UCLA gastroenterology and GI surgery ranked to No. 5 in the nation, according to a U.S.News & World Report survey that reviewed patient-outcomes data, reputation among physicians and other care-related factors. This makes us, once again, Best in the West!
Also, UCLA Health's hospitals in Westwood and Santa Monica have been named to U.S.News & World Report's 2016-17 Best Hospitals Honor Roll.
$30 Million Gift to UCLA Health Sciences Will Accelerate Research, Education and Patient Care
Donation Supports Division of Digestive Diseases and Top Initiatives in David Geffen School of Medicine
Tamar and Vatche Manoukian have made a landmark gift to the Division of Digestive Diseases at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA that will provide unrestricted funds to accelerate research, innovative clinical care and educational priorities. This generous effort has inspired additional anonymous pledged support, bringing the total of the gift on behalf of the Manoukians to $30 million to benefit the division and support crucial initiatives in the Geffen School of Medicine.
In recognition of the Manoukians' leadership philanthropy, the university will name the division in their honor - making this the medical school's first division to be named following a philanthropic gift. In addition to the UCLA Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases, the university has named 100 UCLA Medical Plaza the Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Medical Building.
"The science that will emerge from the Manoukians' extraordinary contribution will lead to the discovery of new drugs and therapies that will improve health and save lives," said UCLA Chancellor Gene Block. "Their generosity is an inspiration to our talented physicians and to other members of the philanthropic community."
The UCLA Division of Digestive Diseases is renowned for its comprehensive research. Ranked No. 5 in the nation by the U.S. News & World Report 2016-17 survey, the division has become a model for coordinated care.
"Visionary philanthropy can alter the course of science," said Dr. John Mazziotta, vice chancellor for UCLA Health Sciences and CEO of UCLA Health. "The remarkable generosity of Tamar and Vatche Manoukian will be instrumental in positioning the division for the future."
Building on an interdisciplinary and collaborative clinical approach and bolstered by pioneering laboratory science, division physicians provide the tools for patients to manage chronic disease, the technologies to save lives and the therapies to ensure cures for some of the most challenging conditions.
"Innovation requires both leadership and investment," said Dr. Eric Esrailian, Co-Chief of the Division of Digestive Diseases and Lincy Foundation Chair in Clinical Gastroenterology in the Geffen School of Medicine. "Tamar and Vatche's exceptional philanthropy will help ensure that UCLA can continue unraveling the mysteries of digestive diseases, make transformative scientific discoveries, and develop the physician leaders of the future. Their unrestricted gift gives the division flexibility that is essential as we advance our highest educational, research and patient care priorities."
A leader in the global Armenian community, Vatche Manoukian has been involved in a wide range of businesses, including property investment, retail, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, entertainment and renewable energy. He and his wife, who have four children, have continued his family's tradition of charitable work throughout the world, with a particular emphasis on education, medicine, culture, the environment and Armenian causes.
The Manoukians' scholarship funds have enabled several thousand students who lack financial resources to further their education, and postgraduate programs established by the Manoukians at universities in the United States, the United Kingdom and Lebanon have helped provide essential skills for tomorrow's community leaders.
The couple support many children's charities around the world, such as the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children; the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, on whose board Manoukian serves; and the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation. They also support the Royal Opera House in London. The Manoukians have been the sole financial supporters of major cultural exhibitions, such as the "Treasures of the Ark" exhibition held at the British Library to commemorate 1,700 years of Armenian Christianity.
"Tamar and I believe that philanthropy can shape the future," Manoukian said. "It is our hope that our gift will not only change medical science, but also be a model for others. We hope that young people will be inspired to give and will become engaged with causes that matter."
This significant investment in the division of digestive diseases will provide vital funding for pioneering investigations that will lead to novel therapies, more comprehensive patient care, faculty support to attract top scientists and clinicians, and the education of aspiring doctors and researchers.
"This gift is especially meaningful to us as a public university," Esrailian said. "This investment will help fuel additional discoveries of the kind that have already earned UCLA the reputation as a world leader in research, patient care and medical education."
The gift is part of the $4.2 billion UCLA Centennial Campaign, which is scheduled to conclude in December 2019 during UCLA's 100th anniversary year.
Dr. Eric Esrailian, co-chief of the UCLA Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases, was quoted Oct. 13 in an article in The Nation about "The Promise," a new movie about the Armenian genocide that he helped bring to fruition.
