Division of General Internal Medicine & Health Services Research
Monthly Newsletter
January 2020
UCLA Division of GIM-HSR Monthly Newsletter
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In Memoriam: Dr. William "Billy" Cunningham
A National Leader in Addressing Racial/ethnic and Socioeconomic Disparities Among Vulnerable Populations

Billy CunninghamUCLA faculty, students and staff in the Division of General Internal Medicine and Health Services Research in the UCLA School of Medicine and UCLA Fielding School of Public Health are mourning the loss of William “Billy” Cunningham, who was a  Professor of Medicine and Public Health. Billy died Thursday, January 3, 2020, in Los Angeles. He was 60 years old.

A fierce advocate for improving the health of underrepresented communities, Billy was a national leader in studies designed to improve outcomes along the HIV care continuum. After receiving his bachelor’s degree at Brown University in 1982 and graduating from the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine in 1987, he came to UCLA to complete his internal medicine residency training. He was then selected into the 1991 cohort of the UCLA Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar Program and completed a master's in public health from the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health before joining our faculty in both the Schools of Medicine and Public Health.
Billy had incredible passion and energy and was a national leader in addressing racial/ethnic and socioeconomic disparities among vulnerable populations living with, or at-risk of, HIV. Most recently he was working to improve HIV care for HIV+ men and transgender women released from Los Angeles County Jail. “Billy was a true friend, colleague, teacher, clinician, and researcher and will be deeply missed by so many of us” said Carol Mangione, Chief of the UCLA Division of General Internal Medicine and Health Services Research.
As Director of the UCLA Clinical Translational Science Institute TL1 Summer Fellowship Program, Co-Director of the Investigator Development Core for the NIA-funded Resource Centers for Minority Aging Research, Director of the Training Core for the NIMHD-funded Project Export, and as Associate Director of the UCLA Robert Wood Johnson/National Clinical Scholars Program at UCLA, Billy was instrumental in the mentoring of hundreds of trainees, most of whom were from under-represented minority groups aspiring to enter the medical and/or public health professions. “He will be remembered as an amazing scholar, and an incredibly popular teacher” said Dean Kelsey Martin.
Billy also taught graduate-level courses on racial disparities and health, health services organization, and outcomes and effectiveness research. “This is a great loss for his family, his community, and our department,” said Alan Fogelman, Department Chair and Professor of Medicine. “He was a beloved colleague and a true example of clinical scientist and teacher.”  

Despite numerous health setbacks over the past year, he continued to be there for his family and to remain passionately engaged in his research which always focused on how to improve care for some of the most vulnerable among us. At the time of his demise, he was a principal investigator for 3 research grants and authored numerous peer-reviewed publications in 2019. Billy is survived by his wife, Sharon and their two young sons, Emery and Kendi.

GIM faculty share a few words about their colleague and friend: 

“Billy was a friend and a mentor, and I loved to bask in his unique and thoughtful perspectives. He really was an original. He introduced me to HIV research and taught me so much about the patient population and how to successfully work with community partners. He was so fun to be around and I am so grateful that I had the time that I did with him. I miss you, Billy.” - Dr. Joseph Ladapo

“Billy was a great friend and colleague. For many years we worked together on many large center grants to address health disparities and co-mentored many junior faculty, something we both loved to do at work. Most importantly we were extended family – his parents and my aunt and uncle were close friends and his older brother took me under his wings many years ago as another younger brother. I will miss his smile, his laugh, his positive energy, but I will also cherish the time we had together and my brief journey on this planet has been made that much better by being able to walk part of it alongside him.” - Dr. Keith Norris  

Billy Cunningham & studentsPhoto (click to enlarge):
Dr. Cunningham (center) with Dr. Michael Rodriguez (to his right) and students at the Josiah Brown Poster Fair, UCLA Center for Health Sciences, July 31, 2014

Video Clip:
Dr. Cunningham presents his CTSI Summer Fellowship Program

The family requests that in lieu of flowers donations be made to one of Billy’s research partners, the Center for Health Justice, a non-profit organization dedicated to serving individuals with a history of incarceration by providing health education and supportive services.

Any remembrances of Billy can be sent to the family at: c/o Dr. Carol Mangione, 1100 Glendon Ave., Suite 900, Los Angeles, CA 90024.


UCLA will hold a public memorial service and lunch for Dr. Cunningham on Saturday, January 18, 2020 beginning at 10:00 am at the Luskin Conference Center to honor Billy and his profound contributions to our division and the field of HIV care, prevention, and health equity. 

Saturday, January 18, 2020
Service 10:00 am to 12:00 pm, Lunch 12:00 to 2:00 pm on the Terrace
UCLA Luskin Conference Center
425 Westwood Plaza, Centennial room A & B
Directions & parking information

[Please RSVP here]  

2020-21 National Clinician Scholars Cohort Selected
NCSP 2020-21

NCSP Director Dr. Joann Elmore notes of our new and returning Scholars, "Their enthusiasm is inspiring, their commitment to social justice palpable, their projects innovative and diverse and they are helping us nurture relationships with the Los Angeles community and beyond. The incoming scholars are an impressive group.  It is a real honor to direct this program."  

