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10th Annual Healthcare Symposium

Featured Speakers

speakers portraits

UCLA Covel Commons
8:30am - 12:00pm
February 11, 2006

The UCLA Health Care Symposium is an annual student-run event designed to increase knowledge and awareness of a current, important issue in medicine. The 10th annual symposium was centered on stem cell research and what it means for the medical communities of California, the U.S., and the world.

On November 2, 2004, the California voters passed a bond measure to provide state funds for human embryonic stem-cell research at California's public and private academic research institutions. The questions now are: What comes next? How and when will this change physician practices? What ethical guidelines will be enforced in stem cell researches? These are some of the questions that were addressed in "Stem Cells: Dispelling Myths & Exploring Truths".

8:30 AM Registration & Breakfast
9:00 AM Speaker: Irving Weissman, M.D.
"Normal and Leukemic Stem Cells"
Director, Stanford University's Institute of Cancer/ Stem Cell Biology and Medicine
9:45 AM Speaker: Robert Klein, J.D.
"The Promise of Stem Cell Research and the California Endeavor"
Author, Proposition 71: The California Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative
10:30 AM Speaker: Stanley Korenman, M.D.
"Ethical Issues in Stem Cell Research"
Associate Dean for Ethics, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
11:00 AM Panel Discussion
Moderated by Judith Gasson, Ph.D
Co-Director, UCLA Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Medicine
12:00 PM Lunch & Raffle

(Bios are for archival purposes)

Stanley Korenman, M.D.

Professor, Medicine
Associate Dean for Ethics, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

 

Stanley Korenman, M.D.

 

Dr. Korenman was a Westinghouse (now Intel) Science Talent Search Finalist. He Graduated from Princeton, Summa Cum Laude and attended medical school at Columbia, P&S. He completed his clinical training in Internal Medicine at Bellevue and Memorial Hospitals in New York. He became a Clinical Associate and Senior Investigator in the Endocrinology Branch of the National Cancer Institute (now CHD). He joined the UCLA faculty in 1966 at Harbor General Hospital as Assistant and then Associate Professor. He moved to the University of Iowa in 1970 where he was Professor of Medicine and Biochemistry only to return to UCLA as Professor of Medicine and Chair of the Department of Medicine at the newly formed San Fernando Valley Program and Chief of Medicine at the Sepulveda VA Medical Center. During that time he also developed and directed the UCLA Medical Scientist Training Program and became Associate Dean. He moved to the Center for the Health Sciences as Associate Dean for Educational Development and then became Chief of Endocrinolgy of the program at the Center for the Health Sciences. At present he is Associate Dean for Ethics with a special interest in research ethics and directs the Research Subject Advocacy program of the General Clinical Research Center. During most of his career he has continued an active practice in endocrinology with a focus on reproductive endocrinology from the internists perspective. During the course of his career he has been active in the Endocrine Society

Dr. Korenman has three major areas of research interest. In endocrinology he is interested in the endocrine changes occurring with Polycystic Ovary Disorder (PCOS) and its treatment. He is also conducting a study of the long-term effects of treatment with growth hormone of growth hormone-deficient persons. He is also interested in research ethics and is studying informed consents. He has longstanding interests in the hormone changes occurring with aging in both men and women.

Robert Klein, J.D.

Chairman, Independent Citizens’ Oversight Committee
California Institute for Regenerative Medicine

Robert Klein, J.D.

Robert N. Klein is the President of Klein Financial Corporation, a real estate investment banking consulting company focused on affordable housing finance and development with a record of approximately $3 billion in financing and developing public and private projects.

Bob’s commitment to advancing medical research originated in his youngest son Jordan’s diagnosis with juvenile diabetes in 2001. In addition, his mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s a year later; his father having died from heart disease over a decade earlier. In 2002, Bob was a principal negotiator, as a part of a JDRF team that worked successfully to pass a $1.5 billion mandatory federal funding bill for an additional five years of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes supplemental National Institutes of Health research funding. More recently Bob served as Chairman of the California Proposition 71 committee, the “California Stem Cell Research and Cures” ballot initiative, passed in November of 2004 by 59% of the California electorate, that supports research with a focus on pluripotent and progenitor stem cell research or other related “Vital Research Opportunities.” Prop 71 bans funding for human reproductive cloning. Bob was recently honored as one of Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People of the Year” for 2005.

