2022 Cultural North Star Awards

Accepting Nominiations Through October 7, 2022

In recognition of the transformative contributions made by unsung members of the DGSOM community, the awards program has expanded. To recognize the importance of inclusive teams within our community, three Cultural North Star Team Awards will be presented.

Honor the contributions of the diverse voices that come to DGSOM each day to make an impact and nominate a team today!

Nominate a Team

The shift in the CNS awards is part of the iterative cultural transformation we are engaged in as a community. The expansion from one award to multiple gives us an opportunity to incorporate and honor the feedback received during previous award cycles. In addition, the intentional focus on inclusive teams highlights the importance of teamwork in defining who we are and what we value. 

We are seeking inclusive teams that work together to do what’s right, be kind, and make things better. The team's work, actions and interactions should demonstrate how they've used the Cultural North Star values to advance our mission of healing humankind through leading-edge care, research, education and community engagement.  

Interdisciplinary/cross-functional teams can serve as a model of an inclusive team because they are comprised of people with different functional expertise working toward a common goal. Representation, however, is only the first step. Inclusive teams foster a culture where team members hear, share, and appreciate diverse perspectives. This is what we are working to promote within DGSOM. 

  • As members of a highly matrixed organization, we often work on inclusive teams with colleagues across the UCLA Health system, the main campus, and the greater Los Angeles community.  

  • Nominations of DGSOM-based teams that include external members are welcome, understanding that part of the evaluation criteria will be the team’s impact on the DGSOM community. 

The CNS Awards Committee strives to be an inclusive team with representation from students, faculty, staff, and trainees from across DGSOM. Committee members are affiliated with DGSOM student societies; education and research centers; research institutes; administrative departments; basic science departments; and clinical departments. Each member brings with them diverse perspectives, informed by their insights working and learning across the school. 

The 2022 Cultural North Star Awards will be presented in January 2023. Three teams will each be awarded $5,000 in funding to support activities that enrich their team’s activities.  

Proposed activities should help the team cultivate Cultural North Star values in their work, actions, and interactions. For example, funding could cover, a team-building activity, a guest speaker, workshops, materials, or books for your team. All proposed activities must be in accordance with UCLA policy. 

Distribution will be managed through CNS in partnership with the Dean’s Office Finance team. Funds will be available for use for a full calendar no earlier than January 2023. 

2022 Cultural North Star Awardees

The mission of DCI is to foster a community of individuals with disabilities and/or chronic illnesses, as well as their allies, to promote justice, diversity, and inclusion. DCI is focused on five primary goals to enhance advocacy and accessibility: 1) Community for trainees and faculty with disability and chronic illness 2) Accessibility of resources and campus 3) EDI and representation 4) Admissions and curriculum inclusion 5) Quality and inclusive patient care.

Student members: Leane Nasrallah, Zina Jawadi, Lauren Taiclet, Sam Hulbert, Alex Keir, Kasey Fitzsimmons, Charlotte Poplawski, Tiffany Fan

Faculty member: Alice Kuo

The UCLA Gender Health Program strives to offer comprehensive medical and surgical care to the transgender and gender-diverse community in Los Angeles and across the country. The program understands that each individual seeking support is following their unique journey and that the only way to provide person-centered healthcare is to treat each patient with sensitivity, provide a comfortable and safe healthcare experience, continue to expand our understanding of how to effectively serve the gender-diverse population, deliver leading-edge research findings and incorporate programs in a network of resources to keep our patients safe and healthy.

Staff members: Kristen Williams, Ethan Patron, Ellisone Punzalan, and Chris Mann (Founding Program Manager)

Created in 2018, the UCLA Prevention Center of Excellence provides workforce development through evidence-based training, consultation, and coaching, designed to improve community mental health and well-being. It harnesses extensive expertise from the Jane and Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA, as well as other campus-wide partnerships.

Post-doc members: Alissa der Sarkissian, Karolina Grotkowski, Brianna Hobson, Sierra Kuzava

Staff members: Gabriela (Gabi) Alejos, Ana Amador, Natalie Arbid, Claudia Avalos-Garcia, Alyssa Ayon, Wendy Barrera, De'Nisha Beasley, Agustina Bertone, Jae Canas, Susan (Suzi) Cantwell, Marleen Castaneda, Helen Chen, Allison Clement Lichtman, Susan Cohen, Megan Cox, Sophie de Figueiredo, Jolie Delja, Miguel Drayton, Kazandra (Casey) Estorque, Susan Finley, Daisy Gomez, Nicole Gonzalez, Clarissa (Clare) Gorospe, Tommy Hsiao, Ashley Johnson, Dave Ju, Yoon Jung, Rachel Linonis, Catherine Lippincott, Victoria Lloyd, Joshua Manlutac, Lauren Marlotte, Ruben Martinez, Laura McMullin, Rebecca (Becca) Morgan, Juan Muniz, Bianca Noone, Elizabeth (Liz) Ollen, Danielle O'Terry, Blair Paley, Alejandra Plasencia, David Plasencia, Gustavo Rico, Shanna Rosenberg, Josue Ruiz, Jaspreet (Jessie) Saini, Tiffany Santana, Arsineh Sarkisian, Alan Semaan, Maegan Sinclair, Valerie Sommer, Paola Tiburcio, Patrick Tiongson, Eugenia Tsao, Binh Vuong, Evelyn Wang, John Weathersby, Valerie Yarema

Faculty members: Hilary Aralis, Eraka Bath, Roya Ijadi-Maghsoodi, Jessica Jeffrey, Sheryl Kataoka, Audra Langley, Sung-Jae Lee, Patricia Lester, Norweeta Milburn, Catherine Mogil, Blanca Orellana, Natalie Ramos

2020 Cultural North Star Awardee

Carol Mangione, MD, MSPH, FACP


The winner of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA's 2020 Cultural North Star Award is Carol Mangione, MD, MSPH, FACP, Division Chief of General Internal Medicine and Health Services Research and Professor of Medicine and Public Health.

2019 Cultural North Star Awardee

Kauser Ahmed, PhD


The winner of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA’s 2019 Cultural North Star Award is Kauser Ahmed, PhD, clinical psychologist and director of the Simms/Mann – UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology.  

Dr. Ahmed has been part of the Simms/Mann team since 2002, during which time she has played a critical role in establishing evidence-based psychosocial assessment and treatment protocols, as well as scaling the Center’s services to meet the growing needs of our community. As the Center’s training director, Dr. Ahmed has developed and implemented a nationally recognized multidisciplinary psycho-oncology training program, in addition to supervising the teaching/training of more than 100 pre- and post-doctoral clinical psychology students, MSW oncology students and chaplaincy interns. Dr. Ahmed received her BA from Brown University and her doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Denver. She completed her clinical internship and postdoctoral training at the Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital at UCLA. 

Nearly a dozen of Dr. Ahmed’s colleagues and mentees submitted testimonials on her behalf, sharing countless stories of their “loving and brave” leader’s compassion, creative problem solving and mission-driven commitment to do what’s right, make things better and be kind. From expanding psychosocial care to address access disparities to piloting data-driven psychoeducational workshops for research staff, Dr. Ahmed has not only exemplified our Cultural North Star values in her own work, but she has also inspired and empowered those around her to do the same.

CNS Award