New Video Series Chronicles AIDS Epidemic in Tijuana

“HIV/SIDA: The Epidemic in Tijuana” focuses on UC San Diego researchers’ efforts to track and prevent the spread of HIV among the city’s most at-risk populations —

The new documentary “HIV/SIDA: The Epidemic in Tijuana” offers an unflinching look at the challenges facing researchers from the University of California, San Diego as they attempt to identify and treat people who inject drugs, sex workers, transgender women and others who are at high risk for HIV infection in Tijuana. The program, which was shot over two years, premieres Oct. 5 at 8 p.m. on UCSD-TV and can be viewed at www.uctv.tv/hiv-sida. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


The film features the efforts of Dr. Steffanie Strathdee, her Division of Global Public Health colleagues and a multidisciplinary, multinational team of medical professionals to trace and arrest the spread of AIDS in Tijuana.

Dr. Strathdee is Associate Dean of Global Health Sciences, Harold Simon Professor and Chief of the Division of Global Public Health at UC San Diego.

The four-part documentary, based on the book Tomorrow Is a Long Time by Malcolm Linton and Jon Cohen, premiered on UCSD-TV on October 5. It was supported by funding from the Ford Foundation.

Find more about the documentary here: HIV/SIDA: The Epidemic in Tijuana – UCSD-TV – University of California Television.

At the Nexus of Substance Abuse and HIV

UC San Diego Researcher Wins Major Award to Study New Treatments and Preventions —

Dan Werb, PhD, an internationally noted epidemiologist at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, has been named one of four inaugural recipients of the Avenir Award, a prestigious $1.5 million research grant from the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom

Drs. Joachim Ix, Davey Smith Elected to American Society for Clinical Investigation

Two Department of Medicine physician-scientists have been elected to the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI) this year.

Dr. Joachim Ix

Dr. Joachim Ix

Joachim H. Ix, MD, MAS, FASN, a nephrologist and epidemiologist, is professor and chief of the Division of Nephrology-Hypertension. He holds a secondary appointment in the Division of Preventive Medicine, Department of Family and Preventive Medicine.

Dr. Davey Smith

Dr. Davey Smith

Translational research virologist Davey M. Smith, MD, MAS, professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases, directs the Center for AIDS Research Translational Virology Core and is medical director of the Early Intervention Program at the UC San Diego Antiviral Research Center.

ASCI membership is a distinction that recognizes the nation’s most outstanding physician-scientists.

Dr. Jamila Stockman to Receive Linda Saltzman New Investigator Award

Dr. Jamila Stockman

Dr. Jamila Stockman

Jamila Stockman, PhD, MPH, has been selected to receive the Linda Saltzman New Investigator Award, which recognizes a single outstanding new investigator in the field of gender-based violence and health.

Dr. Stockman, an infectious disease epidemiologist, is assistant professor in the Division of Global Public Health. She focuses her work on intimate partner violence (IPV) and substance abuse among low-income, underserved, vulnerable women.


Read the UC San Diego Newsroom press release


Said Dr. Steffanie Strathdee, chief of the Division of Global Public Health, “This is, without question, the most prestigious scholarly award in this field of study. Dr. Stockman’s selection indicates that she, at a very early stage in her career, is recognized as a national leader in this area.

“It is a true mark of excellence for the Division of Global Public Health, the Department of Medicine and the Center on Gender Equity and Health at UC San Diego to include Dr. Stockman among our faculty,” she said.

Steffanie Strathdee, PhD, is Associate Dean of Global Health Sciences & Harold Simon Professor and Chief of the Division of Global Public Health and Director of the Global Health Initiative.

Gender-based violence is increasingly recognized as central to health and development globally, Strathdee said.

Dr. Stockman holds a PhD in Epidemiology with a focus on infectious diseases from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and a Master’s degree in public health from the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services. She is an alumna of the UC San Diego National Center of Leadership in Academic Medicine.

