs of reference material (dictionaries, directories, encyclopedias, etc.), put quotation marks around titles of books, magazine articles, lectures, seminars, films and TV shows, computer games, poems and songs. Italicize titles of magazines, journals and newspapers.
Examples: "Prescription for Excellence"; "The Mary Tyler Moore Show"; The Washington Post; New England Journal of Medicine
Comprise vs. compose — Comprise is a verb that means “to include or contain” or “to consist of.” Therefore, comprised of is incorrect. Use comprise to introduce the complete list of items that make up a whole.
Example: UCLA Health comprises Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center; UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica; UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital; Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital at UCLA; David Geffen School of Medicine; UCLA Faculty Practice Group and more than 160 community health clinics.
Compose means “to make up or form the basis of.”
Examples: A team composed of UCLA oncologists and geneticists discovered a new gene associated with breast cancer. The cloth is composed of cotton and polyester.
Comma — See Punctuation 101
Coordination of benefits — Spell out initial reference. May be shortened to COB upon subsequent references in the same article.
Comparison of benefits — Always spell out.
Copay — No hyphen. Not copayment, co-pay or co-payment.
CT scan — The abbreviation is acceptable for all references. The abbreviation stands for computerized tomography. Never write CAT scan, which is the popular pronunciation.
Dates — Only abbreviate the following months: Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., Dec. Always capitalize all months. Always use the cardinal number, not ordinal (1st, 2nd, 3rd etc.).
Example: Oct. 3, 2011
Days of the week — Always capitalize. Never abbreviate unless they are used in a tabular calendar.
Disabled, handicapped, impaired — Never mention a person’s disability unless it is crucial to the story. Of the three terms mentioned, the preferred term is disabled.
Diseases — Never capitalize unless they are known by the name of the person who identified the disease or they come at the beginning of a sentence.
Examples: arthritis, not Arthritis; Alzheimer’s disease
Doctor — Abbreviate to Dr. when describing those with doctorate degrees. Academic credentials follow their names on the first reference only. The abbreviation should be used only on second and subsequent references. Neverwrite Dr. John Smith, MD. See MD entry.
Doctor of Obstetrics — The abbreviation DO is acceptable in all references. See Academic Degrees and Doctor entries.
Doctor of Dental Surgery — The abbreviation DDS is acceptable in all references. See Academic Degrees and Doctor entries.
Doctor of Podiatric Medicine — The abbreviation DPM is acceptable in all references. See Academic Degrees and Doctor entries.
Download — One word.
Drug addiction — Do not refer to someone as a “drug addict.” Use “someone with a drug addiction” or “someone experiencing a drug problem.”
Drug references — In general, trade or brand names of drugs or products must be avoided. Use the generic name whenever possible. Refer to the Physicians' Desk Reference to determine a drug's generic name. Only refer to the trademarkname if it is essential to the story. When a trademark name is used, capitalize it.
Each other, one another — Two people look at each other, more than two look at one another. When the number is undefined, either phrase can be used.
ED — emergency department
Either…or; neither…nor — The nouns that follow these words do not constitute a compound subject; they are alternate subjects and require a verb that agrees with the closer subject.
Examples: Neither they nor he is going; neither he nor they are going.
Email — Never hyphenate.
Everyone/every one — Two words when it means each individual item. One word when used as a pronoun meaning all persons.
Extra- — The rules in Prefixes apply.
Facebook — When posting to Facebook, follow all grammatical and spelling standards as explained in this guide and The Associated Press Stylebook.
First quarter/First-quarter — Hyphenate when used as a compound modifier.
Examples: The company released a financial statement for the first quarter; The company released a first-quarter financial statement.
Food and Drug Administration — FDA is acceptable on second reference. Please note: It is not the Federal Drug Administration
Form titles — Use the proper name at the top of the form to name the PDF document for online posting. Try to avoid spaces in file names.
Examples: Release of Information.pdf, Coordination of Benefits.pdf; Registration and Prescription Order Form.pdf.
Also, ensure the revision date appears at the bottom left of the document for easy identification. Use the Adobe Acrobat icon or label with [PDF], so the user knows they will download a document.
Full- — Hyphenate when used to form compound modifiers
Examples: full-dress; full-page; full-fledged; full-scale; full-length
Fully funded — Commercial health plans. Use only when necessary. Do not hyphenate -ly adverbs. So avoid fully-funded, fully-insured.
Full time/full-time — Hyphenate when used as a compound modifier.
Fundraise, fundraiser, fundraising
Governor Capitalize and abbreviate as Gov. (singular) or Govs. (plural)
Grade, -grader — Hyphenate in combining forms: a fourth-grade pupil, a 12th-grade student, a first-grader, a 10th-grader.
Groundbreaking — One word.
Health care — Two words
HIPAA — Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. Not HIPPA.
HMO — Widely used acronym for health maintenance organization health plan product
Holidays and holy days — Always capitalize the name of the holiday or holy day.
Hospitals — Write out the full name of each UCLA hospital, except for an internal document, which a consumer will never read.See Naming conventions for UCLA Health.