Top (left to right) Gina Choi, MD, Hepatology and Liver Transplantation, Lynn Shapiro Connolly, MD, MSCR, Gastroenterology,
Kevin Ghassemi, MD, Director of Clinical Programs, Center for Esophageal Disorders
Bottom (left to right) Christina Ha, MD, Associate Director of Clinical Programs, Center for Inflammatory Bowel Diseases,
Wendy Ho, MD, Gastroenterology and Rabindra R. Watson, MD, Director of Faculty Career Development in Advanced Endoscopy
Dr. Mellinkoff served as the second dean of the UCLA School of Medicine, and it was under his 24 years of leadership - among the longest tenures of any medical school dean - that our fledgling school was transformed into a great academic institution recognized internationally for medical education, groundbreaking research and exceptional patient care.
Dr. Mellinkoff was a brilliant visionary and an extraordinary leader who was anointed "Dean of Deans" by his peers while chair of the Association of American Medical Colleges' Council of Deans. Under his guidance, the school grew from 28 students to 650; its faculty quadrupled; its budget increased by $165 million; and multiple organ-transplantation programs, a comprehensive cancer center and one of the first federally funded facilities for positron emission tomography research were established.
We remember Dr. Mellinkoff not only for his remarkable achievements as a Dean, but also for his warmth, deep-seated integrity and self-deprecating humor. "Sherm," as his friends called him, was a man of great culture. Sherm loved literature, and it was not unheard of for him to quote both the humorist James Thurber and Ecclesiastes in the same sentence. An avid fan of history and baseball, he peppered his speech with passages from Winston Churchill and pitcher Nolan Ryan.
Although we mourn Dr. Mellinkoff's passing, we also celebrate his life as a quintessential physician who cared as deeply for our school as he did for his patients. A memorial service is being planned to honor this inspirational leader, our teacher, colleague and friend.
Best Doctors conducts an exhaustive, peer-reviewed survey of the medical profession, polling more than 50,000 doctors across the country. Doctors are asked to provide an assessment of the clinical abilities of their peers within each of the more than 400 subspecialties of medicine. The millions of individual data points collected through this process, after being compiled through algorithms that correct for statistical bias, yields the list of those physicians deemed "best" by their peers. Continuous peer-to-peer surveys help identify specialists who are considered by fellow physicians to be the most skilled in their fields and most qualified for reviewing and treating complex medical conditions.
Only 5% of the doctors in any country are actually selected to become Best Doctors. Best Doctors has earned a worldwide reputation for reliable, impartial results by remaining totally independent. Doctors are not paid to complete the survey, and cannot pay to be included in the database.
Top: Left-Right: Lin Chang, MD, Jeffrey L. Conklin, MD, Francisco Durazo, MD, Steven-Huy Han, MD. Bottom: Left-Right: Dennis M. Jensen, MD, V. Raman Muthusamy, MD, Bennett E. Roth, MD, and Sammy Saab, MD, MPH
A peer-review selection process ensures that only the top physicians are selected to become Super Doctors. These doctors have excelled professionally and are widely recognized as leaders within their fields of practice. Every year, thousands of physicians receive ballots that ask: "If you needed medical care, which doctor would you choose?" Several safeguards prevent self-nomination and ballot manipulation. An expert Blue Ribbon Panel groups nominees into more than 30 medical practice areas and assigns point totals based on individual reviews. Each doctor's professional information is verified to ensure it is accurate and up-to-date.
UCLA Health is proud to have such a diverse group of doctors be deemed "super" among their peers. Super Doctors is a respected publication that identifies top doctors through independent research and an objective selection process.
The following UCLA Division of Digestive Diseases physicians were recognized: Peter Anton, MD, Lin Chang, MD, Daniel Cole, MD, MPH, Jeffrey L. Conklin, MD, Francisco Durazo, MD, Eric Esrailian, MD, MPH, Gary Gitnick, MD, Steven-Huy Han, MD, Dennis M. Jensen, MD, Rome Jutabha, MD, Thomas Kovacs, MD, Emeran A. Mayer, MD, PhD, Bennett E. Roth, MD, Sammy Saab, MD, MPH and Kirsten Tillisch, MD
Over 300 UCLA physicians have earned the distinction of Super Doctors.