Luis R. Castellanos, MD, MPH, Appointed Director of Diversity in Medicine and Faculty Outreach for the Department of Medicine

February 27, 2017

An announcement from Wolfgang H. Dillmann, MD, Helen M. Ranney Distinguished Professor and Chair, Department of Medicine

Luis Castellanos, MD, MPH

Luis Castellanos, MD, MPH

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Luis R. Castellanos, MD, MPH as Director of Diversity in Medicine and Faculty Outreach for the UCSD Department of Medicine.  Dr. Castellanos is an Associate Clinical Professor in the Division of Cardiology.

In his new role, he will work to promote the recruitment, retention and advancement of diverse medical professionals, including internal medicine residents and faculty, from underrepresented in medicine minority (URM) groups within the Department of Medicine.  Dr. Castellanos has demonstrated a sustained commitment to the critical mission of improving diversity and promoting inclusion in the medical field in order to better serve the members of our diverse community.

Dr. Castellanos graduated from UC Davis summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, with a Bachelor of Science in biochemistry and earned his medical degree from Harvard Medical School.  He first joined UCSD as an Internal Medicine resident in 2003. He was then completed a prestigious Fellowship in Minority Health Policy at Harvard University/Commonwealth Fund Program, obtaining a Masters in Public Health with an emphasis in Health Policy and Management at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Dr. Castellanos subsequently completed a fellowship in cardiovascular medicine at UC Davis where he was selected as the Chief Research Fellow for his involvement in clinical research that addressed vulnerable populations.  He joined the faculty at UCSD in 2010.

As part of his clinical service, Dr. Castellanos travels to the Imperial Valley to provide cardiac care to underserved populations from El Centro, Brawley and neighboring communities.

Dr. Castellanos’ research focuses on health outcomes and inequities involving racial and ethnic minority groups.  He has co-authored peer-reviewed articles in the American Journal of Cardiology and the Journal of Cardiac Failure.  Dr. Castellanos was awarded a research grant from the Clinical and Translation Research Institute to study the effectiveness of a home-based cardiac rehabilitation program in patients with coronary heart disease who live in rural communities.  He has been invited to present his research at national conferences such as the American Heart Association and the National Hispanic Medical Association annual meetings where he has been a strong advocate for improving cardiovascular heath of vulnerable populations.

Dr. Castellanos has been recognized by the UCSD Clinical Advancement and Recognition of Excellence in Service and received the National Center for Leadership in Academic Medicine Award in 2013. Most recently, Dr. Castellanos was selected as a UCSD LEAD (Leaders for Equity, Advancement and Diversity) Fellow.

2016 Update: A Lasting Solution for Healthcare in Mozambique

Mozambique highlighted on a map of Africa There is a critical shortage of practicing doctors and medical educators in Mozambique, where the life expectancy is less than 42 years and the rate of HIV infection in adults is 16%. UC San Diego is teaming with the nation’s flagship medical school to create a long-term solution.

Mozambique’s Universidade Eduardo Mondlane (UEM) and UCSD have won a five-year, $12.5-million award from the U.S. Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI). The project will strengthen the nation’s medical education system by building infrastructure in several ways.


“We hope this will be a demonstration project for the rest of Africa.”
— Dr. Robert Schooley


Dr. Emilia Virginia Noormahomed, a co-investigator on the UCSD-UEM MEPI project.UEM’s principal investigator is Emilia Virginia Noormahomed, MD, PhD, a former dean of the UEM School of Medicine. Dr. Noormahomed (pictured at left) is now Assistant Professor of Parasitology at UEM and Assistant Professor of Medicine at UC San Diego.

Sam Patel, MD, Professor of Medicine at UEM and UC San Diego, is a co-investigator. In the photo below, he is pictured on the right.

View photo captions and credits

Dr. Bill Detmer, at left, demonstrates iPad mobile digital device preloaded with medical programs for doctors’ use in the hospital. Dr. Manuel Joaquim Tomás is at center and Dr. Sam Patel at right. Sam Patel, M.D., co-investigator on the MEPI project, is Professor of Medicine at UEM and UCSD. Bill Detmer, M.D., M.Sc., a MEPI project consultant, is Assistant Adjunct Professor of Clinical Informatics at the University of Virginia and President and Chief Executive Officer of Unbound Medicine.

MEPI is a joint initiative of the National Institutes of Health and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). Under the MEPI program, UEM receives the bulk of the funding and uses it to build capacity in medical training, research, and technology.