She currently holds a UC San Diego Clinical and Translational Research Institute Academic-Community Partnership Pilot Grant for her project, “The Role of Peer Navigators and Social Support in the HIV Care Continuum: Perceptions of HIV-Positive Women.”

For the Linda Saltzman New Investigator Award, the Centers for Disease Control’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control solicits nominations from senior investigators in the field and convenes a committee of experts to select an outstanding individual to receive this national award once every two years.  Candidates for the award have 2-10 years of experience in their field.

Richard Garfein and Kevin Patrick Named M2M Pioneers

Applying Machine-to-Machine (M2M) Technology to Verify Compliance with Tuberculosis Treatment Regimen

Dr. Richard Garfein

Dr. Richard Garfein

UC San Diego’s Richard Garfein and Kevin Patrick have been named M2M Pioneers for 2013 for their Video Directly Observed Therapy (VDOT) Program for tuberculosis.

The honor comes from Connected World magazine, which presents the M2M Pioneer awards to a small number of outstanding innovators in machine-to-machine technology each year.

The VDOT program uses smartphone video to verify that tuberculosis patients comply with the painstaking six-month regimen of antibiotics required for a cure. Incomplete treatment fails to cure the TB and raises the risk that antibiotic-resistant strains of TB will develop.

Richard Garfein, PhD, MPH, an infectious disease epidemiologist, is professor of medicine in the Division of Global Public Health. The inspiration for the VDOT program came to him as he watched his children use smartphones to send videos to their friends.

Dr. Kevin Patrick

Dr. Kevin Patrick

Kevin Patrick, MD, MS, is director of the Center for Wireless and Population Health Systems at the Qualcomm Institute (the San Diego division of Calit2) and professor of family and preventive medicine in the Division of Preventive Medicine.

In their NIH-funded pilot study in San Diego and Tijuana in 2011-2012, Garfein and Patrick demonstrated that the VDOT program was an effective tool for ensuring that patients adhered to their treatment regimens.

They also showed that VDOT could reduce costs for the local public health agency; in the pilot study, the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency. The agency’s only previous option had been to send health workers to patients’ homes to watch them take their medications.

Garfein and Patrick reported their results in an mHealth Summit Meeting abstract published in the Journal of Mobile Technology in Medicine.

Now, Garfein and colleagues are working on implementing the program on a larger scale through a public/private partnership with the Verizon Foundation, which provides funding and in-kind assistance.

The Garfein-Patrick team included other faculty and staff of the Global Public Health division and a number of specialists from the Qualcomm Institute.

Steffanie Strathdee, PhD

Dr. Steffanie Strathdee. Image ©International AIDS Society/Marcus Rose/Workers’ Photos. Used with permission.

“Congratulations to them both, and to Ramesh Rao and their team from the Qualcomm Institute, for this fantastic achievement and excellent teamwork,” said Steffanie Strathdee, PhD, Harold Simon Professor, Associate Dean of Global Health Sciences and chief of the Division of Global Public Health.

Ramesh Rao, PhD, director of the San Diego division of the Qualcomm Institute, holds the QUALCOMM Endowed Chair in Telecommunications and Information Technology. He is professor of electrical and computer engineering in the Jacobs School of Engineering at UC San Diego.

Said Garfein, “Working with Kevin and collaborating with the expert programmers at the Qualcomm Institute has been one of the highlights of my academic career.

“Although they are not included in the article because of the magazine’s information technology focus, we wouldn’t have been as successful if it weren’t for all the hard work by Jazmine Cuevas-Mota, Kelly Collins, and Fatima Muñoz in the Division of Global Public Health, and the dedicated employees of the San Diego County TB Control Program led by Dr. Kathleen Moser,” he said.

In the Division of Global Public Health, Cuevas-Mota is a project coordinator for Garfein, Collins is an assistant project coordinator and Muñoz is a postdoctoral fellow on the project.