In other civic activities, Bob served for 6 years as a Board Member for the State of California Housing Finance Agency which has approximately $8 billion in finance outstanding, an AA S&P Bond rating and a history of receiving national awards in almost every category of affordable housing. This public corporation of the State of California was created by legislation in 1976, which Bob wrote as the principal consultant to the California State Assembly and State Senate Joint Committee on Housing and Urban Renewal. Please note Klein Financial Corporation has never obtained any financing from the California Housing Finance Agency.

Bob continues to serve on the Board of the Global Security Institute, dedicated to reducing the global risks from nuclear weapons. His accomplishments include, in addition to writing the California Housing Finance Agency Act, the development of California’s first tax credit National Historic Site Restoration Project and development of California’s first local governmental, tax-exempt, bond-financed, affordable apartment project.

Bob has a Bachelor of Arts in History with Honors from Stanford University and a Juris Doctorate from Stanford Law School.

While attending law school, Bob taught an undergraduate seminar entitled “Three Case Studies in Political Reform: Judicial Interpretation of Civil Liberties; Environmental Regulations; and, Housing Programs Under the 1968 Omnibus Housing Bill.” He also served as an instructional leader and coordinator of a law school seminar entitled “Legal Systems, Civil Disobedience and the Ghetto.” Bob held an internship with the United Nations Economic and Social Council in Switzerland where he focused on Economic Development Policy. Bob is a member of both the California Bar Association and the American Bar Association. He lives in Portola Valley, CA, and has three children.

Irving Weissman, M.D.

Irving L. Weissman, M.D.
Director, Stanford Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine
Director, Stanford Comprehensive Cancer Center
Professor of Pathology and of Developmental Biology and, by courtesy, of Neurosurgery

Irving Weissman, M.D.

Irving L. Weissman, M.D., is the Director of the Stanford Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine and Director of the Stanford Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Weissman was a member of the founding Scientific Advisory Boards of Amgen (1981-1989), DNAX (1981-1992), and T-Cell Sciences (1988-1992). He co-founded SyStemix in 1988, StemCells in 1996, and Celtrans (now Cellerant), the successor to SyStemix, in 2001. He is a Director and Chair of their Scientific Advisory Boards.

His research encompasses the biology and evolution of stem cells and progenitor cells, mainly blood-forming and brain-forming. He is also engaged in isolating and characterizing the rare cancer and leukemia stem cells as the only dangerous cells in these malignancies, especially with human cancers. Finally, he has a long-term research interest in the phylogeny and developmental biology of the cells that make up the blood-forming and immune systems. His laboratory was first to identify and isolate the blood-forming stem cell from mice, and has purified each progenitor in the stages of development between the stem cells and mature progeny (granulocytes, macro-phages, etc.). At SyStemix he co-discovered the human hematopoetic stem cell and at StemCells, he co-discovered a human central nervous system stem cell. In addition, the Weissman laboratory has pioneered the study of the genes and proteins involved in cell adhesion events required for lymphocyte homing to lymphoid organs in vivo, either as a normal function or as events involved in malignant leukemic metastases.

Professor Weissman is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine at the National Academy, and the American Association of Arts and Sciences. He has received the Kaiser Award for Excellence in Preclinical Teaching, the Pasarow Award in Cancer Research, the Outstanding Investigator Award from the National Institutes of Health, the De Villiers International Achievement Award of the Leukemia Society of America, the Van Bekkum Stem Cell Award, the Rabbi Shai Shacknai Memorial Prize in Immunology and Cancer Research from the Lautenberg Center for General and Tumor Immunology. He is also the 2004 New York Academy of Medicine Award for distinguished contributions to biomedical research.

Judith Gasson, Ph.D

Director, UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center
Co-director, UCLA Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Medicine

Judith Gasson, Ph.D

Judith C. Gasson, a professor of biological chemistry and medicine, became director of UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center on Sept. 15, 1995. A molecular biologist, Gasson is responsible for one of only 39 institutions nationwide designated as comprehensive cancer centers by the National Cancer Institute.

In addition to her administrative duties, Gasson also is a gifted scientist. She was instrumental in purifying for the first time a hormone-like substance that increases the speed of bone marrow cell reproduction. That substance, called GM-CSF, is used to help prevent infections in cancer patients, and to allow patients to tolerate more chemotherapy and radiation than had previously been possible.

