UCLA Obstetrics and Gynecology Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Task Force
To guide departmental structures, policies, and practices to a) improve department workforce diversity relative to racial/ethnic, gender, and socioeconomic status, b) promote and improve obstetrics & gynecological health and healthcare equity, c) promote research and d) engage the community.
Areas of Focus
The Task Force identified six priority areas to create a culture of inclusion within our department and the broader community that we serve: 1) People, 2) Structural Equity, 3) Professional Development and Education, 4) Community Engagement, 5) Equitable Patient Care, and 6) Climate.
JEDI Task Force Leadership
The UCLA OBGYN JEDI Task Force is led by Lisa Nicholas, MD, Associate Clinical Professor and Vice Chair of Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. Dr. Nicholas has long been an advocate for racial justice and health equity both in the workplace - in our clinical practice and in education for our trainees – and in her personal life. Dr. Nicholas is exemplary of the anti-racism efforts that the department, the David Geffen School of Medicine and the larger UCLA campus are committed to promoting. Learn how Dr. Lisa Nicholas leads a task force to treat health inequity issues.
JEDI Committee Members
Additional JEDI Task Force members include: Zain Al-Safi, MD, Assistant Clinical Professor, Lisa Garcia, MD, Assistant Professor of Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology, Olive View-UCLA Medical Center, Christina Han, MD, Associate Clinical Professor and MFM Fellowship Director, Christine Holschneider, MD, Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Olive View-UCLA Medical Center, Carla Janzen, MD, PhD, Professor, Kiran Kavipurapu, JD, MPH, DO, Assistant Clinical Professor and the Associate Residency Program Director, Quy T. Nguyen, MD, Health Sciences Clinical Instructor, Erica Oberman, MD, Associate Clinical Professor and Residency Director, Sandra Orsulic, PHD, Professor, Aparna Sridhar, MD, MPH, Associate Clinical Professor and Director of Marketing and Innovation, Mya Zapata, MD, Assistant Clinical Professor and Labor and Delivery Director, Elaine Chan, MD, Resident, Anita Chanana, MD, Resident, Daniel S. Lee, MD, Resident, Kristy Fong, Medical Education Manager, Alondra Garcia, Project Manager, Ukarjit Kaur, Project Manager, Beth Miller, Director of Academic and Staff Personnel, and Tracy Prinz, Marketing and Communications Lead.
Equitable Patient Care
Dr. Mya Zapata, Medical Director of Labor and Delivery, Dr. Lisa Nicholas, Vice Chair of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, and Dr. Angela Chen, Family Planning Chief, are lead members of the UCLA Perinatal Coalition tasked with developing strategies for dismantling structural racism in maternity care at UCLA. They are partnering with organizations such as National Birth Equity Collaborative (NBEC) and California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative (CMQCC) to roll out an EDI survey for postpartum patients, implement equity and safety rounds and develop focus groups regarding equity in the workplace. They are pictured here with Dr. Joia Creer-Perry, founder and president of the National Birth Equity Collaborative.
Pilot Project Award to decrease racial and ethnic disparities in obstetrical outcomes
The Minority Housestaff Organization (MHO) at the David Geffen School of Medicine and the Office of Health Equity, Diversity, Inclusion (HEDI) at UCLA Health awarded Dr. Maria Paula Arias, UCLA OBGYN PGY2, a pilot project grant for her innovative approach to provide prenatal care to improve perinatal outcome and patient satisfaction. This project is designed to decrease racial and ethnic disparities in obstetrical outcomes. It is a resident led collaboration between the faculty physicians, residents, and clinical staff. This program was selected from a competitive review of potential research projects for funding. The purpose of the awards are to foster an environment of growth and career development for UCLA’s housestaff while at the same time serving the vulnerable patient populations of Los Angeles County.
Visiting Student Scholarship
UCLA Obstetrics and Gynecology has established a Visiting Student Scholarship program for outstanding final year medical students from underrepresented backgrounds. The student scholar will spend a 3-week sub-internship on one of our High-Risk Obstetrics, Inpatient Benign, Complex Family Planning or Reproductive Endocrinology rotations. Two awards will be given annually.