We also welcome Jennifer Serpas as the new administrator for the NCSP.  We are lucky to have her join the NCSP family!

Congratulations, Dr. Sarkisian 
Catherine Sarkisian, MDCongratulations to GIM collaborator, Dr. Catherine Sarkisian, (Professor in Residence, Medicine - Geriatrics) recipient of a DGSOM Seed Grant Award for her proposal, "Using Machine Learning & Behavioral Economics to Create Adoptable Tools to Reduce Low-Value Care."  The Seed Grant Program selects awardees who have an idea for a potentially groundbreaking advancement. In its third year, the program is a collaboration among the medical school, the Institute for Precision Health and the UCLA CTSI, along with a generous gift from the Spitzer Family Foundation.
Save the Date: Sat. Feb. 29 - DMPG Retreat
Luskin Conference CenterOn Saturday, February 29th, the Department of Medicine Professional Group (DMPG) will hold their 4th annual retreat at the Luskin Conference Center.  

All faculty are strongly encouraged to attend.  Childcare, lactation facilities, parking, breakfast, and lunch are provided. The retreat will include a GIM/HSR Division meeting where we will review new quality initiatives. Faculty can choose from workshops on clinical, quality, benefits, and wellness topics.  Certification in BLS, Suboxone Prescribing and ACLS will also be offered.  You will receive an e-mail next week to register. 

Upcoming GIM Events & Seminars
GIM Friday Noon Seminar Series 

Nanibaa' Garrison, MD
Today! January 10 - Nanibaa' Garrison, PhD
"Indigenous Perspectives on Genomics: Pathways Barriers and Governance"
January 17 - Michael Ong, MD, PhD
"Development of the 2021-2023 State of California Master Plan for Tobacco Control"
January 24 - David Eisenman, MD, MSHS  
January 31 - Joann Elmore, MD, MPH

1100 Glendon, 7th floor, Suite 710, Conference Room 725.  Lunch served.  Live streaming webinar and conference line at 
(669) 900-6833, Meeting ID 588 355 752


RCMAR/CHIME Methodological Seminar

Susan Ettner, PhDSusan Ettner, PhD 
“Endogeneity Bias : A Brief Introduction”
Monday, January 27, 2020, 3:00 pm

1100 Glendon, 8th floor, Suite 850, Room 852
Live streaming webinar and conference line
(669) 900-6833, Meeting ID: 848 572 2006
Articles of General Interest

JAMAJAMA Network Articles of the Year 2019
New GIM-HSR Publications

Regional Node Basin Recurrence in Melanoma Patients: More Common After Node Dissection for Macroscopic Rather than Clinically Occult Nodal Disease. Uppal A, Stern S, Thompson JF, ... , Elashoff D, et al. Ann Surg Oncol. 2019 Dec 20.  PMID: 31863416

Pathologists' Agreement on Treatment Suggestions for Melanocytic Skin Lesions. Jafry MA, Peacock S, Radick AC, Shucard HL, Reisch LM, Piepkorn MW, Knezevich SR, Weinstock MA, Barnhill RL, Elder DE, Kerr KF, Elmore JG. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2019 Dec 17. pii: S0190-9622(19)33295-5. PMID: 31862403

Clinical Characteristics of and Risk Factors for Chronic Kidney Disease Among Adults and Children: An Analysis of the CURE-CKD Registry. Tuttle KR, Alicic RZ, Duru OK, Jones CR, Daratha KB, Nicholas SB, McPherson SM, Neumiller JJ, Bell DS, Mangione CM, Norris KC. JAMA Netw Open. 2019 Dec 2;2(12):e1918169.  PMID: 31860111

Racial and Ethnic Variations in Mortality Rates for Patients Undergoing Maintenance Dialysis Treated in US Territories Compared with the US 50 States. Yan G, Shen JI, Harford R, Yu W, Nee R, Clark MJ, Flaque J, Colon J, Torre F, Rodriguez Y, Georges J, Agodoa L, Norris KC. Clin J Am Soc Nephrol. 2019 Dec 19. pii: CJN.03920319.  [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 31857376

Comparison of Patient Outcomes of Surgeons Who Are US Versus International Medical Graduates. Tsugawa Y, Dimick JB, Jena AB, Maggard-Gibbons M, Blumenthal DM, Gross N, Jha AK. Ann Surg. 2019 Dec 10. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 31850990

Do Additional Clinical Risk Factors Improve the Performance of Fracture Risk Assessment Tool (FRAX) Among Postmenopausal Women? Findings From the Women's Health Initiative Observational Study and Clinical Trials. Crandall CJ, Larson J, Cauley JA, Schousboe JT, LaCroix AZ, Robbins JA, Watts NB, Ensrud KE. JBMR Plus. 2019 Nov 30;3(12):e10239.. eCollection 2019 Dec. PMID: 31844827

