Spiritual Care Staff
Rev. Yuko Uesugi is the Director of the Spiritual Care Department. She is an ACPE Certified Educator and an ordained Elder of the United Methodist Church (UMC). She completed the ACPE internship and residency programs at UCLA Westwood and Santa Monica Hospital. She is a native of Japan, and came to the U.S. in 1996 in order to pursue her theological education. She holds her B.A. in Business Administration from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo, Japan and M.Div. Degree from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. Rev. Uesugi has chaplaincy experience in cardiology, psychiatry, oncology, and general hospital ministry and management experience of the Spiritual Care Department at UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica.
Chaplain Blake Arnall is the Manager of Spiritual Care at UCLA Santa Monica Medical Center. He is an ACPE Certified Educator and a commissioned minister with the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). He holds a BFA from Art Center College of Design and a Master of Divinity from the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California. He is a member of the Association of Professional Chaplains (APC) and has been a Board Certified Chaplain since 2007. He completed his ACPE Certified Educator training at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco. He has experience providing chaplaincy care to oncology, transplant and psychiatric patients and their family members. He has served on Palliative Care Teams and Ethics Committees for over ten years. Prior to joining UCLA Health, he was the Manager of Pastoral Education at Methodist Hospital of Southern California in Arcadia, California.
Staff Chaplains - Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center
Rev. Ariel-Philip Flores is the Palliative Care Staff Chaplain at RR UCLA Medical Center. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from California State University Northridge and a Master of Divinity from Westminster Seminary California in Escondido, CA. Reverend Flores is dual ordained with the Evangelical Church Alliance and the Korean Evangelical Presbyterian Church. He completed his CPE residency with Providence Health and Services in 2015, and became a Board Certified Chaplain with the Association Professional Chaplains in 2016. Prior to joining UCLA Health, Rev. Flores was a chaplain with Providence Holy Cross Medical Center, serving primarily their progressive care ICU, neuro telemetry & sub-acute care units, and palliative care service; in addition, he has vast experience in providing spiritual care for trauma patients and their families. Prior to Chaplaincy, Ariel-Philip was a medic for the US Army and for a private ambulance company in Los Angeles.
Rev. Aiko Johnson is the Pediatric Staff Chaplain for Mattel Children's Hospital at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. She is ordained for ministry and endorsed for chaplaincy by the Presbyterian Church (USA) and is a board-certified chaplain with the Association of Professional Chaplains (APC). She holds a MA in Communication Studies from California State University Long Beach and a M Div from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. She completed her CPE internship at Children's Hospital Los Angeles and her CPE residency at UCLA Medical Center in Westwood. Rev. Johnson played an active role in the development of a pediatric palliative care program at UCLA and has served as the chaplain for this program, Children’s Pain and Comfort Care, since it began its clinical services in 2008. Additionally, she has served as a member of the hospital Ethics Committee since 2005. She is a native of Japan, having lived in the Los Angeles area since 1995.
Rev. Chitra Rao is the Oncology Staff Chaplain at the outpatient UCLA Bowyer Oncology Center and on the inpatient Hematology and Stem Cell Transplant Unit at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. She is an Episcopal priest and a board-certified chaplain with APC. Prior to coming to UCLA she served as an oncology staff chaplain for six years on the pediatric and adult patient units at City of Hope National Medical Center in Duarte, CA and later as a hospice chaplain and bereavement supervisor. Rev. Rao received a Master of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary and completed her CPE residency at the University of North Carolina Hospitals, where her chaplaincy experience was concentrated in neonatal, obstetrics and gynecology. Additionally, she earned her Bachelors from MS University of Baroda in India and graduate degrees in Special Education from Long Island University, New York and in Audiology from Montclair State University, New Jersey.
Staff Chaplains - UCLA Santa Monica Medical Center
Rev. Chunho Choi is a Board-Certified Chaplain with the Association of Professional Chaplains. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from California State University Northridge and a Master of Divinity from The King’s University in Van Nuys, CA. Prior to coming to UCLA Health, he was a Staff Chaplain at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital where he primarily worked with patients in palliative care, ICU, ED, and behavioral health unit. Reverend Choi also worked as a Staff Chaplain at City of Hope in Duarte, CA where he provided spiritual support for patients in various service lines including integrated care service, center for excellence program, hematology, and bone marrow transplant. He completed his CPE residency at UCLA Health, Santa Monica and worked as a chaplain in oncology, geriatrics, pediatrics, orthopedics, and surgical/intermediate care. Prior to becoming a chaplain, Reverend Choi worked as a lead pastor in Korean Presbyterian church for numerous years. He is ordained by the Evangelical Church Alliance for professional pastoral ministry.
Rev. Moon Rhee is a Staff Chaplain at UCLA Santa Monica Medical Center. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from New York University, a Master of Divinity from Princeton Seminary and a Master of Theology from Columbia Seminary. He is an ordained pastor of the International Ministerial Fellowship and a board-certified chaplain with the Association of Professional Chaplains (APC). He completed his CPE residency at UCLA Medical Center in Westwood. After serving for sixteen years as a pastor, he started his second career as a chaplain. Before joining UCLA Health, he worked at Mission Hospital, VITAS Health, Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, and Riverside University Health System Medical Center as a staff chaplain, hospice chaplain, and palliative care chaplain. He primarily served patients with terminal illnesses and patients at the end of life. He also served patients in Neurosurgery, Trauma ICU, Neuro, Vascular, Orthopedic, Plastic Units, and so on.
Rabbi Dena Trugman is a Palliative Care Chaplain at UCLA Santa Monica Medical Center. She received ordination and a Master’s degree in Jewish Studies from the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College in Newton, MA, and she holds dual undergraduate degrees in History and English from Northwestern University. Prior to joining UCLA Health, Rabbi Trugman was a staff chaplain at Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia, where she primarily served patients receiving inpatient physical rehabilitation due to traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, amputation, and stroke. She also has significant experience working with oncology, trauma, burn, renal, dementia, cardiac, and critical care patients. Rabbi Trugman completed her training at Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, and Hebrew SeniorLife, a long-term care facility in the Boston area.
The Spiritual Care Department also includes an Office Administrator and many qualified volunteers from most faith traditions, including Buddhist, Jewish, Muslim, Protestant and Roman Catholic. As part of the Spiritual Care Department's team, they work together with CPE interns, residents and staff to serve the spiritual and religious needs of the Medical Center's patients, patient-family members, staff and faculty.