“This has been a terrific project and it’s been a true pleasure to work with Richard and his team on it,” said Patrick.

“With a bit of luck, this could have world-wide impact on the health of the public. When all is said and done, this is why we are in this game.”

“This is very exciting and well deserved,” said Susan Taylor, PhD, UC San Diego professor of chemistry and biochemistry and pharmacology. She is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator in biophysics and structural biology.

“It has been so much fun for me to watch these amazing things unfold and to realize how much we can achieve by working together and building bridges across the boundaries of our campus. This is much of what makes UCSD so special.

UC San Diego Health Sciences Video: VDOT Technology Eases Monitoring for Patients with Tuberculosis

More Information:

Joachim H. Ix Named Chief of Nephrology-Hypertension

January 2, 2014

Announcement from Wolfgang H. Dillmann, MD
Helen M. Ranney Distinguished Professor and Chair

Dr. Joachim Ix

Dr. Joachim Ix

I am very pleased to announce that Dr. Joachim H. Ix, who has served as interim chief of the Division of Nephrology-Hypertension since Dr. Roland Blantz retired in 2012, has been selected as the new chief of the division. His new appointment was effective December 17, 2013.

Dr. Ix has managed the division with effectiveness and wisdom during his year as interim chief, balancing and advancing its activities during a time that has brought particularly difficult fiscal and managerial challenges to all of us. I am confident that the Division of Nephrology-Hypertension will continue to grow in clinical and academic stature with his leadership.

Joachim H. Ix, MD, MAS, is professor of medicine and professor of family and preventive medicine at UC San Diego. He is active as a clinical specialist in the diagnosis and management of kidney disease patients at both UC San Diego Health System and the Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System (VASDHS). He directed the VASDHS chronic kidney disease clinic in 2008-2009 and subsequently the VASDHS Dialysis Unit from 2009-2013.

A creative and productive clinical trialist and epidemiologist, Dr. Ix investigates the contributions of altered calcium and phosphorus homeostasis to cardiovascular disease in patients with kidney disease. He has more than 140 published articles in peer-reviewed journals. His active National Institutes of Health funded studies include a 5-year U01 cooperative project, begun in September of this year, in which he will conduct a phase 2 clinical trial to test the efficacy of nicotinamide (vitamin B3) on phosphorus homeostasis and other components of mineral metabolism in CKD patients. He is also PI of a recently funded R01 award evaluating the contributions of kidney tubule dysfunction and injury to progression of kidney disease and cardiovascular disease, and was recently funded as PI of an American Heart Association Established Investigator Award.

He was elected a fellow of the American Society of Nephrology in 2010 and is associate editor of the American Journal of Kidney Diseases, a standing member of the NIH Study Section on Kidney Nutrition Obesity and Diabetes (KNOD) and a member of the SPRINT Trial Chronic Kidney Disease Advisory Group.

Dr. Ix is a dedicated teacher and mentor and an active contributor to his division’s instructional efforts at all levels, including the nephrology fellowship program and the School of Medicine curriculum. In 2010, he received the Excellence in Teaching Award in recognition for outstanding teaching contributions in the third-year Medicine Core Clerkship course.

Dr. Ix earned his Bachelor of Science degree at UC San Diego and his medical degree at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. He received his specialty training, nephrology fellowship training, and MAS in biostatistics and epidemiology at UC San Francisco. He joined the UC San Diego faculty in 2007.

Blacks Have Less Access to Cancer Specialists, Treatment

UC San Diego Study Suggests Racial Inequality Leads to Higher Mortality

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine say metastatic colorectal cancer patients of African-American descent are less likely to be seen by cancer specialists or receive cancer treatments. This difference in treatment explains a large part of the 15 percent higher mortality experienced by African-American patients than non-Hispanic white patients. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego News Center


Department of Medicine co-investigators on the project are Samir Gupta, MD, MSCS, associate professor of clinical medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology; Gregory Heestand, MD, Health Sciences assistant clinical professor in the Division of Hematology-Oncology and Paul Fanta, MD, MS, Health Sciences associate clinical professor in the Division of Hematology-Oncology.

