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David Geffen School of Medicine

A New Era in Biomedical Education

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

Geffen Hall unlocks a gateway to the future of medical training and practice.

The opening of Geffen Hall, which we officially dedicated in the spring, marked an important milestone in the history of our school. No longer in-residence within the sprawling Center for the Health Sciences building, our education program now has, for the first time, its own state-of-the-art home that is focused exclusively on training the next generations of healthcare leaders.

The open, elegant design of Geffen Hall embodies our belief that medicine is deeply collaborative, and its learning spaces underscore the principle that learning to heal is, like healing itself, a thoroughly inclusive and social endeavor. With teaching labs, lecture auditorium and exam rooms that are easily adapted to different learning styles and new advances in teaching tools and curricula, Geffen Hall truly is a building to carry us into a new era.

Within this 110,000-square-foot environment, students will not be passive recipients of information. They will engage the material on a level that compels them to think deeply about the “how” and “why” of medicine, as well as the many critical questions that are raised during clinical practice or in the research setting. That level of engagement did not take place when I was in medical school. Then, medical school was about memorizing and repeating back what you had learned. This new paradigm opens the door to a very exciting academic experience for our students.

It also is important to recognize what a tremendous asset it is for us that the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA is embedded within, rather than separated from, a diverse university campus. This gives us opportunities to collaborate across every discipline. And it is notable that Geffen Hall has been located in a part of campus where all the Health Sciences schools — medicine, nursing, dentistry, public health — are in proximity to one another. This situates it as a cornerstone of a new wave of interdisciplinary education. After all, everything that we do — research, education, patient care, community service — is about teamwork. In that context, it makes sense that we engage our students throughout their training with all the essential aspects of healthcare.

I view the location of Geffen Hall as symbolic of our commitment to the community we serve. As a public gateway to the UCLA campus, Geffen Hall represents our goal to be outward looking and to establish greater connections with our neighborhood and our city. In addition, this embracing facility will be another magnet to attract the best and brightest students to UCLA. That effort already has been greatly enhanced by the generosity of David Geffen, whose name graces both this new building and our medical school. Through The David Geffen Medical Scholarships, which to date have provided four years of debt-free education to more than 130 of UCLA’s entering medical students, our school is able to give this incredibly high-caliber cadre of trainees the opportunity and space to carve out their own unique and impactful career paths.

Before I decided to pursue a career in medicine and science, I entertained the thought of becoming an architect. I wanted to build great, gleaming structures. Now, my goal is to continue the building of a great medical school. Geffen Hall is a vital component of that project. Winston Churchill famously said: “We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.” It is our fervent hope that Geffen Hall, as we look forward to a future there, will be the site of extraordinary accomplishment by our faculty and our students.

Signature, Dr. Mazziotta

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


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