Hospital units, divisions, floors — Capitalize when presented as part of the full and official name. In UCLA materials, this typically means “UCLA” is included in the name. Otherwise, units, floors, divisions and departments should be lowercase.
Examples: Please direct Helena Hall to the pediatric intensive care unit.
The UCLA Neonatal Intensive Care Unit was recognized by The Joint Commission for best practices in maternal and neonatal care.
The medical intensive care unit (MICU) is located on the fifth floor.
Exception: However, when presented as part of a cover title for a floor/unit brochure, the floor/unit name should always be capitalized, even without the UCLA qualifier as it is presented within the clear context that we are talking about UCLA. The rest of the title still follows sentence case capitalization.
Example: Your guide to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit
Hours of operation — Spell out days of the week, followed by a colon. Use an en dash to denote a time span. Follow the time construct in the Time entry.
Example: Monday-Thursday: 10 am – 4:30 pm
Hyper- — The rules of Prefixes apply.
Impact — While grammatically correct to use its verb form when referring to something that has had an effect on one’s life, avoid using it in this manner. It can cause confusion in the medical setting as it has a medical definition (when something is impacted, it is either blocked or there is something lodged in a bodily passage; it can also mean that two pieces of bone have been driven together or that a tooth is wedged between the jawbone and another tooth.)
Instead, use affect.
In/into — In indicates location. Into indicates movement.
Examples: She was in the ER. Her family walked into her room from the hall.
In network — Hyphenate when used as an adjective.
Innovative — Avoid this term in all health plan content unless it can be sourced to a specific, non-UCLA Health document identifying the program, facility or project noted as innovative.
Inquire/inquiry — Never enquire or enquiry.
Insurance, insurance plan — Use health plan or health plan product, avoid insurance product except where required by law.
Intensive care unit
Inter- — The rules in the Prefixes apply.
Internet/intranet — Lowercase internet and intranet.
Intrauterine Device — Abbreviate only on the second reference to IUD.
The Joint Commission — Joint Commission on second reference.
Junior/Senior — Only abbreviate at the end of a full name. It should be preceded by a comma.
Example: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Languages — Capitalize the proper names of languages and dialects.
-less — Never use a hyphen before this suffix.
Likable — Never likeable.
-like — Do not precede this suffix by a hyphen unless the letter L would be tripled.
Examples: Businesslike; Shell-like
Like — Follow with a hyphen when used as a prefix meaning similar to.
Examples: Like-minded; Like-natured
Like v. as — Use like as a preposition to compare noun and pronouns. It requires an object.
Example: Jim blocks like a pro.
The conjunction as is the correct word to introduce clauses.
Example: Jim blocks the linebacker as he should.
Login, logon, logoff — Write as two words when using as verbs. As they are written in this entry, they are nouns.
Examples: The login is 12345; Please log in to your computer.
Long term, long-term — Hyphenate when using as a compound modifier.
Examples: We will win in the long term; He has a long-term assignment.
MD — The acceptable abbreviation on all references for medical doctor. Although the abbreviation is acceptable in all references, only use this abbreviation after the first mention of a medical doctor after their full name. For subsequent references, use the abbreviation Dr. before their last name. Do not use periods with degrees, as in M.D., Ph.D.
Example: John Smith, MD; Second Mention: Dr. John Smith
Medevac — An acceptable abbreviation on all references to medical evacuation.
Medicaid — Always capitalized, as it is a proper noun.
Medicare — Always capitalized, as it is a proper noun.
Mid- — The rules in Prefixes apply, except when followed by a figure, such as mid-40s
Military titles — Capitalize a military rank when used as a formal title before an individual’s name. On the first reference, use the appropriate title before the full name of a member of the military. Subsequent references should only use the service-member’s last name.
Months — See the Dates entry.
National Institutes of Health — NIH on second reference.
Nationalities and races — Capitalize the proper names of nationalities and races. Lowercase black and white. Never use yellow, red or mulatto to describe a person’s ethnicity unless directly quoting.
No. — Use No. as the abbreviation for number in conjunction with a figure to indicate position or rank.
Example: UCLA Health hospitals rank No. 1 in Los Angeles.
Non-English-speaking (adj.) — Hyphenated
Nonstudent — One word
Numerals — Spell out numbers one through nine or at the beginning of a sentence. Use ordinal numbers (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.) when the sequence has been assigned in forming names (the 4th Ward). Only use a number symbol as an abbreviation for number when establishing rank (ex. We’re #1). When writing out a headline or a chapter name, always use the numeral, even for numbers one through nine.
OB/GYN — The acceptable abbreviation for obstetrician/gynecologist. The abbreviation is acceptable in all references.
One — Hyphenate when used in writing fractions.
Examples: one-half; one-third
Ordinal indicators — st, nd, rd, etc. Do not superscript.
Example: Mr. Pence was the 10th Republican governor to approve Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act.
Orthopaedics — Not orthopedics
Online — Not on-line or on line. Use only when necessary as it is usually implied.
Outpatient — Not out-patient.
Out of network — Out-of-network (adjective), not non-network.
Out-of-pocket — Out-of-pocket (adjective).
Overall — A single word when used as an adjective or adverb.