Samir Gupta, MD, MSCS  Gregory Heestand, MD  Paul Fanta, MD, MS
Above, from left: Drs. Samir Gupta, Gregory Heestand, and Paul Fanta

Citation for the study report in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute:

Daniel R. Simpson, María Elena Martínez, Samir Gupta, Jona Hattangadi-Gluth, Loren K. Mell, Gregory Heestand, Paul Fanta, Sonia Ramamoorthy, Quynh-Thu Le, and James D. Murphy. Racial Disparity in Consultation, Treatment, and the Impact on Survival in Metastatic Colorectal Cancer JNCI J Natl Cancer Inst first published online November 14, 2013 doi:10.1093/jnci/djt318  |  Full text (UCSD only)

Dr. Rohit Loomba on Fatty Liver Disease: HHMI Bulletin

Dr. Rohit LoombaDr. Rohit Loomba, a UCSD hepatologist who specializes in fatty liver disease, is interviewed in an article about the disease in the Fall 2012 health bulletin from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

In “The Fat You Can’t See,” Loomba describes the rising incidence of fatty liver disease and points to society’s general increase in dietary sugar intake as a major cause. He emphasizes the importance of identifying individuals who are at highest risk for developing the disease and he predicts there will be a dramatic increase in our understanding of the disease in the next five years.

Rohit Loomba, MD, MHSc, is assistant professor of clinical medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology. He also holds an appointment in the Division of Epidemiology in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine.

Loomba conducts his clinical practice in UC San Diego Health System’s liver disease clinics. In his research laboratory, he conducts a variety of studies of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), including a number of clinical trials.

With a four-year mentored patient-oriented research career development grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), Loomba is investigating the genetic epidemiology of NAFLD in a twin-pair study. In that work, his mentors are UCSD researchers Daniel T. O’Connor, MD, professor of medicine and pharmacology; Elizabeth Barrett-Connor, MD, distinguished professor and chief of the Division of Epidemiology in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine; and David Brenner, MD, Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences and Dean of the School of Medicine.

Loomba serves as the UCSD site principal investigator for the Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis Clinical Research Network (NASH-CRN) studies in adult patients with NAFLD. NASH-CRN, an NIDDK-sponsored research consortium funded via a UO1 research program-cooperative agreement mechanism, aims to improve understanding of the natural history, pathophysiology and management of NAFLD.

In addition, he is the founding director and principal investigator of the San Diego Integrated NAFLD Research Consortium (SINC), which includes four centers: UCSD, Kaiser Permanente Health System, Sharp Health System, and Balboa Naval Medical Center. SINC is a collaborative network that allows community-based patients to participate in NAFLD studies conducted at UCSD.

Loomba has established a major NAFLD research program at UCSD with recently published investigator-initiated treatment studies in NASH (Le et al., Hepatology September 2012) and several in progress.

In various NAFLD translational research studies currently ongoing at UCSD, Loomba collaborates with Drs. Jerrold Olefsky, David Brenner, Claude Sirlin, Bernd Schnabl, Lars Eckmann, Edward Dennis, Ariel Feldstein and Ekihiro Seki.

He also directs the UCSD fellowship training program in liver epidemiology and patient-oriented outcomes research.

