UCLA takes great pride in adapting to the ever-changing healthcare needs of southern California's residents. In addition to providing world-class patient care and education, the Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine pursues opportunities for faculty, staff and students to engage with the many communities served by the UCLA Health System.

Our faculty, staff, residents and fellows routinely participate in events designed to:

  • Prevent the over-use of opioid medication
  • Educate high school students about the range of careers available in anesthesiology, medicine, science, technology, and engineering (STEM)
  • End health care disparities in underserved populations and locations
  • Educate aspiring medical students on anesthesia career opportunities

Below are examples of our recent community outreach activities. We support STEM education in Los Angeles public schools -- see our recent In the News post about an event that benefited the Girls' Academic Leadership Academy. You can also read more about our residents’ activities on our In the Community page.  To learn more about our professionals’ work around the world, please visit Global Healthcare Initiatives

On this page:

Public School Students Enjoy Hands-on Anesthesiology Experience
Jason Hirsch, MD, and Medical Students Bring Healthcare to Homeless Patients
Pain Medicine and the Community

Public School Students Enjoy Hands-on Anesthesiology Experience

Dr Poorsattar

Our faculty members Christine Nguyen-Buckley, MD, John Shin, MD, and Karen Sibert, MD, FASA, hosted an enthusiastic group of high school juniors from El Segundo High School on a full morning visit to the UCLA Simulation Center on June 6. With their teachers Donna Tucker (a former nurse) and Tiffany Maisonet, the students had the chance to hear and ask questions about careers in medicine and anesthesiology, and then watched a live simulation training session in real-time by video feed.

In a separate event on May 25, two of our residents visited the Girls’ Academic Leadership Academy, the first-ever all-girls’ public school in Los Angeles with a curriculum focused on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education. CA-2 resident Sophia Poorsattar, MD, and CA-1 resident Thu Nguyen, MD, demonstrated the art of point-of-care ultrasound to the students, and fielded many questions about their personal pathways into medicine and anesthesiology.

Both events were part of the ongoing partnership between our department, the California Society of Anesthesiologists (CSA) and Project Lead the Way, a national nonprofit organization which has developed the innovative curriculum in biomedical education now in use at El Segundo High School, GALA, and Venice High School. CSA provides financial support for teacher training, and our department makes faculty and resident time available to support the educational mission.

The students at the Simulation Center watched raptly as CA-3 resident Lena Russino, MD, demonstrated the diagnosis and management of acute air embolism as it evolved during a simulated laparoscopic tubal ligation. Dr. Shin explained what was happening at every step.

As the vital signs deteriorated, one student exclaimed, “This is stressful already, and I’m just watching!” They were impressed at how Dr. Russino remained calmly in control of the situation, and coordinated the efforts of her team.

After the simulation, the students practiced using point-of-care ultrasound with Dr. Shin, and then toured the Simulation Center with Dr. Nguyen-Buckley, seeing the various OR, ED, and ICU sites, and all the different mannequins available for training.

Ms. Tucker, the lead teacher, sent a note of thanks to the team for “taking time out of your busy schedules for the next generation of care providers. They were very excited and impressed with hearing about how each of you came into the field of anesthesiology.”

She emphasized the importance of the lessons the students took away from watching the simulation:

  • Communication
  • Asking for help
  • Keeping calm
  • Reasoning through what was happening
  • Taking action to bring the patient back to homeostasis.

“Seeing and learning this process can be used across all disciplines, and is an excellent life skill,” Ms. Tucker wrote. “We simply could not have asked for a more engaging learning opportunity. Not one cell phone came out during the simulation!”

Jason Hirsch, MD, and Medical Students Bring Healthcare to Homeless Patients

Dr Jason Hirsch

The UCLA Mobile Clinic is a free medical clinic for the homeless that operates in two locations, in West Hollywood and in Santa Monica. The clinic’s staff of medical students, primarily in their first year, work toward improving the health of this very vulnerable population by diagnosing and treating acute illnesses as well as chronic medical conditions. Dr. Hirsch shares his experiences volunteering each month at the Ocean Park Community Center in Santa Monica.

Pain Medicine and the Community

Dr George Pan

Our department provides complimentary pain consultations to UCLA employees at the University’s annual I Heart Walking event. The event, which includes guided campus-wide walks throughout the week, kicks off with free health screenings at the Pauley Pavilion Club. In February, our Program Manager, Shevaughn Marchese, and Administrative Specialist Kelli Malone gave attendees literature on the Health System’s pain management options. They were joined by pain specialist and faculty member Eric Hsu, MD, an expert in interdisciplinary pain management and the first author of Problem-Based Pain Management.

As opioid abuse has become a national crisis, high-quality pain management plays a critical role in keeping patients safe from the cycle of escalating need for opioid medications.

Many UCLA employees aren’t aware of the breadth of options available for pain management in the Health System. At the I Heart Walking event, attendees have the opportunity to “meet with representatives from the UCLA pain team and ask questions, seek advice and receive referrals,” says Dr. Hsu.

“Pain treatments are not just medication and injections. We also provide non-pharmacologic pain counseling and coping strategies,” he added. To minimize the use of opioids, UCLA’s pain team uses mind-body medicine, such as acupuncture, and interventional pain procedures, such as nerve blocks. The department believes that this is an area where the field of anesthesiology can truly contribute to population health.

To learn more about UCLA’s pain management programs, visit the Comprehensive Pain Center’s website.

Photos, from top: Dr. Sophia Poorsattar demonstrates point-of-care ultrasound to students at the LA Girls' Academic Leadership Academy; Dr. Jason Hirsch and medical students at the Ocean Park Community Center; Dr. George Pan, who practices pain management in Santa Clarita, answered questions at the I Heart Walking event.