HIV Prevention in a Pill

UC San Diego researchers receive $5.6 million grant to test if they can keep high-risk individuals from becoming infected with virus that causes AIDS

Last year marked the 30th anniversary of the first clinical reports of AIDS, a then-mysterious and invariably fatal disease. Patients diagnosed with an HIV infection faced a looming death sentence. Most had just months to live…. Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom


AIDS ribbon
One of three UC campuses in the project, UC San Diego will receive $5.6 million over four years. The lead investigator for UC San Diego is Dr. Richard Haubrich, professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases and Antiviral Research Center.

More about the project:

U.S. News Again Ranks UC San Diego Among Nation’s Best Graduate Schools

Each year, graduate programs at the University of California, San Diego are highly ranked by U.S. News & World Report, as noted in the 2013 edition of America’s Best Graduate Schools, released today…. Read the story from the UCSD Newsroom.

UCSD School of Medicine campus in La Jolla
In the rankings just released, the UCSD School of Medicine tied with Weill Cornell Medical College for 16th in research and ranked 27th in primary care. The School of Medicine maintained its ranking as #8 in the nation for AIDS programs.

In the HIV/AIDS specialty, the Department of Medicine offers research and clinical training via the teaching activities of the Division of General Internal Medicine and Division of Infectious Diseases. The two divisions operate a variety of clinical and research entities including the Owen Clinic, the Antiviral Research Center, the AIDS Research Institute and the Center for AIDS Research.  |  See details of the UCSD School of Medicine rankings in U.S.News & World Report

High Rankings for Internal Medicine Subspecialties in “Best Hospitals 2011-2012”

UC San Diego Medical CenterFour internal medicine specialties received top-50 rankings for UC San Diego Health System in the new “Best Hospitals 2011-2012” from U.S.News & World Report:

* Pulmonology (#16)
* Diabetes and Endocrinology (#25)
* Nephrology (#34)
* Cancer (#47)

Four other internal medicine specialties were high performers, scoring in the top 25 percent of those surveyed: cardiology and heart surgery, gastroenterology, geriatrics and rheumatology.

“Year by year, the Department of Medicine increases in clinical strength and breadth, and I am happy to see this strong representation in the rankings,” said Dr. Wolfgang Dillmann, Professor and Interim Chair of the department.

Dr. Wolfgang Dillmann “It is a testament to the hard work and dedication of all our clinicians, from the clinical service chiefs to the house staff, and the administrative structure that supports them.”

U.S. News evaluated the specialties on a number of points, including the availability of advanced patient care technologies and important patient services. All eight of the ranked and high-performing internal medicine specialties had high or perfect scores in those domains.

“This is one of the strengths of an academic medical center,” said Dillmann. “We offer our patients the latest developments, not only in new tools for diagnosis and therapy but also in approaches to care.”

U.S. News included 16 specialties in the rankings. Not included was HIV/AIDS care, which is ranked in a separate survey. In this year’s rankings, released in March, the HIV/AIDS program (Division of Infectious Diseases and Owen Clinic) is eighth in the nation.

U.S. News determines the “Best Hospitals 2011-2012” rankings from objective and subjective factors that vary by specialty. The factors include reputation among specialists, patient survival and safety, and care-related indicators such as nurse staffing and availability of advanced technologies.

More about the methodology >>

UC San Diego Health System also ranked in orthopedics and psychiatry and was high performing in otolaryngology, gynecology, neurology/ neurosurgery, and urology.

Read the UCSD press release >>

With a total of six top-50 specialties and eight high-performing specialties, UC San Diego Health System placed in the top 3 percent of over 4800 hospitals evaluated.

Two medical centers in the University of California system made the U.S. News “Honor Roll,” which lists the hospitals with high scores in at least 6 specialties. Among the 17 hospitals that qualified, Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles is #5 and UC San Francisco Medical Center is #7.

Dr. Philip Lederer Receives the 2011 Lee Rickman Humanism in Medicine Award

Dr. Philip LedererPhilip Lederer, MD, senior resident in the UC San Diego Internal Medicine Residency Program, received the 2011 Lee Rickman Humanism in Medicine award at Medicine Grand Rounds on June 8.

The award is given each year to the resident who most embodies the energy and devotion of Lee Rickman, MD, a UC San Diego residency program graduate and Department of Medicine faculty member who practiced infectious disease medicine with singular passion until his death in 2003.

“Phil has that same passion,” said Elaine Muchmore, MD, residency program director, in presenting the award. “It’s with pride and enthusiasm that I introduce him as this year’s Rickman award winner.”

When Dr. Lederer graduates from the program later this month, he will join the faculty as Health Sciences Assistant Professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases and Clinical Director of the UC San Diego Department of Medicine’s Maputo Central Hospital Educational Collaboration.