Page numbers — Never abbreviate page as pg. Follow with figures.
Example: page 13
PCP — Primary-care physician. Spell out on initial reference.
PDF — Portable Document File. The file format PDF is acceptable; however, it should primarily be used to display a document intact on the Web (such as a newsletter or form). PDF documents should primarily be housed in the download library for the appropriate constituent. When not housed in the library a note to the user about needing Adobe Reader to view the document is recommended and the note should be a link to www.adobe.com.
Percent — Not per cent. Use the percent symbol (%) when numbers appear in a graph or chart.
Personifications — Always capitalize.
Examples: Mother Nature; Old Man Winter
Phone numbers and extensions — Always use hyphens to separate the area code, the prefix and the last four digits. Do not use parentheses.
Example: 310-825-2585 x1057.
Photo captions —
Physician assistant — The abbreviation PA is acceptable in all references.
pm — Not p.m. or PM.
Portal — Point of entry for a website or section of a website. A place on website where someone can go to access numerous resources relating to your “audience.”
POS — Acronym often used to identify a point of service health plan product
Post-mortem — Hyphenate.
Postoperative — Do not hyphenate.
Post-traumatic stress disorder — Hyphenate post-traumatic. PTSD acceptable on second reference.
Pre-authorization — Hyphenate.
Pre-certification — Use pre-authorization.
Pre-existing conditions — Not preexisting or preex. Always hyphenate, never shorten.
Prefixes — In general, do not hyphenate when using a prefix with a word starting with a consonant. The three following rules are consistent, but do have some exceptions:
For exceptions to any of the above rules, check the specific entry in this guide or The Associated Press Stylebook for clarification.
Preventive — Not preventative.
Primary care doctor, Primary care speciality — Do not hyphenate primary care.
Pro- — Use a hyphen when coining words that denote support for something.
Examples: Pro-labor; pro-peace; pro-business; pro-war
Referral — Occurs when a participating primary care physician refers a covered member (patient) to a participating specialist. Not the same as pre-authorization.
Seasons — Lowercase unless part of a formal name or at the start of a sentence.
Stages of cancer — Use numerals 1-4.
Example: Stage 4 cancer
States — Spell out the names of states when listed alone in textual material. State names may be abbreviated if they appear in groups or to fit typographical requirements for tabular material. Be consistent with whichever format is chosen throughout the publication.
The following states are never to be abbreviated: Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, Texas or Utah. Below are appropriate abbreviations for the rest of the states.
T cell (n.), T-cell (adj.) — Capitalize T. No hyphen for the noun form. Hyphenate when used as an adjective.
Examples: He had a healthy number of T cells; His T-cell counts increased over time.
That/which (pronouns) — Use that and which in referring to inanimate objects and to animals without a name. Use that for essential clauses, important to the meaning of a sentence, and without commas: I remember the day that we met. Use which for nonessential clauses, where the pronoun is less necessary, and use commas: The team, which finished last a year ago, is in first place.
Time — Use figures except for noon and midnight. Use a colon to separate hours from minutes. Avoid redundancies, like 11 am this morning. Never use the o’clock construct. When describing a span of time that lasts for an hour or more, follow these guidelines:
See Hours of Operation entry.
Titles — In general, confine capitalization to formal titles used directly before an individual’s name. Otherwise, lowercase titles, regardless of the importance of the position.
Examples: The committee told President Obama that they disagreed with him. The financial director of the hospital, Bob Smith, released the quarterly financial report.
Titles of compositions and broadcasts should always be capitalized and italicized. For more guidance, see the following entries: Capitalization; Composition Titles.
Trademarks — Use trademark for first mention; afterward you don't have to use it.
Example: daVinci™ Surgical System.
Trauma center levels — Use Roman numerals.
Example: Level III trauma center.
Tumor grades — Use numerals 1-4.
Twitter — An individual post is called a tweet, not a twitter. When posting to Twitter, feel free to abbreviate and truncate words as necessary. Take care to maintain the original meaning of the tweet and to avoid confusing or uncommon abbreviations.
URL — The address of a web page. In print, exclude “www.”
Example: uclahealth.org, not https://www.uclahealth.org/
Check that URL functions without “www” before publishing.
U.S. News & World Report
Username — One word
Veterans Affairs — Not Veterans Administration. VA on second reference.
Washington, D.C. — Use Washington on second reference or District of Columbia.
Web page — Two words with lowercase w.
Website — One word with lowercase w.
Who/whom — Who is the pronoun used for references to human beings and to animals with a name. It is grammatically the subject (never the object) of a sentence, clause or phrase.
Examples: The woman who rented the room left the window open; Who is there?
Whom is used when someone is the object of a verb or preposition.
Examples: The woman to whom the room was rented left the window open. Whom do you wish to see?
World Health Organization — Use the abbreviation WHO on the second and subsequent references.
X-ray — Capitalize X. Not xray or x-ray
Years — Use figures without commas: 2011. Use commas only with a month and day: Nov. 30, 2011. Use an s without an apostrophe when referencing spans of decades or centuries. 1900s, 1870s.
< Back to Style Guide