Preventing Drug-Abuse-Related HIV in Tijuana by Educating Police

Dr. Steffanie Strathdee

Dr. Steffanie Strathdee

The NIH Record recently highlighted Dr. Steffanie Strathdee, Dr. Leo Beletsky, and their binational team for their efforts to prevent drug abuse-related HIV in Tijuana, Mexico, by changing the knowledge, attitudes and behaviors of the Tijuana police.

With support from the Open Society Institute and the UC San Diego Center for AIDS Research, the pilot phase of the project taught Tijuana police instructors how to prevent needle stick injuries by proper syringe handling, which advises them against breaking needles they apprehend from drug users. The training program is now being adopted by Tijuana’s police academy, whereby the police trainers will be teaching the program to their colleagues.

“We believe this program is the best way to reduce needle sharing among people who inject drugs, which is driven by policing practices,” Strathdee said.

The program will soon be tested in a newly funded grant by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Proyecto ESCUDO (Project Shield): Harmonizing Law Enforcement and HIV Prevention through a Police Education Program.

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

Strathdee co-leads Proyecto ESCUDO with Leo Beletsky, JD, MPH, adjunct assistant professor in the Division of Global Public Health at UC San Diego and assistant professor of law and health sciences at the Northeastern University School of Law.

Clinical Trial To Test Safety of Stem Cell-Derived Therapy for Type 1 Diabetes

UC San Diego is initial site for first-in-human testing of implanted cell therapy

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, in partnership with ViaCyte, Inc., a San Diego-based biotechnology firm specializing in regenerative medicine, have launched the first-ever human Phase I/II clinical trial of a stem cell-derived therapy for patients with Type 1 diabetes. … Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom


Principal investigator in the study is Robert R. Henry, MD, professor of medicine in the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism at UC San Diego and chief of the Section of Endocrinology, Metabolism & Diabetes at the Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System.

No Sons Linked to Lower Contraception Use in Nepal

While poverty and under-education continue to dampen contraception use in Nepal, exacerbating the country’s efforts to reduce maternal and child mortality rates, researchers say another, more surprising factor may be more intractable: Deeply held cultural preferences for sons over daughters. … Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom


Dr. Anita RajFirst author Anita Raj, PhD, is a professor of medicine in the Division of Global Public Health and a Senior Fellow in the UC San Diego Center on Global Justice.

She focuses her global public health research on sexual and reproductive health, gender-based violence and substance misuse and abuse.

Funds from the Lucile and David Packard Foundation’s Population and Reproductive Health program support Dr. Raj’s study, Assessment of Girl Child Marriage and Adolescent Motherhood and Its Public Health Impact in South Asia.

The coauthors of the Nepal study report are three Division of Global Public Health colleagues: medical student Rohan J. Vilms, postdoctoral researcher Lotus McDougal and professor Jay G. Silverman, PhD.

Raj and Silverman are faculty members and Lotus McDougal is a graduate of the Global Health track of the UC San Diego – San Diego State University Joint Doctoral Program in Public Health.

Vilms is a second-year medical student who had the opportunity to take part in the Nepal study via a summer internship supported by UC San Diego’s National Institutes of Health Short-Term Research Training Grant for medical students.

His undergraduate degree is from the Global Health and Development track of the Human Biology program at Stanford University.

Rohan J. Vilms

Medical student Rohan J. Vilms

Vilms was born in the United States and spent his childhood years from age 3 to age 12 in India. Living in the two nations shaped his perceptions of disparities in standard of living and health outcomes because of social circumstances, he said.

He has particular concern for reproductive health.

“I think working for reproductive health is extremely important,” he said. “The standard of what we can do is not what we are doing. There are preventable deaths — infant and maternal mortality. That these still occur is a travesty.”

The Nepal project also attracted him because it gave him a chance to work with data from the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS), a respected source of information from United States-conducted fieldwork around the world. The DHS database includes reproductive health information.

In working with the DHS data, he said, postdoctoral researcher Lotus McDougal gave him invaluable coaching and expert help.

Vilms makes the most of every opportunity to work and study in global public health. “I have had a lot of mentors,” he said. “I’m learning a lot.”