More Information:

Study Finds Potential New Drug Therapy for Crohn’s Disease

Ustekinumab Induces, Sustains Clinical Response in Patients

Ustekinumab, an antibody proven to treat the skin condition psoriasis, has now shown positive results in decreasing the debilitating effects of Crohn’s Disease, according to researchers at the University of California San Diego, School of Medicine. The study will appear in the October 18, 2012 issue of the New England Journal of MedicineRead the full story from the UCSD Newsroom


Dr. William J. SandbornThe principal investigator of the study is Dr. William J. Sandborn, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Gastroenterology at UCSD.  |  Read his academic profile  |  Read his clinical profile

Read the report of the study in the New England Journal of Medicine (full text UCSD only)

Citation of study report:  Sandborn WJ, Gasink C, Gao L-L, Blank MA, Johanns J, Guzzo C, Sands BE, Hanauer SB, Targan S, Rutgeerts P,  Ghosh S, de Villiers WJS, Panaccione R, Greenberg G, Schreiber S, Lichtiger S, Feagan BG for the CERTIFI Study Group. N Engl J Med 2012; 367:1519-1528 October 18, 2012 DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1203572

New Global Medicine Program at Work in Mozambique

UCSD internal medicine resident Seth Goldman, M.D., with Dr. Sam Patel of UEM on the wards at Maputo Central Hospital.

UCSD internal medicine resident Seth Goldman, M.D., with Dr. Sam Patel of UEM on the wards at Maputo Central Hospital. Photo by Mike Preziosi, MD.

At Maputo Central Hospital in Mozambique, the patients suffer from diseases that a doctor might never see in the U.S.: malaria, cholera, or drug resistant tuberculosis, for example. Important research takes place despite limited resources. Internal medicine residents divide their time between their clinical duties and the moonlighting jobs that finance their medical education.

Beginning this month, UCSD internal medicine doctors are working side by side with their counterparts in Maputo. The new Global Medicine elective rotation in the UCSD Internal Medicine Residency Training Program is underway.

It’s a bilateral exchange of faculty and residents between UCSD and the Universidade Eduardo Mondlane (UEM) School of Medicine in Maputo. The purpose is to enrich the training programs and the research efforts at both institutions.

Dr. Seth Goldman, a third-year resident in internal medicine, is the first UCSD trainee to take part. He’ll spend almost 4 weeks in Maputo, departing as the next resident arrives from UCSD to take his place.

Dr. Preziosi with Mozambican residents

Global Medicine Program Clinical Director Mike Preziosi, MD (center), with Mozambican internal medicine residents Lucia Chambal (left) and Manuel Tomas (right).

Supervising the residents in Maputo is Michael Preziosi, MD, who graduated from the Internal Medicine Residency Program in June. He’ll spend a full year in Maputo as Assistant Professor of Medicine, and clinical director for the UCSD residents.

“Our research and education presence in Maputo will equip us to prepare our next generation of internal medicine specialists and researchers,” says Ken Kaushansky, MD, MACP, Helen M. Ranney Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Medicine. Dr. Kaushansky directs the Global Medicine program for UCSD.

Drs. Marisa Magaña and Emilia Noormahomed

Dr. Marisa Magaña, former UCSD internal medicine resident, with Dr. Emilia Noormahomed of UEM.

UCSD’s Global Medicine faculty leaders include Robert (Chip) Schooley, MD, Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, and colleague Professor Constance Benson, MD, who directs the Fellowship Training Program in Infectious Diseases.

This is an exciting opportunity for UCSD and for UEM,” says Dr. Schooley.

He and Dr. Benson have collaborated with researchers in Mozambique and other African nations since the mid-1990s.

It was their interest in doing research work with Dr. Emilia Noormahomed that brought UEM to the foreground when the UCSD Department of Medicine began its search for potential Global Medicine rotation sites.

Emilia Noormahomed, MD, PhD, a gifted parasitology researcher, is a former dean of the UEM School of Medicine.

She and Sam Patel, MD, Professor of Medicine and, until recently, Chair of the Department of Medicine, are UEM’s participating faculty who have worked closely with Dr. Kaushansky to design this unique partnership.

Both have accepted faculty appointments in UCSD’s Department of Medicine.


“Our long-term goal is to play a critical role in developing sustainable local capacity to lead programs in HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria in southeast Africa.”
— Dr. Schooley


City of Maputo

The city of Maputo is a major port on the Indian Ocean.
Photo by Robert Schooley, MD.

