Dear DGSOM community,
Over the last seven weeks, in response to state and local stay-at-home orders, our medical school has undergone sweeping changes to transform how and where we work and learn. Staff, faculty and trainees have modified their academic and professional trajectories and found new ways to support our mission and each other. Many of our researchers began unprecedented efforts to pause and safeguard hundreds of studies and experiments across the health sciences. Others, including a number of DGSOM research teams, have rapidly mobilized or announced novel studies and interventions focused on COVID-19 prevention, treatment, screening and health equity. These sacrifices and commitments have unequivocally reduced the spread of coronavirus, protected the health and well-being of our community, and paved the way for long-term resolutions to this pandemic.
As we begin to plan for the future, I would like to emphasize that the eventual lifting (temporary or otherwise) of stay-at-home orders does not mean a return to business as usual. No DGSOM staff, faculty or trainee should begin working onsite unless they have received approval to do so by their supervisor/CAO/Chair/program director. Currently, the UCLA Future Planning Task Force, chaired by UCLA Fielding School of Public Health Dean Ron Brookmeyer, is working with DGSOM and campus partners to determine a phased campus re-entry approach that, above all, prioritizes the health and safety of our staff, faculty, students and trainees. Once it is determined safe to do so, and in accordance with directives from LA County and California, this phased approach will begin with a very limited subset of staggered on-campus activities (i.e., those that require campus facilities to operate) in order to maintain very low personnel density. Specific plans and recommendations regarding academic planning, research activities, work policies, guidelines for events and gatherings, and more are under development. However, the timing and specifics of all phases are contingent on state and local public health policies, which in turn depend on the status of the COVID-19 pandemic in Los Angeles. This is why continued compliance with campus and local guidelines is critical to our ability to gradually scale up our activities without contributing to a resurgence of COVID-19. To do this, we will need to remain patient and committed to the physical distancing and safety measures that have saved lives and protected our hospitals from exceeding capacity.
As a member of the UCLA Future Planning Task Force, I will continue to keep you updated as our plans develop.
Thank you for your patience and tireless efforts.
For the latest COVID-19 information and resources pertaining to medical school staff, faculty, students and trainees, please see my thirteenth “COVID-19 Update” below. You will find general updates toward the top, followed by area-specific updates, support resources and “how you can help” at the bottom.
Tips for staying connected and fulfilled during Safer at Home:
- Attend one of UCLA Strategic Communications’ new virtual series, UCLA Connections. The conversations with UCLA experts are designed to build community and foster resilience as we adapt to the changes brought on by COVID-19.
- Contribute to the Los Angeles Public Library’s “Safer at Home Archive”: Help the library document the experiences of Angelenos during the COVID-19 crisis by submitting your personal photographs, letters, artwork and other items.
- Learn a new skill: With a LA Public Library card, you can access a wide range of free lessons – from project management and computer programming to video editing and software tutorials – taught by recognized industry experts at lynda.com from LinkedIn.
Remdesivir treatment for COVID-19: The experimental drug remdesivir has received emergency-use authorization by the FDA to treat hospitalized patients with severe COVID-19; however, it is not yet available because supplies are very limited. Other than this new development, there is no specific medicine to prevent or treat COVID-19. We are closely monitoring several dozen drugs that are in development for treatment, including the impact of antibody studies, remdesivir and hydroxychloroquine.
COVID-19 related studies at UCLA Health: New research studies are being added to the COVID-19 Clinical Trials website. A new search feature allows you to explore by more specific categories (hospitalized, non-hospitalized, pre-exposure, post-exposure, etc.).
EDUCATION (students & trainees)
- Commencement: We look forward to celebrating you and your accomplishments in the Hippocratic Oath Ceremony on May 29. There is a large committee working on details for a compelling and exciting Virtual Commencement. Please be sure to submit your videos and photos to personalize your moment by Friday, May 8. You should have received your personal Qualtrics link last Friday, and will receive additional reminders this week. Please email Brandon Susselman if you have any questions.
- The UCLA Simulation Center has acquired three free virtual simulation resources to augment your remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please find more information here.
- For NBME updates and the latest information by class year, click here.
- For all COVID-19 information pertaining to MD students, visit medschool.ucla.edu/coronavirus-information/md-students.
- Contacts: For curriculum questions, please contact Ashley Siemer. For event questions, please contact Brandon Susselman. For support and other questions, please contact your Assistant Dean. For additional support, please reach out to the Behavioral Wellness Center.
- Over the next few weeks, more surgeries and procedures will be scheduled, and health maintenance visits will expand. Click here to read the UC Health Executive Vice President’s principles for resuming deferred and preventive care. We will also continue planning for graduation, on-boarding and orientation, and the eventual return of medical students to our teams.