Can Dialysis Withdrawal Explain Why White Patients Have Worse Survival than Black Patients? Norris KC, Kalantar-Zadeh K. J Am Soc Nephrol. 2020 Jan;31(1):2-4.  Epub 2019 Dec 13. PMID: 31841436

Everyday Discrimination and Kidney Function Among Older Adults: Evidence from the Health and Retirement Study. Cobb RJ, Thorpe RJ, Norris KC. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2019 Dec 15. pii: glz294. PMID: 31838487

Association Between the ACA Medicaid Expansions and Primary Care and Emergency Department Use During the First 3 Years. Gotanda H, Kominski G, Tsugawa Y. J Gen Intern Med. 2019 Dec 11. PMID: 31828588

Screening for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm: US Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement. US Preventive Services Task Force, Owens DK, Davidson KW, Krist AH, ... , Mangione CM, et al. JAMA. 2019 Dec 10;322(22):2211-2218. PMID: 31821437

Depot Buprenorphine Injection In The Management Of Opioid Use Disorder: From Development To Implementation. Ling W, Shoptaw S, Goodman-Meza D. Subst Abuse Rehabil. 2019 Nov 29;10:69-78.  eCollection 2019. Review. PMID: 31819701

Online Searching and Social Media to Detect Alcohol Use Risk at Population Scale. Weitzman ER, Magane KM, Chen PH, Amiri H, Naimi TS, Wisk LE. Am J Prev Med. 2020 Jan;58(1):79-88. Epub 2019 Dec 2. PMID: 31806270

The Diabetes Prevention Program for Underserved Populations: A Brief Review of Strategies in the Real World. AuYoung M, Moin T, Richardson CR, Damschroder LJ. Diabetes Spectr. 2019 Nov;32(4):312-317. PMID: 31798288

Problems with analyses and interpretation of data in "use of the KDQOL-36™ for assessment of health-related quality of life among dialysis patients in the United States". Hays RD, Peipert JD, Kallich JD. BMC Nephrol. 2019 Dec 3;20(1):447. PMID: 31795976

New research directions on disparities in obesity and type 2 diabetes. Thornton PL, Kumanyika SK, Gregg EW, ... , Ladapo JA, Lindberg NM, Manson SM, Marrero DG, Peek ME, Shields AE, Tate DF, Mangione CM. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2019 Dec 3. PMID: 31793006

Contributions of Geography and Nongeographic Factors to the White-Black Gap in Hospital Quality for Coronary Heart Disease: A Decomposition Analysis. Popescu I, Huckfeldt P, Pane JD, Escarce JJ. J Am Heart Assoc. 2019 Dec 3;8(23):e011964. Epub 2019 Nov 30. PMID: 31787056

What Do the European Breast Cancer Screening Guidelines Portend for U.S. Practice? Elmore JG, Lee CI. Ann Intern Med. 2019 Nov 26. PMID: 31766056

Holding firm: Use of clinical correlation to improve Clostridioides difficile testing. Baghdadi J, Ganz DA, Chumpia M, Chang ET, de Peralta SS. Am J Infect Control. 2019 Dec 17. pii: S0196-6553(19)30982-4.
What Are the Determinants of Health System Performance? Findings from the Literature and a Technical Expert Panel. Ridgely MS, Ahluwalia SC, Tom A, Vaiana ME, Motala A, Silverman M, Kim A, Damberg CL, Shekelle PG. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2019 Dec 11. pii: S1553-7250(19)30448-9. PMID: 31837990

A laser-engraved wearable sensor for sensitive detection of uric acid and tyrosine in sweat. Yang Y, Song Y, Bo X, ... , Li Z, Gao W. Nat Biotechnol. 2019 Nov 25. PMID: 31768044

Reporting of adverse drug events in the Veterans Health Administration for patients whose treatment with empagliflozin or apixaban was discontinued. Fina PM, Cunningham FE, Zhao X, Glassman PA, Moore VR, Au A, Aspinall SL. Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2020 Jan 1;77(1):22-32. PMID: 31756249

Women Veterans' Experiences with Perceived Gender Bias in U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Specialty Care. Mattocks K, Casares J, Brown A, Bean-Mayberry B, Goldstein KM, Driscoll M, Haskell S, Bastian L, Brandt C. Womens Health Issues. 2019 Nov 14. pii: S1049-3867(19)30478-5. PMID: 31735581

Contributors to Racial Disparities in Minimally Invasive Hysterectomy in the US Department of Veterans Affairs. Katon JG, Bossick AS, Doll KM, Fortney J, Gray KE, Hebert P, Lynch KE, Ma EW, Washington DL, Zephyrin L, Callegari LS. Med Care. 2019 Dec;57(12):930-936. PMID: 31730567

Eight Priorities for Improving Primary Care Access Management in Healthcare Organizations: Results of a Modified Delphi Stakeholder Panel. Rubenstein L, Hempel S, Danz M, Rose D, Stockdale S, Curtis I, Kirsh S. J Gen Intern Med. 2019 Nov 14. PMID: 31728895

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UCLA Division of General Internal Medicine & Health Services Research · 1100 Glendon Avenue, Suite 850 · Los Angeles, CA 90024 · USA

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