Two faculty members from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA have been elected to the prestigious Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, one of the highest honors in the field of health and medicine. Dr. Jose J. Escarce and William Vega are among 65 new members who were honored for their outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service.
As members of the institute, Escarce and Vega will volunteer on committees that study a broad range of health policy issues. With its newly elected members, the Institute of Medicine has a total membership of 1,736, including 1,576 active members, 89 foreign associates and 71 members holding emeritus status.
"This is a great honor for UCLA," said Dr. Gerald S. Levey, vice chancellor for medical sciences and dean of the Geffen School of Medicine. "The election of Drs. Escarce and Vega to the Institute of Medicine highlights UCLA's continuing commitment to advancing the medical sciences and health care, including improving access to health care for the medically underserved. That's one of the things that make them so special."
Escarce, M.D., Ph.D., is a professor of medicine in the division of general internal medicine and health services research at the Geffen School of Medicine and a senior natural scientist at the RAND Corp. He graduated from Princeton University, received a master's degree from Harvard University, and earned a medical degree and a doctorate in health economics from the University of Pennsylvania. He completed his medical residency at Stanford University.
Escarce has published extensively on a variety of topics, including physician behavior, medical technology adoption, racial and socioeconomic differences in health care, and the effects of market forces on access, costs and quality of care. He currently serves on the Institute of Medicine's Board on Population Health and Public Health Practice and its Roundtable on Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health; is a member of AcademyHealth's Methods Council; and sits on the Congressional Budget Office's Panel of Health Advisors. He is co-editor-in-chief of the journal Health Services Research, one of the leading scholarly publications in its field, and serves on the board of directors of AcademyHealth.
Vega, Ph.D., is a professor of family medicine at the Geffen School of Medicine. He received a bachelor's degree in sociology, and earned his master's and doctoral degrees in criminology from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1971. Dr. Vega is currently director of the Luskin Center on Innovation at UCLA and co-director of UCLA's Network for Multicultural Research on Health and Healthcare. He is an emeritus professor of public health at UC Berkeley.
Vega has conducted community and clinical research projects on health, mental health and substance abuse in various regions of the U.S. and Latin America. He specializes in comparative epidemiologic and clinical services research with adolescents and adults and has published more than 170 articles and chapters on these topics, in addition to several books.
In 2006, Vega was listed on ISI's "Highly Cited" Web of Knowledge website as one of the most cited researchers in social sciences literature worldwide over the previous 20 years. In 2002, he was awarded the Culture, Community, and Prevention Science Award by the Society for Prevention Research and the National Award of Excellence in Research by a Senior Scientist by the National Hispanic Science Network.
Vega is past president of the National Latino Council on Tobacco and Alcohol Prevention and a founding member of the World Health Organization's International Consortium in Psychiatric Epidemiology. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine's Board on Population Health and Public Health Practice and its Ethnic Health Disparities Roundtable; a council member of the Fogarty International Center at the National Institutes of Health; and a member of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Advisory Group for Health Policy Scholars. He is also director of the Scientific Advisory Board for the Robert Wood Johnson FoundationPEW Center 200708 National Latino Health Survey.
The Institute of Medicine is unique for its structure as both an honorific membership organization and an advisory organization. Established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences, the institute has become recognized as a national resource for independent, scientifically informed analysis and recommendations on human health issues.
The UCLA Division of General Internal Medicine and Health Services Research in UCLA's Department of Medicine provides a unique interactive environment for collaborative efforts between health services researchers and clinical experts with experience in evidence-based work.
The UCLA Department of Family Medicine provides comprehensive primary care to entire families, from newborns to seniors.