UCLA's Melvin and Bren Simon Gastroenterology Quality Improvement Program is committed to providing high-quality care and comprehensive education in quality improvement and assurance principles and research for those interested in pursuing an academic career. The Melvin & Bren Simon Gastroenterology Quality Improvement Program scholar is a one-year position for an individual interested in quality improvement and health care delivery. The scholar will participate in several QI efforts and initiatives in the UCLA Department of Medicine and UCLA Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases, contribute to research and publications, and develop a personal capstone project for submission to nationally recognized conferences.

Project design and leadership
With the support of the QI program director and UCLA quality leaders, the scholar will implement and assess quality interventions throughout the UCLA Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases, reaching all UCLA gastroenterology Facilities including satellite clinics. Clinical areas may include colorectal cancer screening, inflammatory bowel diseases, hepatology, motility disorders, functional bowel disorders and inpatient/outpatient clinical practice.

The scholar is expected to attend gastroenterology clinical case conferences with special skill building classes as needed through CTSI, the Department of Medicine, Intermountain Health, Jonathan and Karin Fielding School of Public Health and UCLA Anderson School of Management.

Education will include the following topics but is not limited to:

  • Epidemiology and statistics
  • Data analysis and research design
  • Quality improvement principles, tools and techniques
  • Lean methodology
  • Patient safety
  • Health information technology and informatics
  • Leadership and change management
  • Presentation skills and public speaking

Mentorship/Career development
The fellowship will be directed by Fola May, MD, PhD, MPhil (May Laboratory), a gastroenterologist, health services researcher, and director of the Gastroenterology Quality Initiative Program at UCLA (Health Services Research). Scholars will work directly with UCLA Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases leadership and Dr. May and will be paired with additional UCLA faculty members and quality leaders, based on clinical interests. Scholars are expected to meet with their mentors on a regular basis to discuss project details, career goals and aspirations. Scholars will have the opportunity to participate in meetings with hospital quality leadership, establish personalized roles on various quality improvement and assurance committees, and serve as liaison within the UCLA Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases, Department of Medicine Family Practice Group and various gastroenterology professional societies.

Applicants should have completed an ACGME accredited academic internal medicine residency OR a graduate-level degree in public health, statistics, epidemiology or health services. Those candidates with experience in clinical research and an interest in academic medicine are also highly encouraged to apply. Graduates from internal medicine training programs interested in pursuing specialty training in gastroenterology are also encouraged to apply.

Deadline to apply as a scholar for 2024-25
You may submit an application as early as September 1, 2023 and up until February 15, 2024.

How to apply
Please send the following documents by email to Dr. Fola May at [email protected], subject: Melvin and Bren Simon Gastroenterology Quality Improvement Program:

  1. Brief personal statement describing career interests (word limit: 300)
  2. Curriculum vitae
  3. One or two letters of recommedation; (must be sent directly by the author)

Current Scholar

Helen Yu, MD

Helen Xu, MD
Melvin & Bren Simon Gastroenterology Quality Improvement Scholar
Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

Dr. Xu graduated from Yale University with a degree in psychology. She completed her medical degree at Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University, where she graduated cum laude with distinction in research. She is a member of both the Alpha Omega Alpha and Gold Humanism honor societies. She recently completed her internal medicine residency training at UCLA.

Dr. Xu has conducted research in child psychiatry, hepatology and fungi of the Amazonian rainforest. She also worked as part of a design team that patented a novel health product. Her areas of interests include quality improvement, medical education, liver transplantation and colorectal cancer prevention. 

Past Scholars

Brandon Smith
Brandon C. Smith, MD
Sadie R. De Silva, MD
Sadie De Silva, MD
Camille Soroudi, MD
Camille Soroudi, MD
Anthony Myint, MD
Anthony Myint, MD
Dr. Edgar Corona
Edgar Corona, MD, MPH, MSIV
Dr. Courtney Reynolds
Courtney Reynolds, MD, PhD
Aria Zand, MD
Aria Zand, MD
Jitin Makker, MD
Jitin Makker, MD
Christine Yu, MD
Christine Yu, MD