Posted on Tuesday - 12/22/2020 to Up Close
2020: The Year in Review
This year was anything but ordinary. Despite the many challenges, UCSF Fresno achieved several milestones in 2020. All that we have overcome this year is the direct result of the time, energy and efforts of our faculty, trainees, staff and partners. As we look forward to the end of the year, here’s a look back at some of our shining moments.
Faculty at UCSF Fresno Take Leading Public Health Roles
Two faculty at UCSF Fresno were named to lead health departments in the San Joaquin Valley. Simon Paul, MD, was appointed public health officer for Madera County. Dr. Paul joined the UCSF Fresno faculty in 2003. He served as assistant dean for academic affairs and as medical director of the Special Services HIV Care Center for Community Regional Medical Center. Rais Vohra, MD, FACEP, FACMT, was appointed interim public health officer for Fresno County. A faculty member at UCSF Fresno since 2009, Dr. Vohra is a professor of Clinical Emergency Medicine and Clinical Pharmacy. He is medical director of the California Poison Control System Fresno-Madera Division. Dr. Vohra continues to work shifts in the emergency department at Community Regional Medical Center.
Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs Named
Roger Mortimer, MD, associate chief of the UCSF Fresno Department of Family and Community Medicine and UCSF clinical professor was named Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs. As assistant dean, Dr. Mortimer oversees faculty promotion and advancement and continuing medical education. Dr. Mortimer, a Madera native, is a member of the Fresno County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Mountaineering Unit and Training Coordinator for the National Cave Rescue Commission.
UCSF Fresno Responds to COVID-19
To protect the UCSF Fresno community, we responded quickly to the pandemic by developing distance learning and remote working guidelines to prevent the possible spread of COVID-19 among students, trainees, faculty and staff. Interactive town halls were initiated to provide information about the virus and health and safety protocols. Thanks to a gift from the Assemi Group, temporary resting space was created at UCSF Fresno to provide a place for faculty and trainees to relax and recharge after hospital shifts where they were caring for COVID-19 patients. In addition to the wellness rooms, UCSF Fresno made alternative housing available to frontline UCSF Fresno physicians to self-isolate after being exposed to the novel coronavirus or out of concern for vulnerable family members.
Match Day 2020
Due to the pandemic, we celebrated Match Day virtually this year. Medical school graduates in Fresno and across the nation received emails on March 20 that revealed where they would begin their postgraduate training necessary to practice medicine in the United States. In past years, UCSF Fresno held a breakfast for San Joaquin Valley Program in Medical Education (SJV PRIME) students participating in the Match and a lunchtime event to announce all incoming interns who matched with UCSF Fresno. This year, eight UC Davis SJV PRIME medical students learned via email that all eight matched with University of California-affiliated residencies; and two matched with programs at UCSF Fresno. UCSF Fresno received 8,378 applications from residents and conducted 1,146 interviews for 71 positions. As part of the Fellowship Match announced in 2019, UCSF Fresno received 1,357 fellowship applications and conducted 224 interviews for 19 positions.
15th Annual Cardiology in the Valley
UCSF Fresno held its 15th Annual Cardiology in the Valley Symposium on May 2. For the first time, the event was hosted via Zoom Webinar in accordance with public health guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Topics ranged from redefining myocardial infarction, new breakthroughs in the management of heart failure, smoking cessation therapies and testosterone and cardiovascular disease. More than 100 people attended the virtual symposium.
State Budget Includes $15M for Expanded Medical Education in the Valley
Thanks to Gov. Gavin Newsom, the California Legislature and the longstanding advocacy of Assembly Member Adam Gray, the state budget included $15 million a year in ongoing funding to support expanded medical student education at UCSF Fresno in partnership with UC Merced. Planning is underway now.
UCSF Fresno Graduation
We graduated more than 100 medical residents and fellows, along with three oral and maxillofacial surgery dental residents and four physician assistants. They were celebrated in a virtual commencement on June 11. Highlights: 70% of residents and fellows completing in the Department of Emergency Medicine, 44% of Family and Community residents, 44% of Internal Medicine residents, 50% of Pediatrics residents remained in the region to provide care; and 63% of all graduates stayed in California to provide care or continue their education.
Adult Sickle Cell Clinic Established
We opened a comprehensive adult sickle cell disease care clinic at the Community Cancer Institute in Clovis. Mohammed Sani Bukari, MD, a UCSF Fresno oncologist who is board certified in Hematology, Internal Medicine, Oncology and Pediatrics, received a state grant for the clinic. This is the only operating sickle cell disease clinic for adults in the greater Fresno area.