For UCSD, the Global Medicine program reflects the Department of Medicine’s commitment to enlarge its efforts in the field of global medicine. The new elective will broaden the program offered to internal medicine residency trainees.

“Our faculty, residents, and fellows will have the opportunity to see diseases such as TB and malaria that we see much less often here in the U.S.,” Dr. Schooley says, “and actually to take part in revitalizing postgraduate medical education in Moçambique.”

A generation after a civil war that drove all but a few doctors from the country, the government of Moçambique is striving to build a sustainable healthcare system that can meet the nation’s urgent need for physicians and medical leaders.

Children in cane village outside Maputo.

Children in cane village outside Maputo. Photo by Kenneth Kaushansky, MD.

UCSD’s involvement at UEM is part of this effort, as is funding for the UEM departments of parasitology and medicine by the Gilead Foundation, a nonprofit organization of the pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences, LLC.

The Gilead Foundation contributed along with the UCSD Center for AIDS Research to the refurbishing of Dr. Noormahomed’s laboratory at UEM. It’s also a key sponsor of the UCSD Global Medicine rotation.

It’s hoped that additional philanthropic gifts from other sources will continue to support the Global Medicine exchange and other collaborative projects between UCSD and UEM.

UCSD’s presence at UEM will nourish medical research programs and promote the use of evidence-based medicine and epidemiological methods in patient care.

Maputo Central Hospital

Maputo Central Hospital, the primary teaching hospital for UEM.
Photo by Mike Preziosi, MD.

During the early months of this inaugural year, Dr. Preziosi is focusing on establishing relationships, learning the language, and determining the needs of the UEM medical trainees and researchers.

“I’m really excited,” he says. “It’s clear to me how important my job is as a continuous presence in Maputo.”

He and his UCSD colleagues will work with UEM to establish a more academic day in the medical training program. They’ll also develop a number of research studies.

“We’ll work with their residents and investigators,” he says, “to do the projects that really matter.”

Dr. Preziosi hopes to have launched the first group of new research projects by the end of the year. In June 2010, he will return to UCSD to begin his fellowship training in infectious diseases.

Mozambique shown on map of Africa.

The republic of Mozambique.
Map from CIA: The World Factbook.

The Global Medicine elective rotation is open to second- and third-year residents. During the 2009-2010 academic year, over 20 UCSD internal medicine trainees will complete the Global Medicine rotation in Maputo.

Additional UCSD Department of Medicine faculty will rotate through Maputo for 3-4 week periods over the course of the year, working alongside their Mozambican colleagues to augment the Internal Medicine training program at Maputo Central Hospital. Dr. Randy Taplitz, Clinical Director of the Division of Infectious Diseases, will join Dr. Preziosi in early August.

Department of Medicine faculty rotating through Maputo live in an apartment, located several blocks from the medical school complex, with Dr. Preziosi and the UCSD residents.

Starting later this year, UEM residents will travel to UCSD to spend 2-3-month periods in research and clinical work here.

“Our long-term goal,” says Dr. Schooley, “is to play a critical role in developing sustainable local capacity to lead programs in HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria in southeast Africa.”


Join With Us

We’re building practical, sustainable programs here at home and in our partner nations.

Your gift in any amount will go directly to help train a doctor, continue a key research project, or equip a community with the knowledge it needs to fight the spread of a preventable disease.

For more information about philanthropy and the Department of Medicine’s international programs, please contact Dan Otto, Senior Executive Director of Development, at 858-246-1563.

Give Now

UCSD Faculty Volunteers Welcomed

UCSD Department of Medicine faculty volunteers of all specialties are welcome to participate in the Global Medicine program in Maputo.

To make your interests known or to find out more, please contact:

Jesus Vera
Global Medicine Program Coordinator
Telephone 619-543-2896
Email jevera@ucsd.edu

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