Christine Holschneider, MD
Dr. Christine Holschneider was sure of two things by the end of her UCLA OBGYN training: She wanted to stay within the UCLA Health system as a faculty member; and her ideal setting was at Olive View-UCLA Medical Center, the county hospital in the north San Fernando Valley where Dr. Holschneider spent much of the time during her residency and gynecologic oncology fellowship.
“I wanted nothing more than to bring the same excellent medical care to patients in the safety net that we provide to our UCLA patients in Westwood and Santa Monica,” Dr. Holschneider says. “That was then, and that is today.”
For the last 15 years, Dr. Holschneider has headed the OBGYN department at Olive View-UCLA. In that role, her department has grown in its dedication to research and evidence-based medicine while seeking to better understand the social risk factors for Olive View’s low-income patient population, then take actions based on those findings to overcome access and other barriers that too often stand between these patients and their health.
Under Dr. Holschneider’s leadership, Olive View has launched several programs that have done just that. One of the most successful grew out of a pilot initiative to pair lay navigators with patients for their cancer care. “We had found that only about 45% of our cervical cancer patients were completing their treatment in the prescribed eight-week time frame, and we know that each day of delay beyond that window reduces the chance of cure,” Dr. Holschneider notes. The navigators, who are bicultural and bilingual, helped patients with challenges on issues such as transportation, payor source for treatments, food insecurity, unstable housing, fear of missing work, and fragmented care — to the point that with navigation, nearly 90% of patients completed their guideline-adherent care within the prescribed time, with substantial improvements in survival. Building on the success of cervical and breast cancer navigation at Olive View, the county has now hired 30 cancer care navigators to improve access across the health system.
Dr. Holschneider credits her UCLA OBGYN training with giving her the foundation to develop as a clinician, researcher, teacher and leader. “I received superb training that allowed me to branch out with confidence when I started my career,” she says. “And just as important were the incredible mentors I had throughout my training, and then as a junior faculty member and beyond. Those mentorship relationships have now transformed into wonderful professional partnerships and long-lasting friendships.”