A smaller amount of funding comes directly to UC San Diego, supporting time and travel for the partners and mentors who will help UEM meet its goals.

M. Wilson Tilghman, M.D., UCSD’s on-site faculty member in Mozambique, consults with a UEM internal medicine resident at a patient’s bedside. Instituting the use of wirelessly-accessed medical reference material in the hospital is one of the UCSD-UEM project goals.“This is an experiment in medical education for UEM and for the U.S. government,” said Robert “Chip” Schooley, MD, who is coordinating the UC San Diego side of the project. “It puts the funding into the hands of the African universities and allows them to invest it in ways that are beneficial to them.”

Dr. Schooley is Professor and Academic Affairs Vice Chair in the Department of Medicine and Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases.

“I’m hopeful this will become a model for other kinds of aid,” he said.

Dr. Schooley and colleague Constance Benson, MD, have long experience in partnering with Mozambique and other African nations, and they have collaborated with Dr. Noormahomed in research projects for several years. Dr. Benson is Professor of Medicine, Director of the UC San Diego Antiviral Research Center, and Director of the Fellowship Program in Infectious Diseases.

The UEM-UCSD MEPI project expands some of the educational efforts that have been going on since July 2009 in the Internal Medicine Residency Program’s Global Medicine elective.

UC San Diego’s visiting faculty and residents have helped UEM adopt academic medical practices such as morning report and teaching conferences that strengthen the educational program.

MEPI biomedical informatics team members at October conference at UEM in Maputo.

MEPI biomedical informatics team members at October conference at UEM in Maputo.

The MEPI partnership relies heavily on biomedical informatics to accomplish its goals. This component of the program is led by Lucila Ohno-Machado, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine and Chief of UC San Diego’s Division of Biomedical Informatics. The division will provide expertise for the partnership’s information technology projects.

Dr. Kathy Promer, a 2013 graduate of the UC San Diego Internal Medicine Program, is the current infectious diseases fellow at UC San Diego on rotation at UEM’s Maputo Central Hospital. In the photo below, she is standing, second from the right.

Dr. Kathy Promer (standing, second from the right), 2013 Graduate of the UCSD Internal Medicine Program and current infectious diseases fellow at UCSD on rotation at UEM’s Maputo Central Hospital.

Smartphones and iPad mobile digital devices have been deployed on the wards at Maputo Central Hospital, UEM’s primary teaching hospital and the only tertiary care center in Mozambique. With these devices, the Mozambican doctors are able for the first time to consult online medical literature at a patient’s bedside. Soon they will have immediate access to data generated by the hospital’s clinical laboratories.

“These efforts really have changed the character of the residency program at Maputo Central Hospital,” said Dr. Schooley.

Through training and partnership with UC San Diego, UEM will also increase its capacity to do operational, epidemiological, translational and clinical research. Another program goal calls for UEM to set up a biomedical informatics infrastructure and connect with SEACOM, the new fiber optic broadband internet service in South and East Africa.

Students in UEM medical school class.UEM will also take steps to enhance its support of two new medical schools recently established by the Mozambican government in Nampula and Tete. These two new medical schools were launched in the past 3 years to address the profound shortage of physicians in the country.

Another key UC San Diego figure in the project is Stephen Bickler, MD, who will work to improve the nation’s surgical capacity in rural areas via a linked MEPI project, “UEM-UCSD Surgery Partnership.” Dr. Bickler is Associate Professor of Surgery and Pediatrics.

A number of other UC San Diego faculty members will contribute to the MEPI effort as well.

Medical school class   UCSD internal medicine resident Dr. Bethany Karl

Above left, a medical school class at Universidade Eduardo Mondlane. Right, Dr. Bethany Karl on rotation at UEM’s Maputo Central Hospital. Dr. Karl graduated from the UC San Diego Internal Medicine Program in 2010 and is currently a nephrology attending. Photo courtesy of Robert T. Schooley, MD

Project leaders expect to double the number of graduating doctors in Mozambique in the next 10 years. They also hope to inspire more doctors to devote their careers to medical education.

With a greater number of highly-trained doctors and a better infrastructure to support them, Mozambique will increase its capacity to deliver health care to its citizens and to fill the faculties of two new medical schools in Nampula and Tete.

The doctors training today in Mozambique will be the specialists, medical school faculty members, and government Ministry of Health policymakers of the future.

“We hope this will be a demonstration project for the rest of Africa,” Dr. Schooley said.

Read the UC San Diego News press release about our MEPI project.

Read about the project in “The Great Beyond,” Nature magazine’s blog
for breaking news in the sciences.