Keren Darius from Howard University was our inaugural 2021 recipient of the OB/GYN Visiting Student Scholarship Award. Recipients for 2022 were Dalia Rahmon from Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine and Cynthia Matsumura from Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
Black Maternal Health Panel
Dr. Lisa Nicholas was a featured panelist in the Maternal Health Panel sponsored by the CDU / UCLA SNMA, providing an opportunity to have a powerful and engaging conversation about the current state of Black maternal health in the United States. The panelists shared challenges, professional experiences and observations relative to their roles in the health care delivery system, as well as provided suggestions on how medical trainees can engage in awareness, education and advocacy to impact constructive solutions to the problems faced by Black mothers and their families.
Exploring Reproductive Injustice
The EDI Task Force arranged for a departmental screening of Belly of the Beast, a documentary exposing a pattern of illegal sterilizations in California’s women’s prisons. The screening was followed by a Q&A with the film’s director and a department-wide discussion.
Promoting Opportunities for Youth
UCLA OBGYN has established a partnership with Bridge Builders Foundation, a Los Angeles based nonprofit organization that supports youth through mentoring, scholarships, educational programs and the teaching of life skills. The initiative will build on the foundation’s efforts to raise health awareness and promote career opportunities for African American and other minority youth. The department will work with Bridge Builders to provide a platform for interested high school students to get to know UCLA Health trainees and professionals through a virtual series of lectures, lab experiences and dialogues.
Global Health Initiatives
Through clinical care, research, education and community service, we are committed to advancing and improving women’s health locally as well as globally. Christopher Tarnay, MD, Clinical Professor, in partnership with the non-profit Medicine for Humanity, led a volunteer team on a trip to Uganda to provide medical services and training. The UCLA team included two Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery fellows, a registered nurse, and a surgical technician. In five days, the team performed 45 surgeries to cure obstetric fistula and pelvic floor disorders and trained Ugandan doctors to perform surgery with the goal of building a self-sustaining clinic. Aparna Sridhar MD, MPH, Associate Clinical Professor, forged a partnership between the Safe Motherhood Committee of the Federation of Obstetric and Gynecological Societies of India and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists to spearhead a series of virtual academic exchange sessions about improving maternal health.
Professional Development and Education
Our series included presentations by Dr. Gail Wyatt giving an historical overview of her experience at UCLA entitled “Confronting Historical Patterns of Reproductive Injustice in Women,” Dr. Michael Lu exploring the causality of adverse pregnancy outcomes entitled "Racial-ethnic Disparities in Pregnancy Outcomes: A Life Course Perspective (20 years later),” and Dr. David McIntosh who provided training with a concrete tool chest in his presentation entitled “Bystander Apathy."
Sandra Orsulic, PHD, Professor of UCLA Obstetrics and Gynecology, organized the inaugural JEDI research symposium “Research in Disparities in OBGYN Care” focused on research on racial and socioeconomic disparities in obstetrics and gynecology care. Presenters included (from left to right in the photo) Sandra Orsulic, PhD, Leah Marsh, MD, Katherine Cotangco, DO, Marie Douglass, MD and Ava Mousavi, MS3.
Dr. Kavita Vinekar, a family planning specialist who cares for patients at VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, where she is the Chief of Obstetrics & Gynecology, as well as at UCLA-Santa Monica Medical Center, is author of the recently published Points of View article, Pathology of Racism — A Call to Desegregate Teaching Hospitals, in The New England Journal of Medicine.
Christine Holschneider, MD, Vice Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Olive View-UCLA Medical Center, is an author of Universal Social Needs Assessment in Gynecologic Oncology: An Important Step Toward More Informed and Targeted Care in the Public Safety Net published in the journal Cancer.
Resources for UCLA Faculty, Staff and Trainees:
Obstetrics and Gynecology Book Club
UCLA Obstetrics and Gynecology has developed a book club to implement engaged learning, incorporate diverse views and encourage dialogue amongst the department’s members. The first book being distributed and discussed is So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo.
University of California
University of California, Los Angeles
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
DGSOM Health, Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
DGSOM Anti-Racism Roadmap
DGSOM GME Subcommittee on EDI
Road to Residency
Reporting and Support Resources
U-ACT: An Advocacy Collaborative
DGSOM Pride Alliance