Distinguished Faculty

Cathy Alessi, MD

Cathy Alessi, MD

Dr. Alessi is the Director of the VA Greater Los Angeles (GLA) Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center (GRECC), and Chief of the Division of Geriatrics at VA GLA. She is a Professor of Medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, where she is also Associate Director of the Multicampus Program in Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology.

Cathy C. Lee, MD, MS

Cathy C. Lee, MD, MS

Dr. Lee is a board-certified Internal Medicine and Geriatrics Specialist who is currently an Associate Professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and an Attending Physician at the Greater Los Angeles Veterans Administration Healthcare Center. After completing her accelerated, 7-year combined B.S., M.D. program at Union College and Albany Medical School in New York, she went on to do her Internal Medicine residency at Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine.

Thomas T. Yoshikawa, MD

Thomas T. Yoshikawa, MD

Thomas T. Yoshikawa, MD., is presently Associate Chief of Staff (ACOS) for Geriatrics, Extended Care (GEC; Second tour) for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System (GLAHS) and was also appointed the GLAHS Designated Learning Officer(2013-2016). He was Acting Director of Primary and Ambulatory Care Services from April 5, 2010 to August 15, 2011.

Zaldy S Tan, MD, MPH

Dr. Zaldy S. Tan is Associate Chief for Education of the UCLA Division of Geriatric Medicine and Medical Director of the UCLA Alzheimer's and Dementia Care Program. He is Professor and Assistant Dean for Curricular Affairs at the David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California Los Angeles. Dr. Tan trained in Medicine at Brown University, Geriatric Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Public Health/Healthcare Management at Harvard University.

Jonathan Wanagat, MD, PhD

Jonathan Wanagat, MD, PhD

Dr. Wanagat is a physician-scientist in the division whose research focuses on how our muscles weaken as we age and how we might prevent this decline. His training in geriatric medicine and aging research began at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he attended medical school and received his PhD and continued at the University of Washington in Seattle where he was an internal medicine resident before moving to UCLA in 2009.

Notable Alumni

Although we have a countless amount of distinguished Alumni of the UCLA/VA Geriatric Medicine Fellowship, we wanted to call attention to a few of our standouts.

Lee A. Jennings, MD, MSHS

Lee A. Jennings, MD, MSHS

Lee A. Jennings, MD, MSHS, Chief and Assistant Professor, Reynolds Section of Geriatric Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, is a board-certified geriatrician and health services researcher whose work focuses on improving models of care delivery for dementia, aligning care received with patient health goals, and improving the competency of health professions students to provide high quality geriatric care.

Katherine Ward, MD

Katherine Ward, MD

Katie Ward is the Chief of General Internal Medicine and the Director of Geriatrics at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. She has developed the Division of Geriatrics at Harbor-UCLA from 1 member to its current size of 4 Geriatricians. Dr. Ward attended college at UCSD and completed medical school at St. Louis University. She also trained at OHSU for Internal Medicine and UCLA for Geriatrics Fellowship.

Wessam Labib, MD, MPH

Wessam Labib, MD, MPH

Dr. Wessam Labib finished his fellowship at UCLA on June 2009, and his first job is his current job at Loma Linda University; Department of Family Medicine. When he first started at LLU, there was no structured Geriatric rotation for the Family medicine residents. He started structured Nursing home rounds as well as an outpatient experience for the Family Medicine residents. Shortly after he started at LLU, he developed a Geriatric Specialty clinic to diagnose and manage Dementia.

Steven C. Castle, MD

Steven C. Castle, MD

Dr. Castle is Clinical Professor of Geriatric Medicine at UCLA, Clinical Director of Geriatrics at the VA Greater Los Angeles and was a Governor appointee to the California Commission on Aging from 2013-18. He is also the first physician certified as a FallPROOF!TM Instructor from Cal State Fullerton.

MD, MS

Zhuoer Xie, MD, MS

Dr. Zhuoer Xie is an advanced fellow physician in Geriatrics at the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System (VAGLA) and an assistant project scientist in the Hematology-Oncology department at UCLA. She completed her geriatric fellowship training at UCLA in 2017 and earned her master of science in clinical research from UCLA. In July 2019, she will become a hematology and oncology fellow physician at Mayo Clinic.

Alia Tuqan, MD

Alia Tuqan, MD

Alia Tuqan, MD, is the Chief of the Division of Geriatrics at the University of Nevada, Reno, School of Medicine. In 2015, she joined the Department of Medicine at UNR Med as the sole geriatrician outside of the VA System; prior to joining UNR Med, she was faculty in the Division of Geriatrics at UCLA for five years. In 2017, UNR Med’s Department of Medicine re-activated the Division of Geriatrics, which has expanded to six geriatricians.

 Wynnelena Canio, MD, CMD

Wynnelena C. Canio, MD, CMD

Wynnelena Canlas Canio, MD, CMD, is the Chief of outpatient Geriatric Medicine at Kaiser Permanente (KP) in Santa Rosa, California. In 2012, she joined Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa to create a comprehensive care program for older adults and their caregivers, developing the KP Santa Rosa Dementia Care Program, the first program of its kind in Northern California that supports patients with memory issues and their caregivers from Sonoma, Marin, Napa, Solano, and Mendocino counties, and beyond.

Nicole Lawrence, MD

Nicole Lawrence, MD

Dr. Nicole Lawrence is a co-owner of a concierge internal medicine and geriatric practice in Torrance called Skypark Preferred Family Care. As a concierge physician, she is available directly 24/7 to members of the practice. She provides care across the spectrum, including in the primary care office setting, in the hospital, and in the home.

Hiroshi Gotanda, MD

Hiroshi Gotanda, MD

Hiroshi Gotanda, MD, is a VA Advanced Fellow in Geriatrics at VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System (VAGLA). He is also a PhD student in Health Policy and Management at UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, with an expected graduation date of June 2019. His primary research interests have been in geriatrics, quality of care, and health policy.

From Geriatric Medicine Fellow to UCLA Faculty

Congratulations to our recent Geriatric Medicine and Palliative Fellowship Alumni who have recently joined us as UCLA faculty! We are thrilled to have you as a part of our team and are excited to watch you thrive in your careers as superlative Geriatricians!

Three alumni standing by a pool
From left: John Shen, MD, Marie Adachi, MD, Angela Yeh, MD