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David Geffen School of Medicine

Chairs of Distinction: UCLA Neurologists Named as Wilstein Chairs

  UCLA Neurologists  
  UCLA Neurologists  
  UCLA Neurologists  

Top: David and Susan Wilstein. Photo: Courtesy of the Wilsteins Middle: Dr. David Alexander, Susan and David Wilstein Chair in Rehabilitation Medicine. Photo: UCLA Photography. Bottom: Dr. Bruce Dobkin, Susan and David Wilstein Chair in Medicine. Photo: UCLA Photography.

In 2013, longtime UCLA friends Susan and David Wilstein contributed the first gift to benefit the new California Rehabilitation Institute — now open and located on the site of the former Century City Hospital. At the time, David Wilstein, a partner in the company that owns the building, said, “This property will be used to introduce some of the nation’s best medical-rehabilitation programs, right in our backyard.”

The Wilsteins’ commitment to neurologic rehabilitation expanded to include the endowment of two chairs to support teaching, research and clinical activities in rehabilitation medicine. Now, UCLA neuro-rehabilitation faculty members Drs. Bruce Dobkin (RES ’77) and David Alexander have been named the Susan and David Wilstein Chair in Medicine and the Susan and David Wilstein Chair in Rehabilitation Medicine, respectively.

Dr. Dobkin, founder and director of the UCLA Neurological Rehabilitation and Research Program, professor of neurology in the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and co-director of the UCLA Stroke Program, is one of the preeminent specialists in the field of neuro-rehabilitation. He recently collaborated with the UCLA engineering faculty to develop wearable sensors to remotely monitor the quality of arm and walking/cycling activities of patients following stroke. At the California Rehabilitation Institute, he continues his translational work to test pharmacologic interventions that may enhance skills learning during motor and cognitive practice, as well as the application of cellular interventions to augment recovery in highly impaired persons.

“I look forward to using the funding provided by the generosity of the Wilsteins to continue to train outstanding researchers and clinicians and to fund outside-the-box pilot studies in an ongoing effort to improve outcomes for those who are disabled by devastating brain and spinal cord diseases,” Dr. Dobkin said.

Dr. Alexander is a professor in the Department of Neurology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and served as the medical director for UCLA’s Neurological Rehabilitation and Research Unit from 2008 until 2016, when he transitioned to become the medical director of the California Rehabilitation Institute. In this role, he formulates and implements policies for the treatment of patients, as well as for the hospital’s quality-assurance and risk-management programs.

He also is engaged in the development of national performance measures for hospitals and physicians, with the goal of reducing the gap between evidence-based practice and actual practice. Dr. Alexander co-authored one of the first data-based analyses of scientific evidence, “Post-Stroke Clinical Practice Guideline,” which ushered in the modern era of evidence-based medicine, and has authored multiple national clinical-practice guidelines on stroke and stroke rehabilitation. “It is an honor to receive the Susan and David Wilstein Chair in Rehabilitation Medicine, which will enhance the vital work we are doing at the institute,” he said.

For more information, contact Pamela Thompson at: (310) 267-1837


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