In 2005, Gasson was named a co-director of the UCLA Institute of Stem Cell Biology and Medicine and she recently testified before a key Senate subcommittee on the promise of stem cell research in cancer. Gasson also serves as a board member for the American Association for Cancer Research.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in microbiology from Colorado State University and a doctorate in physiology at the University of Colorado. Gasson did post doctoral work at the Salk Institute in La Jolla. In 1983, she left the Salk Institute to join UCLA's Jonsson Cancer Center, which comprises more than 240 researchers and clinicians engaged in research, prevention, detection, control, treatment and education.

One of the nation's largest comprehensive cancer centers, the Jonsson center is dedicated to promoting research and translating the results into leading-edge clinical studies. In July 2005, the Jonsson Cancer Center was named the best cancer center in the western United States by U.S. News & World Report, a ranking it has held for six consecutive years.

(Bios are for archival purposes)

Gerald S. Levey, M.D.

Professor, Medicine
Vice Chancellor of Medical Sciences and Dean, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

Gerald S. Levey, M.D.

 

Dr. Gerald S. Levey, a nationally recognized leader in both academic medicine and private sector medical affairs, is vice chancellor of medical sciences and dean of the David Geffen School of Medicine and holds the academic rank of professor of medicine in the department of medicine. As vice chancellor of medical sciences at UCLA he oversees a diverse medical enterprise including the School of Medicine, UCLA Medical Center, and the UCLA Neuropspsychiatric Institute and Hospital.

Dr. Levey joined UCLA in September 1994, having previously served as senior vice president for medical and scientific affairs at Merck & Co., one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies. He has held major leadership positions throughout his career, including serving as chair of the department of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine from 1979-1991. He is past president of the Association of Professors of Medicine, was a member of the Board of Governors of the American Board of Internal Medicine and is a member of the Association of American Physicians. Dr. Levey is a member of the medical honorary society Alpha Omega Alpha, and is a recipient of the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and received his Mastership from the American College of Physicians in 1997.

Dr. Levey is an internist and endocrinologist widely known for his research on the thyroid gland and the heart. He was named a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator while at the University of Miami from 1971-1978. Dr. Levey has developed a particular interest in issues of the nation’s physician supply and the role of generalist physicians, and served as co-chair of the National Study of Internal Medicine Manpower from 1981-1991.

J. Thomas Rosenthal, M.D.

Professor, Urology
Chief Medical Officer, UCLA Medical Center
Associate Vice Chancellor, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

J. Thomas Rosenthal, M.D.

Dr. Rosenthal is a urologist and was formerly the Director of the Kidney Transplant Program at UCLA. His accomplishments included substantial growth in the clinical program, achieving competitive NIH funding for clinical trials in transplantation to UCLA, and ultimately achieving research funding in excess of two million dollars. He received his M.D. from Duke in 1974 and completed his residency at the Lahey Clinic. He previously served as Program Director in Urology at UCLA, Vice-Chair for Clinical Affairs and Executive Vice-Chair in the Department of Surgery at UCLA, and Director of the UCLA Medical Group before assuming his current roles. He is a past officer in a number of transplant societies.

Neil H. Parker, M.D.

Associate Professor, Medicine
Senior Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Graduate Medical Education,
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

Neil H. Parker, M.D.

Among his numerous responsibilities, Dr. Parker oversees medical student admissions, provides guidance for outreach services, assists in negotiation of affiliation agreements and regularly counsels medical students.

Dr. Parker has shown his dedication to medical education through his chairmanship of the 1st year Foundations-Orientation course and the Medicine Subinternship elective for 4th years as well as serving as a co-chair for the 3rd year Clinical Foundations course. He has also taught medical students as a tutor for both the Clinical Applications of Basic Sciences and the Pathophysiology of Diseases Case Studies courses. From 1981-1995, he served as Associate Program Director for the Internal Medicine residency program before which he was an attending physician for residents and fellows in the Department of Medicine.

Dr. Parker is hailed as one of UCLA' s best instructors and consistently receives the highest marks from medical student and resident evaluations. He has twice been honored with the Outstanding Fulltime Faculty Award from the Department of Medicine in addition to receiving the UCLA Medical Staff Service Award. Dr. Parker is a fellow of the American College of Physicians and is a member of the national honorary medical society, Alpha Omega Alpha.

Dr. Parker received his M.D. degree cum laude from the State University of New York, Downstate in 1972 and joined the faculty at UCLA as Chief Resident in Medicine in 1977.

Judith C. Gasson, Ph.D.

Director, UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center
Co-director, UCLA Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Medicine

Judith C. Gasson, Ph.D.