Photo Captions and Credits:

Dr. Emilia Virginia Noormahomed, co-principal investigator on the UCSD-UEM MEPI project.Dr. Emilia Virginia Noormahomed, co-principal investigator on the UC San Diego-UEM MEPI project. Photo courtesy of William M. Detmer, MD, MSc.

Drs. Detmer, Tomás, and PatelDr. Bill Detmer, left, demonstrates iPad mobile digital device preloaded with medical programs for doctors’ use in the hospital. Dr. Manuel Joaquim Tomás is at center and Dr. Sam Patel at right. Sam Patel, MD, co-investigator on the MEPI project, is Professor of Medicine at UEM and UC San Diego. William M. Detmer, MD, MSc, a MEPI project consultant, is Assistant Adjunct Professor of Clinical Informatics at the University of Virginia and President and Chief Executive Officer of Unbound Medicine. Photo courtesy of Dr. Detmer.

Dr. Tilghman and Mozambican residentM. Wilson Tilghman, MD, UC San Diego’s on-site faculty member in Mozambique, consults with a UEM internal medicine resident at a patient’s bedside. Instituting the use of wirelessly-accessed medical reference material in the hospital is one of the UC San Diego-UEM project goals. Photo courtesy of Robert T. Schooley, MD.

MEPI biomedical informatics team members at October conference at UEM in Maputo. MEPI biomedical informatics team members at October conference at UEM in Maputo. From left: Lucila Ohno-Machado, MD, PhD; Eli Aronoff-Spencer, MD, senior postdoctoral fellow in infectious diseases at UC San Diego; Eng. David Bila, Network Director for the Informatics Center at UEM; Heimar de Fátima Marin, RN, PhD, Professor of Health Informatics at Universidade Federal de São Paulo; and Eng. Francisco Mabila, Director of the Informatics Center at UEM. Photo courtesy of William M. Detmer, MD, MSc.

Dr. Kathy Promer (standing, second from the right), is a 2013 graduate of the UC San Diego Internal Medicine Program and is the current infectious diseases fellow at UC San Diego on rotation at UEM’s Maputo Central Hospital.

Students in a medical school class at UEM.Students in a medical school class at UEM. Photo courtesy of William M. Detmer, MD, MSc.

A medical school class at UEM.A medical school class at UEM. Photo courtesy of William M. Detmer, MD, MSc.

UCSD internal medicine resident Dr. Bethany Karl on rotation at UEM’s Maputo Central Hospital.UC San Diego internal medicine resident Dr. Bethany Karl on rotation at UEM’s Maputo Central Hospital. Photo courtesy of Robert T. Schooley, MD.

Trademark Credit Notices:

iPad is a trademark of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.

Aspirin Versus Blood Thinners in Atrial Fibrillation Patients with Stroke Risk

Nearly 40 percent of patients treated with aspirin alone despite previous data showing blood thinners more beneficial —

Researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine and University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine report that more than 1 in 3 atrial fibrillation (AF) patients at intermediate to high risk for stroke are treated with aspirin alone, despite previous data showing this therapy to be inferior to blood thinners.

The findings publish online June 20 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. … Read the Full Story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Dr. Jonathan C. Hsu

Dr. Jonathan Hsu.

The lead author of the study report is Jonathan C. Hsu, MD, MAS, Health Sciences Assistant Clinical Professor in the Cardiac Electrophysiology Section of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine.

Read the study abstract

New UC San Diego Center Will Focus on Heart Health Among Latinas

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have launched a new four-year, $3.7 million multidisciplinary research center to investigate the relationship between sedentary behavior and cardiovascular risk factors in Latinas, who have a disproportionately higher chance of developing heart disease than the general population.

The study is part of a new Strategically Focused Research Network created and funded by the American Heart Association (AHA). … Read the Full Story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Dorothy Sears, PhD

Dorothy Sears, PhD

Within the multidisciplinary research center, Dorothy Sears, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Endocrinology & Metabolism, will conduct studies to find and characterize biomarkers of cardiovascular disease risk associated with sedentary behavior.

Short Overnight Fasting Linked to Increased Risk of Breast Cancer Recurrence

Researchers suggest increasing duration of nightly fasting may improve prognosis —

In patients with breast cancer, a short overnight fast of less than 13 hours was associated with a statistically significant, 36 percent higher risk of breast cancer recurrence and a non-significant, 21 percent higher probability of death from the disease compared to patients who fasted 13 or more hours per night, report University of California, San Diego School of Medicine researchers.