- The next GME virtual town is Thursday, May 7 at 12 pm. Please click here to submit questions you would like us to address, or suggestions you have for future planning.
- Click here for the latest information on reusable face shields, new procedures for donning and doffing UVGI decontaminated N95s, the new Mayor’s Child Care Stipend Program, online PPE training and affiliate site updates (VA and LAC).
- Clinical trial volunteers needed: Research teams from UCLA, University of Washington and NYU are conducting a COVID-19 Post-Exposure Prophylaxis Study. Learn more here.
- Resources for mental health and well-being are available virtually.
- Check the Mednet COVID-19 resources website to stay up to date with the latest UCLA Health policies, including PPE protocols. Reach out to GME with any concerns or suggestions.
- Clinical psychology interns and postdoctoral fellows should follow the guidance from their respective training programs in the Department of Psychiatry and the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior.
- To view the latest information pertinent to you, visit medschool.ucla.edu/coronavirus-information/graduate-medical-education.
- Contacts: If you have specific concerns or questions related to your training situation or work requirements, please reach out to your mentor. If your mentor is out of reach or you need to escalate a concern above your mentor, please contact Greg Payne or Lynn Talton. If you have further concerns or if issues arise, contact Graduate Division at firstname.lastname@example.org or 310-825-3819 and you will be connected with the appropriate resource.
- To stay up to date with information pertinent to you, visit the research lab and educational area sections of the website.
- Access wellness resources virtually through the Staff and Faculty Counseling Center.
- Clinical psychology postdoctoral fellows should follow the guidance from their respective training programs in the Department of Psychiatry and the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior.
- A multidisciplinary team of UCLA researchers, led by Tzung K. Hsiai, MD, PhD, have been awarded a competitive (1.6% acceptance rate) COVID-19 grant by the American Heart Association for a fast-tracked study of a new chip-enabled screening method and the effects of COVID-19 on the body’s cardiovascular and cerebrovascular systems. The study (Rapid COVID-19-on-A-Chip to Screen Competitive Targets for SARS-CoV-2 Spike Binding Sites) will include a cadre of faculty from UCLA’s Cardiovascular and Neurovascular Team; Cancer Virology Program; California NanoSystems Institute; Computational Medicine, Neurology, Human Genetics, Human Nutrition, Statistics, Epidemiology, Radiology and Bioengineering Departments; Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center; and the West Los Angeles VA Healthcare System.
- As previously announced, DGSOM has launched a universal intake process for registering COVID-19 research projects and requesting COVID-19 research funding and resources. Learn more about the intake process and steps.
- UCLA Principal Investigators are invited to a virtual town hall with UCLA Vice Chancellor for Research Roger Wakimoto on Friday, May 8 from 3:30 to 5 pm. The town hall will discuss the work underway to support campus research and the ongoing efforts to plan for the ramp-up of research activities. Principal Investigators at UCLA received an email from VCR Wakimoto on May 1 with additional details.
- To stay up to date with information pertinent to you, visit medschool.ucla.edu/coronavirus-information/researchers.
- Individual concerns or questions: Route to your PIs, program/home area directors, division chiefs, department chairs, and then CAOs; they can then provide responses and/or escalate questions to the Dean’s Office.
- Additional resources:
- Communication survey: Please use this form to share COVID-19-related topics or questions that are most important to you/your team. *Please note: Questions related to UCLA health system policies and guidelines (e.g., on masking or hospital/clinic operations) should be addressed during huddles, escalated up your clinical chain-of-command and, from there, directed to health system area leaders.
- To review the latest information pertaining to you, visit medschool.ucla.edu/coronavirus-information/staff and the “Support Services” section of our COVID-19 website.
Child and senior care resources
Health care workers required to perform essential functions onsite can access child and senior care resources contracted through UCLA Health and Bright Horizons. See additional resources and referral services for DGSOM staff, faculty and trainees.
To ensure your and your families’ safety, we are providing overnight accommodations to those caring for patients on our designated COVID-19 units. Contact the Command Center at (310) 267-7115 for accommodations.
Virtual wellness services are available for staff, faculty, trainees and students. The COVID-19 Mental Health Workgroup also offers facilitated group and individual check-ins, grief support, training, and materials for trauma-informed peer support for those on the COVID-19 frontlines. Learn more.
If you are required to work on campus and you notice any suspicious activity, please alert the appropriate security or law enforcement personnel. Learn more.
Equity and diversity inclusion during the COVID-19 pandemic
Information and resources, including how you can address bias and prejudice, are available online. Contact DGSOMEDI@mednet.ucla.edu with any questions or concerns. In addition, UCLA students and faculty who experience a bias incident should report it by completing a UCLA Incident of Bias Reporting Form.
DGIT offers a virtual helpdesk via zoom Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5 pm. Learn more.
HOW YOU CAN HELP