UCSF SJV PRIME Admits Second Cohort of Students
The second cohort of students in the new UCSF SJV PRIME were admitted. All 12 students recently admitted to the program call the San Joaquin Valley home. Fifty percent of the students come from backgrounds underrepresented in medicine and 42% are the first in their families to graduate from college. The students started their training at the main campus in San Francisco and will report to UCSF Fresno to complete their training – about two and a half years – in Fresno and the Valley in 2022. UCSF SJV PRIME is a tailored track for UCSF medical students who are committed to ensuring high-quality, culturally appropriate medical care to improve health in the San Joaquin Valley. SJV PRIME utilizes the unique expertise of UCSF, UC Merced and UCSF faculty at UCSF Fresno, as researchers, educators and leaders in the field of health and health care in the Valley.
Fresno COVID-19 Equity Project
The City of Fresno approached UCSF Fresno earlier this year regarding providing COVID-19 testing in socioeconomically disadvantaged areas and communities of color within the City. By July, the agreement appropriated funding from the City’s CARES Act funds to support the project and improve Fresno’s response to the pandemic. The initiative, the Fresno COVID-19 Equity Project (CEP), kicked off in September and provided free and equitable access to testing and other health care services and linked UCSF Fresno with about 20 community-based organizations (CBOs) to assist with contact tracing, community education and social support to improve health in areas that would benefit most. A collaboration between the CBOs and County of Fresno further expanded services. As of press time, more than 10,000 people have been tested through CEP, amounting to greater than 1% of the total Fresno County population or almost 10% of the entire County’s testing. Seventy-seven percent of tests performed were in non-Caucasian groups and 43% of patients were Hispanic/Latino. Testing has been conducted at approximately 60 locations throughout Fresno, including community centers, faith-based locations, homeless shelters and other community venues. Funding from the City is extending the initiative through February 2021.
UCSF Fresno presented the ninth installment of Mini Med School in six virtual lectures to share health information with the community. Topics included Community Response, Critical Care in the Sky and on Land, Healthy Inside and Out, The Importance of Mental Health, Internal Medicine Experts in the Central Valley and Medical Education in Your Community.
ROAD for the San Joaquin Valley
Reaching Out to Aspiring Doctors or ROAD for the San Joaquin Valley, started in 2014 and is traditionally held as a biennial conference on the UCSF Fresno campus. The purpose of the conference is to provide aspiring doctors, physicians, and surgeons with the information, resources, skills, and networking that is essential to achieving their educational goals with the hope that they will return to the Valley to provide culturally responsive care. This year’s conference was held virtually due to the pandemic and was open to high school, college and university students as well as post-baccalaureate students. The fourth biennial ROAD conference and first virtual event drew more than 400 students, the largest attendance ever. The ROAD Conference will return in 2022.
2020 Integrative Medicine Virtual Symposium
UCSF Fresno held the first Integrative Medicine Virtual Symposium “Healing Interventions for the Chronically Ill and at End of Life” on Oct. 3. This virtual continuing medical education symposium was aimed at increasing awareness of the latest end-of-life interventions, including medical aid in dying in California, advances in evidence-based prescribing practices and more. More than 80 people attended the virtual symposium.
2020 Virtual Liver Expo
The second annual UCSF Fresno Liver Expo was held virtually this year on Oct. 10. This free, fun and educational online event focused on prevention and management of fatty liver disease and steps people can take to increase liver health. Participants heard from UCSF Fresno and Community Regional Medical Center experts during liver health lectures, virtual fitness classes and cooking demonstrations. More than 150 people participated in the online event.
UCSF Fresno held its first virtual Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Champion Training. The DEI program was revamped to a virtual format this year to maintain the need for physical distance learning while allowing faculty and staff to personally connect. DEI training is designed to increase awareness of implicit biases, microaggressions and discrimination and provide skills for faculty and staff who interact with trainees and learners to make a more supportive, equitable and inclusive environment for all.
Fresno County received the first doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine and distributed them to local hospitals. A handful of faculty members at UCSF Fresno including Associate Dean Michael W. Peterson, MD, were among the first to receive the vaccine as part of a pilot clinic at Community Regional Medical Center (CRMC) on Dec. 18. CRMC plans include holding vaccination clinics over the coming weeks until the first allocation is exhausted and plans for future allocations through the county via the state have yet to be determined.
Assistant Dean for Research Named
Eyad Almasri, MD, was named Assistant Dean for Research. Dr. Almasri, a pulmonary and critical care specialist and associate clinical professor of Internal Medicine, has overseen the local NIH-funded Prevention and Early Treatment of Acute Lung Injury (PETAL) studies and recruited more patients to the PETAL research network than any other site in California. In addition, Dr. Almasri has played a substantial role in building COVID-related research at UCSF Fresno during the pandemic. He will begin his new role as assistant dean on Jan. 1, 2021.