Judith C. Gasson, a professor of biological chemistry and medicine, became director of UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center on Sept. 15, 1995. A molecular biologist, Gasson is responsible for one of only 39 institutions nationwide designated as comprehensive cancer centers by the National Cancer Institute.

In addition to her administrative duties, Gasson also is a gifted scientist. She was instrumental in purifying for the first time a hormone-like substance that increases the speed of bone marrow cell reproduction. That substance, called GM-CSF, is used to help prevent infections in cancer patients, and to allow patients to tolerate more chemotherapy and radiation than had previously been possible.

In 2005, Gasson was named a co-director of the UCLA Institute of Stem Cell Biology and Medicine and she recently testified before a key Senate subcommittee on the promise of stem cell research in cancer. Gasson also serves as a board member for the American Association for Cancer Research.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in microbiology from Colorado State University and a doctorate in physiology at the University of Colorado. Gasson did post doctoral work at the Salk Institute in La Jolla. In 1983, she left the Salk Institute to join UCLA's Jonsson Cancer Center, which comprises more than 240 researchers and clinicians engaged in research, prevention, detection, control, treatment and education.

One of the nation's largest comprehensive cancer centers, the Jonsson center is dedicated to promoting research and translating the results into leading-edge clinical studies. In July 2005, the Jonsson Cancer Center was named the best cancer center in the western United States by U.S. News & World Report, a ranking it has held for six consecutive years.

Sondra Vazirani, M.D. M.P.H.

Associate Clinical Professor, General Internal Medicine/Health Services Research

Sondra Vazirani

Sondra Vazirani, MD, MPH is a Hospitalist in the VA Greater Los Angeles Health Care System and an Associate Clinical Professor in the Division of General Internal Medicine/Health Services Research at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.Dr. Vazirani serves as the Medical Director of the Preoperative Clinic and the Medicine Consult Service at the West Los Angeles VA, and also attends on the medicine wards and in the ER. Dr. Vazirani serves on the Academic Progress Committee, the VAGLAHS Executive Board, and the Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee. Dr. Vazirani is an active principal investigator and has published papers and has papers in press regarding a research study that compared the effectiveness of care management by a hospitalist/ nurse practitioner/ multidisciplinary care management team versus conventional approach for acutely ill general medicine inpatients. Dr. Vazirani additionally has been an instructor for eight years for an elective in the UCLA Medical School regarding Health Policy. She has been married eleven years to an attorney and has a gorgeous three and a half year old girl.

Neil S. Wenger, M.D., M.P.H.

Professor, Medicine
Director, UCLA Healthcare Ethics Center
Chair, Ethics Committee, UCLA medical Center

	Neil S. Wenger, M.D., M.P.H.

Neil S. Wenger is Professor of Medicine in the Division of General Internal Medicine at UCLA and a consulting researcher at RAND. He is director of the UCLA Healthcare Ethics Center and is chair of the Ethics Committee at the UCLA Medical Center. He also is director of the NRSA Primary Care Research Fellowship in the UCLA Division of General Internal Medicine and Health Services Research. Dr. Wenger is an active general internist and carries out research in the empirical study of clinical ethics, care of and decision making for the older patient, and quality of health care. He directs the Assessing Care of the Vulnerable Elders project, which has developed a quality-of-care assessment system for vulnerable older persons and interventions to improve care for this group. Other areas of interest include medication adherence, teaching clinical ethics, and measuring the quality of end-of-life care.

(Bios are for archival purposes)

Directors

Matthew Frank
Director of Speakers

Matthew graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a degree in Electrical Engineering and a minor in Biomedical Engineering. He has worked in a wide variety of topics including theoretical physics research at Caltech, eye development research at the NIH, DNA computing research at MIT, and neuroscience research at the University of Chicago. In his free time, he enjoys scuba diving, volunteering at a homeless health care clinic, playing football and soccer, and spending time with his wife and two cats. Matthew is currently pursuing MD and PhD degrees through UCLA's Medical Scientist Training program. His PhD research interests are in leukemia and lymphoma cancer biology and in hematopoietic stem cell development.

Menna Seifu
Director of Logistics

Menna was born and raised in Ethiopia and came to the US with her family in 1998. She graduated from UCLA in 2004 with a major in Biology. She is interested in becoming either a general internist or an endocrinologist and help especially the growing number of Diabetics in the world increase their quality of life. She is also interested in pursuing a degree in public health and doing a health services research that addresses issues of the chronically ill patients.