The study, publishing online in the Journal of the American Medical Association Oncology on March 31 … Read the Full Story from the UC San Diego Newsroom

Remote Italian Village Could Harbor Secrets of Healthy Aging

Researchers will examine 300 Italian residents, all over 100 years old —

The average life expectancy in the United States is approximately 78 years old. Americans live longer, with better diets and improved health care, than ever before, but only 0.02 percent will hit the century mark.

To understand how people can live longer throughout the world, researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have teamed up with colleagues at University of Rome La Sapienza to study a group of 300 citizens, all over 100 years old, living in a remote Italian village nestled between the ocean and mountains on the country’s coast.

“We are the first group of researchers to be given permission to study this population in Acciaroli, Italy,” said Alan Maisel, MD … Read the Full Story from the UC San Diego Newsroom

Atrial Fibrillation Patients at Highest Stroke Risk Not Prescribed Necessary Medication

Researcher describes findings as major gap in treatment and “wake-up call” —

Nearly half of all atrial fibrillation (AF) patients at the highest risk for stroke are not being prescribed blood thinners by their cardiologists, according to a new study by researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and University of California, San Francisco.

The study was published online March 16, 2016 in JAMA Cardiology. … Read the Full Story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Jonathan Hsu, MD, MAS

Jonathan Hsu, MD, MAS

Jonathan C. Hsu, MD, MAS, is lead author of the study report. Dr. Hsu is Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine.

Cardiac electrophysiology is Dr. Hsu’s primary clinical interest.

Altman Clinical and Translational Research Building Makes Its Debut

New structure will be campus hub for advancing basic science to clinical applications —

Rising above Interstate 5 on the east campus of UC San Diego, the Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute Building (ACTRI) officially opened its doors Friday in a ribbon-cutting ceremony under blue skies.

The new seven-story building of steel, glass and grooved concrete is home to the Clinical and Translational Research Institute (CTRI) at UC San Diego, established in 2010 as part of a national consortium of 60 medical research institutions created to energize bench-to-bedside efforts. … Read the Full Story from the UC San Diego Newsroom

Distinguished Professor Shu Chien Elected Fellow of National Academy of Inventors

December 15, 2015

Two researchers at the University of California, San Diego, have been named fellows of the National Academy of Inventors.

Shu Chien, Distinguished Professor of Bioengineering and Medicine, and Michael Sailor, Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, were among 168 new fellows announced by the academy today.. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Shu Chien, MD, PhD

Shu Chien, MD, PhD. Photo courtesy of Jacobs School of Engineering/UC San Diego.

Shu Chien, MD, PhD, is a world-renowned researcher and inventor who has conducted pioneering investigations in atherosclerosis and hypertension. His work has brought about significant advances in the diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease.

Dr. Chien is founding chair of the UC San Diego Department of Bioengineering and director of the Institute of Engineering in Medicine. In the Department of Medicine, he is Distinguished Professor of Medicine in the Division of Physiology.

Earlier in 2015, Dr. Chen was selected to receive the prestigious Franklin Institute Award and was elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Professor Shu Chien Receives Prestigious Franklin Institute Award

November 16, 2015

Philadelphia, Nov. 12, 2015 – Shu Chien, founding chair of the Department of Bioengineering at the University of California, where is he currently a professor and director of the Institute of Engineering in Medicine, has received the prestigious Franklin Institute Award.

The award is conferred by the Philadelphia-based Franklin Institute. It has gone in previous years to an extraordinary list of great men and women who have significantly improved our world with their pioneering innovations, including Thomas Edison, Marie Curie, Stephen Hawking, Jacques Cousteau, and more recently Jane Goodall, Dean Kamen and Bill Gates. … Read the full press release from the Jacobs School of Engineering


Shu Chien, MD, PhD

Shu Chien, MD, PhD. Photo courtesy of Jacobs School of Engineering/UC San Diego.

In addition to his leadership roles in the Department of Bioengineering and the Institute of Engineering in MedicineShu Chien, MD, PhD, is a Professor of Medicine in the Division of Physiology.

In a recent major development in his scientific explorations, Dr. Chien is one of four principal investigators in the organizational hub of the $30 million 4D Nucleome Research Centers and Organizational Hub grant the National Institutes of Health awarded to UC San Diego in October.

The goal of the project is to determine how DNA is arranged within the cell’s nucleus in four dimensions (three-dimensional space plus time) and how changes in that nuclear organization affect human health and disease.

More information about Dr. Chien and his work: