Message from Department Chair, Deborah Krakow, MD

Deborah Krakow

As we begin the new year there are improving signs that infections from the latest COVID-19 variant Omicron are decreasing, life is moving toward pre-pandemic normal, and stronger infrastructure has successfully been built with multiple options for testing and vaccination that should help us fight any future variants of the coronavirus.

Yet we are beginning to see evidence of another tragic legacy that COVID-19 will leave behind – new and more serious health challenges caused by patients delaying preventive care or even foregoing physician visits during the pandemic. For many in the U.S. it has been over 2 years since scheduling a “normal” doctor visit for a primary care check-up and annual screening for diseases such as cancer.  A recent study by the University of Michigan found that close to 30% of adults over 50 with a 2021 scheduled procedure, primary care or dental visit have not yet seen their care provider.  

In spring of 2021 over 70 national health providers joined the American Cancer Society and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network in a letter stressing the importance of patients returning to regular physician visits.  “We urge people across the country to talk with their health care provider to resume regular primary care checkups, recommended cancer screening, and evidence-based cancer treatment to lessen the negative impact the pandemic is having on identifying and treating people with cancer,” the letter said.  The UCLA Health Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center was among the national cancer centers joining this effort.

The goal and success of this effort was impacted by the second wave of COVID-19 and the Omicron variant, and many women and men still have not resumed routine and preventive doctor visits.  As we continue to see improvement in overall COVID-19 incidence, it is important to now urge patients to resume regular primary care visits and screening for diseases like high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer. Recognizing that many may be “embarrassed” to come in for care due to the long delay since a last visit, we may need to be creative in how we re-establish our relationship with patients. The encouragement to resume routine care is what is most important.

At some point we all hope that COVID will be behind us or at least a manageable health risk like influenza.  However, it may take a generation to realize the true impact of COVID-19, the consequences of delayed care, and the effect on overall health.  For now, our goal should be to re-engage our patients and provide them with the best care possible, while forging ahead with our collective work in clinical, research and educational innovations.

In this issue of OBGYNews, we provide you with an update for our MIGS program, introduce you to new faculty members, highlight a new collaborative educational symposium for advances in the field of gynecologic oncology, as well as offering other newsworthy happenings within our department.

Thank you for all that you continue to do to support our mission in the delivery of quality care for all women.

Deborah Krakow, MD

In this issue:

Clinical Update:  UCLA Division of Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery 
Faculty Profile: Meet Daniel Ginn, DO, MPH and Brittany Davis, MD
Research Update: Ovarian Cancer
Education: C5 Fellows Education Series in Gynecologic Oncology
New and Noteworthy

Our Mission

The mission of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at UCLA is to implement the four pillars of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA; clinical service, research, education and community service. The Department seeks to excel in all areas of women's health. This includes the delivery of state-of-the art health care to women of all ages based on best available practices, research devoted to advancing women's health through basic, translational and clinical exploration, and a commitment to training the next generation of providers and researchers devoted to improving women's health.