Living in Maputo, Mozambique, he will be the on-site UC San Diego faculty attending for residents on global medicine elective rotation.

He will play a major role in the Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI), which unites UC San Diego and the Universidade Eduardo Mondlane (UEM) in an effort to build sustainable, local capacity for educating doctors in Mozambique and southeast Africa.

In accepting the Rickman award, Dr. Lederer reflected on the 30th anniversary of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Thirty-five million people have died of AIDS, he said, and 75 million have been infected since the epidemic began, primarily in sub-Saharan Africa.

Africa carries 24% of the world’s disease burden but has only 3% of the world’s trained medical professionals, he said.

As clinical director in Mozambique, he will direct both UC San Diego and UEM residents in their training. He will also play myriad roles in the process of strengthening the UEM training program and developing research collaborations on topics of greatest concern to Mozambique.

He concluded his remarks by introducing Drs. Clotilde Nhatave Paiva and Ermenia Miguel Muthambe, internal medicine residents from the UEM training program in Maputo who are currently on rotation here at UC San Diego.

“They are the future,” Dr. Lederer said.

About Dr. Lederer

Dr. Lederer received his MD degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. He has sought out opportunities for service in health and social justice since 2003, when he served as a full-time diabetes educator in a community health center after he graduated from Brown University.

In 2005, he co-founded the Guatemala Health Initiative to bring together University of Pennsylvania students and Guatemalan communities in efforts to improve public health, focusing on the Tz’utujil Maya town of Santiago Atitlán.

During his residency, Dr. Lederer has completed both the global medicine rotation in Mozambique and the Global Health in Local Populations rotation in San Diego.

He is currently conducting research studies in HPV and conjunctival cancer, rapid diagnostics for tuberculosis, and bacteremia in Mozambique.
About Dr. Rickman

Leland Rickman, MD, was a UC San Diego infectious disease specialist who graduated from the Internal Medicine Residency Program here in 1983. He completed his fellowship training in infectious diseases at the Naval Medical Center San Diego and served in naval hospitals until he returned to UC San Diego to join the Department of Medicine faculty in 1990.

Dr. Muchmore met Dr. Rickman at that time.

“I was struck by his passion for teaching and for clinical care and his meticulous attention to details,” she said. “He was a font of knowledge.”

Dr. Rickman was appointed Hospital Epidemiologist and Medical Director of the Epidemiology Unit in 1993.

“He dedicated himself to being the infection control physician for the hospital,” Dr. Muchmore said. “He bird-dogged things in a way that was truly awe inspiring.”

He received more UC San Diego teaching awards than anyone in the Department of Medicine, Dr. Muchmore said. The San Diego County Medical Society’s Physician Citizen of the Year award in 2003 was one of many acknowledgments of his service to the community.

Dr. Rickman died in June 2003 while traveling in Lesotho, Africa, to train local medical personnel in AIDS treatment and prevention. In that effort, he was working with Dr. Wm. Christopher Mathews, UC San Diego Professor of Clinical Medicine and Director of the Owen Clinic.

“His loss was not only to those of us at UCSD but to the world,” said Dr. Kenneth Kaushansky, Helen M. Ranney Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Medicine at the time.

Dr. Kaushansky and the residency program faculty established the Rickman award in his honor in 2003.

Owen Clinic Director Is a Diversity Champion

A UCSD pioneer in HIV/AIDS patient care and research, Owen Clinic Director Dr. William Christopher Mathews, has been named a Diversity Champion for 2007.

The UCSD Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action and Diversity Awards program recognizes Diversity Champions each year for outstanding contributions to equal opportunity, affirmative action, and diversity.

Dr. Mathews is Professor of Clinical Medicine and Director of the Owen Clinic, an internationally-recognized center for HIV patient care and education. He has been a key figure in patient care efforts at the Owen Clinic since its inception.

For many years, Dr. Mathews has worked to resolve legal, political, and medical issues in HIV care on the local level, in California, and nationally.

Dr. Mathews and other awardees will be honored February 14 at a ceremony and reception with Chancellor Marye Anne Fox at the Price Center at UCSD.

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UCSD Offering Early Test That Can Detect HIV One Week After Exposure

UCSD is now offering free, confidential testing that can detect HIV in the very early stages of infection.

The “Early Test” reveals an infection with HIV, the retrovirus that can lead to AIDS, as early as one week after exposure.

This is significantly earlier than standard HIV tests, which check for blood antibodies that may not be detectable for up to three months after an individual becomes infected.

HIV is highly infectious in the early stages, according to Dr. Susan Little, UCSD Associate Professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases.

Both for that reason and because treatment options differ depending on the stage of HIV infection, early detection is extremely important.

UCSD is collaborating with the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency to offer the Early Test at several San Diego sites.

For more information about the Early Test, please call 877-323-5050 or visit the UCSD Early Test website.

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