He has taken Dr. Richard Garfein’s San Quintin Field Course (FPM 244/MED248) three times, the maximum possible in the first two years of medical school.

Dr. Richard Garfein

Dr. Richard Garfein, professor in the Division of Global Public Health.

The San Quintin Field Course is associated with project VIIDAI: Viaje Interinstitucional de Integracion, Docente, Asistencia y de Investigacion (Retreat for Educational Integration, Assistance and Investigation), first conducted by Tijuana’s Universidad Autonoma de Baja California School of Medicine in 1981.

UCSD’s San Quintin Field Course is a School of Medicine elective built around VIIDAI’s academic and research field trips to rural regions in Baja California and Sonora. Students have the opportunity for hands-on clinical experience as well as public health research and practice. The course includes a required 3-day trip to the town of San Quintin on the west coast of Baja California.

Vilms hopes to arrange a global public health research year between his third and fourth years of medical school. Beyond that, his aspiration is to work in a setting where he can make a difference in health and in social justice.

In February, he presented data from the Nepal study as lead author of a poster presentation at the multidisciplinary Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH) annual meeting in Washington, DC.

He said he couldn’t speak highly enough about the Global Public Health division faculty members and graduate students he has worked with.

Of Vilms and his contributions, Anita Raj said, “He worked incredibly hard and did a terrific job.”

More About Dr. Raj and Her Work

Earlier this month, Raj and Ulrike Boehmer, PhD, of the Boston University School of Public Health reported that rates of maternal and infant mortality are significantly higher in nations in which it is common for girls to be married before the age of 18.  |  Read the UCSD press release

At UC San Diego’s International Women’s Day event March 8, 2013, Raj spoke on “The Movement to End Rape Post-Delhi – Public Health Perspectives and Solutions.”

She was an online panelist on Public Radio International’s program The World February 25. The topic: whether there is a global movement for women’s safety in the wake of the Delhi rape protests.  |  Watch the video

In May 2012, Raj and her colleagues published a report in the Journal of the American Medical Association on the results of two decades of efforts to eliminate the practice of girl-child marriage in South Asia.  |  Read the UCSD press release  |  Read the report

Anita Raj is also affiliated with the Section of General Internal Medicine, Clinical Addiction Research and Education in the Department of Medicine at Boston University School of Medicine/Boston Medical Center.

Citation for the Nepal study report:  Anita Raj, Rohan J. Vilms, Lotus McDougal, Jay G. Silverman. Association between having no sons and using no contraception among a nationally representative sample of young wives in Nepal. International journal of gynaecology and obstetrics: the official organ of the International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics – May 2013 (Vol. 121, Issue 2, Pages 162-165, DOI: 10.1016/j.ijgo.2012.12.011)  |  Read article abstract

Four Common Antipsychotic Drugs Found to Lack Safety and Effectiveness in Older Adults

In older adults, antipsychotic drugs are commonly prescribed off-label for a number of disorders outside of their Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved indications – schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. The largest number of antipsychotic prescriptions in older adults is for behavioral disturbances associated with dementia, some of which carry FDA warnings on prescription information for these drugs.

In a new study – led by researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, Stanford University and the University of Iowa, and funded by the National Institute of Mental Health – four of the antipsychotics most commonly prescribed off label for use in patients over 40 were found to lack both safety and effectiveness. … Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom


Department of Medicine endocrinology and metabolism researchers Robert R. Henry, MD, and Sunder Mudaliar, MD, are coinvestigators in the study of the antipsychotic drugs.Dr. Robert R. Henry

Robert R. Henry, MD, is professor of medicine in the Division of Endocrinology & Metabolism at UC San Diego. At the Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System (VASDHS), he is Chief of the Section of Endocrinology, Metabolism & Diabetes and Director of the Center for Metabolic Research.

Sunder Mudaliar, MD, is health sciences clinical professor in the Division of Endocrinology & Metabolism at UCSD. He is extensively involved in medical teaching and clinical care at the VASDHS. As an investigator in the Center for Metabolic Research, he performs clinical research focused on the prevention and treatment of diabetes.

