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UCLA Health
David Geffen School of Medicine

Forward Thinking

John C. Mazziotta, MD, PhD
Photo: Ann Johansson

Changing our culture and making tough choices will be difficult, but it is essential as we prepare to meet the demands of the future.

With new leadership in place, UCLA Health and the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA have begun a formidable but important task: reassessing our vision, goals and strategies as we move into the future with our missions of clinical care, teaching, research and community engagement. Our goal is straightforward but ambitious: to be the role model for enabling an academic medical center to truly deliver patient-centered integrated care, leading-edge research and multidisciplinary teaching – all connected with our communities.

It has been six years since UCLA Health and the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA developed a strategic plan. Now, guided by the principles of integration, collaboration, effectiveness, efficiency and transparency, we are examining what we need to place us at the forefront of healthcare delivery and innovation. To be great, we have to be a unified, integrated operation, one that puts patients, students and faculty at the center of our efforts and operates as more than just a collection of departments and research units.

Placing patients at the center of our thinking requires an integration of our clinical operations. Rather than our current, often confusing matrixed system in which a patient must visit different settings to receive his or her care, we want to create an efficient and cost-effective care-delivery environment in which everything that a patient needs surrounds him or her. This has not been done in academic medicine; the first one to do it will be the role model for the rest of the country, perhaps for the world. I want UCLA to be that role model.

Achieving this goal requires us to come together in a way that values the whole more than its constituent parts. This will require a cultural change, which will be complex and difficult, but it will make us stronger and move us to a level that we can’t achieve in our current, siloed environment.

Our new Institute for Precision Health is an important example of how our research missions can integrate with this core focus on patient care. It brings together scientists from across the medical school and UCLA campus to collaborate to deliver therapies tailored to individual patients to combat their disease. We also wish to strengthen the medical school’s alliances with the other Health Sciences schools to give our students broader exposure to all facets of healthcare and build their capacity to meet higher standards for quality of care.

In administration, we need to address overlapping and redundant functions in such areas as finance, data, recruitment, retention, IT and leadership. This will lead to greater efficiency and effectiveness.

This refocusing on what is truly important brings us to transparency, which I believe is the fulcrum for all that we hope to achieve. We must be open about what we are trying to do and about the fact that we must make difficult choices. We must listen to the input of all our constituents and communities. It won’t be an easy exercise. Not only must we decide which things are most important, but we also must decide what is less important. That will be challenging. But as the famous Harvard Business School professor Michael Porter said, “The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.”

The process is just beginning. I am hopeful that within six months, we will have our plan developed, and we will start to execute on what we’ve put forward.

Stay tuned.

Signature, Dr. Mazziotta

John C. Mazziotta, MD (RES ’81, FEL ’83), PhD
Vice Chancellor, UCLA Health Sciences
CEO, UCLA Health


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