Susan Park
Director of Publicity

Susan Park graduated from UCLA in 2003 with dual degrees in Physiological Sciences and Women’s Studies. Although a native of Southern California, she continues to explore and enjoy new places and opportunities in this amazing area. She has a special interest in international health developed over the years through volunteer work in Albania, Mexico, and Ukraine. Susan would love to work with children in her future practice but has a special place in her heart for the geriatric population as well. Outside of school, she enjoys traveling, designing and spending time with friends and family.

Trent Custis
Director of Finance

A native of South Dakota, Trent Custis graduated from the University of South Dakota with a dual degree in Chemistry and Business and a minor in Mathematics. He has many interests in medicine including radiology, anesthesia, internal medicine and surgery. Trent also plans to complete the dual MD/MBA program while at UCLA. In his spare time he enjoys visiting family and friends, downhill skiing, and a good round of golf. Trent is grateful to be here in Los Angeles and is proud to have served on the board of directors for this year's Health Care Symposium.

Warren Chow
Director of Logistics

Originally from Lexington, KY, Warren graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and concentrations in Economics and Film. He migrated to the Bay Area to earn his M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. Before entering medical school, Warren taught science and mathematics classes to high school students. He is pursuing dual roles in medicine with clinical practice and health policy, specifically universal health care and pharmaceutical industry regulation. When he is not working at free clinics or advocating health care reform, Warren enjoys surfing and rock climbing.

Caleb Ho
Director of Information Systems

Caleb Ho was originally from Hong Kong, and graduated from UCLA in 2004, majoring in Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics. During his time off from college, he worked as a classroom assistant in the Lanterman Developmental Center, with elderly people with mental retardation. Currently, he's interested in various subspecialties within internal medicine, including GI, oncology, and endocrinology. During spare time, he likes snowboarding, watching TV, drawing and designing stuff.

Assistant Directors

Ali Khan
Assistant Director of Logistics

A native of Los Angeles, Ali Khan graduated in 2005 from the University of Southern California with dual degrees in Biological Sciences and Political Science. While at USC, Ali sought to combine his interests in politics and medicine throughout his undergraduate career, including a graduate-level program with the Institute of International Studies in Geneva, Switzerland. While abroad he was able to hold an internship with the United Nations, and has since continued his interest in international health and public health policy. Now at UCLA, Ali has many interests in medicine, particularly national health policy, and looks forward to exploring different fields. In his spare time he enjoys athletics and spending time with friends, and notes that despite coming to UCLA he is still a Trojan football fan.

Barkha Gurbani
Assistant Director of Speakers

A Southern California resident, Barkha Gurbani graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 2004 after majoring in Public Health Studies and obtaining a minor in Women, Gender and Sexuality. She spent the subsequent academic year in Mumbai, India as a Fulbright Scholar conducting a project titled "Young Widows of India Psychosocial Impact of HIV/AIDS." She hopes to obtain her MPH in the future and would like to combine her interests in Public Health, International Health, and Pediatrics in her future career as well. In her spare time she enjoys dancing, reading, painting, traveling, and music.

Christine Chen
Assistant Director of Information Systems

Christine Chen is a first year student at UCLA Med. She is originally from Vancouver, British Columbia and graduated from UC Berkeley in May 2005 with a degree in Molecular and Cell Biology and a minor in Music. She looks forward to exploring different fields of medicine in the upcoming years.

Monica El-Masry
Assistant Director of Finance

Monica El-Masry was born in Queens, New York and grew up in Los Angeles. She graduated in 2005 from UCLA with a Bachelor of Science in Psychobiology. She has served as a tutor, mentor, and counselor to many UCLA undergraduate students and because of her strong dedication and service to UCLA and the community she received the distinguished UCLA Chancellor's Service Award. Monica enjoys traveling, watching movies, volunteering at free clinics, and spending time with family and friends. Through her leadership in the health care symposium, she hopes to encourage other students to take an active role in shaping medicine in the 21rst century. In the future, she hopes to get involved in international medical missions and pursue a career in general and vascular surgery and medical education.

Benjamin Kianmahd
Assistant Director of Publicity

Erik Anderson
Assistant Director of Logistics

Gold Sponsors:

California Health Care Foundation
Kaiser Permanente
PacifiCare

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Silver Sponsors:

CIGNA
Health Net, Inc.