More information:

Citation for the study report: Jin H, Shih PB,Golshan S, Mudaliar S, Henry R, Glorioso DK, Arndt S, Kraemer HC, Jeste DV. Comparison of Longer-Term Safety and Effectiveness of 4 Atypical Antipsychotics in Patients Over Age 40: A Trial Using Equipoise-Stratified Randomization. E-pub ahead of print, November 27, 2012, The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

UC San Diego Health System Awarded “A”s for Patient Safety

UC San Diego Health System was honored with two separate “A” Hospital Safety Scores by The Leapfrog Group, an independent national nonprofit run by employers and other large purchasers of health benefits. The A scores were awarded in the latest update to the Hospital Safety Score℠, the A, B, C, D or F scores assigned to US hospitals based on preventable medical errors, injuries accidents, and infections. … Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom

Study Identifies Potential New Class of Drug for Treating Ulcerative Colitis

Oral Drug Shows Clinical Response and Remission in Some Patients

An investigational drug currently under FDA review for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis has now shown positive results in patients with moderate-to-severe ulcerative colitis, according to researchers at the University of California San Diego, School of Medicine. The study will appear in the August 16, 2012 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). … Read 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 abstract of the study report in the New England Journal of Medicine

Citation of study report:  Sandborn WJ, Ghosh S, Panes J, Vranic I, Su C, Rousell S, Niezychowski W; Study A3921063 Investigators. Tofacitinib, an oral Janus kinase inhibitor, in active ulcerative colitis. N Engl J Med. 2012 Aug 16;367(7):616-24.

UC San Diego Health System Awarded “A” for Patient Safety by The Leapfrog Group

UC San Diego Health System Medical Center in Hillcrest

On June 6, 2012, UC San Diego Health System was honored with an “A” Hospital Safety ScoreSM by The Leapfrog Group, an independent national nonprofit run by employers and other large purchasers of health benefits. U.S. hospitals were assigned an A, B, C, D, or F based on safety performance. … Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom

Visit the Hospital Safety ScoreSM website

UC San Diego Medical Center Named One of the Nation’s 100 Top Hospitals by Thomson Reuters

UC San Diego Medical Center, located in Hillcrest, has been named one of the nation’s 100 Top Hospitals® by Thomson Reuters. Ranked among the country’s major teaching hospitals, the Medical Center was also one of twelve hospitals to receive the Everest Award. This award honors hospitals that have achieved both the highest current performance and the fastest long-term improvement over a five-year period in Reuter’s national benchmarking study…. Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom

UC San Diego Medical Center hospital in Hillcrest
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UCSD GI/Endoscopy Unit is One of the Nation’s Best

The GI/Endoscopy unit at UCSD is one of the top in the United States in rankings just released by the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE).The rankings are part of a new ASGE Endoscopy Unit Recognition Program, which promotes quality improvement and recognizes the centers that meet the highest standards for patient safety and quality of care.Honors went to 56 GI/endoscopy units in all.

The UCSD GI/Endoscopy unit is a clinical service of the Division of Gastroenterology under the direction of Thomas J. Savides, MD.

Dr. Savides is Gastroenterology Clinical Services Chief and Director of the Interventional Endoscopy Program at UCSD Medical Center.

The ASGE is a highly respected medical professional society in the field of gastrointestinal endoscopy. Its mission is to advance the practice of GI endoscopy through education and advocacy.

Read the full story from UC San Diego Health Sciences Communications

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Cancer Center Evaluating New Treatment for Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

Dr. Januario E. CastroMoores UCSD Cancer Center investigators have begun a clinical trial of a new treatment for chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

The study, a Phase I safety trial, is enrolling selected patients whose leukemia has resisted initial treatment or who have a particular chromosomal abnormality.

The study is headed by Dr. Januario E. Castro and employs a new leukemia vaccine that was developed from the work of Dr. Thomas J. Kipps.

Januario E. Castro, M.D., is Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Bone Marrow Transplantation.

Thomas J. Kipps, M.D., Ph.D., is Professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology-Oncology and Deputy Director for Research at the Moores UCSD Cancer Center.

Read the full story
from UC San Diego
Health Sciences Communications

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