sutures newsletter

PRODUCED BY AND FOR MEMBERS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF SURGERY June 2015 | Archived Issues

P & T Committee Approvals, FDA Warning About Diabetes Drugs

Pharmacy Focus

See highlights of the April meeting of the Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee. Also, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has released a warning that the Type 2 diabetes medications canagliflozin, dapagliflozin and empagliflozin may lead to acidosis, including ketoacidosis.

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Mark Your Calendar


Surgery Grand Rounds

Click the "read more" to see information about upcoming Surgery Grand Rounds.

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Grand Rounds

Click here to view a schedule of all upcoming grand rounds.


Surgery Scheduling

Click the "read more" for hours and contact information for surgery scheduling.

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Leading Surgeon's Visit Enlightens Vascular Colleagues

A world-renowned vascular surgeon visited Cedars-Sinai on April 22 for a series of lectures and conferences. The Division of Vascular Surgery hosted Ronald Dalman, MD, the Walter Chidester Professor of Surgery and chief of the Division of Vascular Surgery at Stanford University, as the annual Sanford Rosenbaum Visiting Professor.

» Read more

Recognition for Berci, Miraflor, Murry

Physician News

George Berci, MD, has won the Jerome and Hazel Tobis Award from the Ethics Center at the University of California, Irvine. Emily Miraflor, MD, and Jason Murry, MD, have been named winners of the Excellence in Teaching With Humanism Residents and Fellows Award from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

» Read more

Critique of Fee-For-Service Medicine Wins Debate for Jain

More than 300 people filled Harvey Morse Auditorium on June 5 as Derek Serna-Gallegos, MD, and Monica Jain, MD, faced off in the 12th annual Dr. Leon Morgenstern Great Debates in Clinical Medicine Resident Competition. Jain, who answered the debate question of "Can Fee-for-Service Medicine Survive?" with a firm "no," was declared the winner.

» Read more

Congratulations to Leadership Program Graduates

Congratulations to the three Department of Surgery physicians who graduated in May from the Cedars-Sinai Medical Staff Leadership Development Program. Among the more than 20 graduates were Allen Ho, MD, Surgery/Otolaryngology, David Magner, MD, Surgery-Colorectal, and Stephen Yoo, MD, Surgery-Colorectal.

» Read more

Sim Center Accredited After Less Than 2 Years

Just 19 months after opening, the Cedars-Sinai Women's Guild Simulation Center for Advanced Clinical Skills has received full accreditation from the Society for Simulation in Healthcare (SSIH). This designation places Cedars-Sinai among an elite group of institutions in the U.S. to have earned the endorsement of the SSIH, the acknowledged leader in the oversight of simulation in healthcare.

» Read more

Panel Discusses Physician-Assisted End of Life

The Cedars-Sinai Alumni Association and medical staff sponsored a May 18 roundtable discussion on physician-assisted end-of-life issues.

» Read more

Circle of Friends Honorees for May

The Circle of Friends program honored 223 people in May. Circle of Friends allows grateful patients to make a donation in honor of the physicians, nurses, caregivers and others who have made a difference during their time at Cedars-Sinai.

» Read more

Comprehensive Transplant Center Wins Top Design Award

With its airy floor plan, stunning views and design elements that reflect a singular attention to detail, the Cedars-Sinai Comprehensive Transplant Center has won the Calibre Award, a top prize bestowed by the International Interior Design Association's Southern California chapter, in the Health and Wellness category.

» Read more

Cedars-Sinai Gets Game-Show Treatment for Founders Day

With a game-show quiz, a reprint of an unintentionally hilarious cafeteria menu from 1973 and the display of a copy of the Ten Commandments made for the film of the same name, the second annual Founders Day celebration, held June 5 in Harvey Morse Auditorium, was a cheery, breezy and festive affair.

» Read more

Leading Surgeon's Visit Enlightens Vascular Colleagues

Ronald Dalman, MD

A world-renowned vascular surgeon visited Cedars-Sinai on April 22 for a series of lectures and conferences.

The Division of Vascular Surgery hosted Ronald Dalman, MD, the Walter Chidester Professor of Surgery and chief of the Division of Vascular Surgery at Stanford University, as the annual Sanford Rosenbaum Visiting Professor. Dalman is known for his scientific investigations focused on the etiology of abdominal aortic aneurysms. During his tenure as chief, he has established a world-class training program in vascular surgery.

At Cedars-Sinai, Dalman presided over several resident conferences, including the popular General Surgery Morbidity and Mortality Conference, imparting his knowledge and insight. The residents and members of the Vascular Surgery section challenged Dalman with a series of cases that enlightened the entire audience.

Dalman was impressed by the quality of residents' involvement in the conferences.

Dalman's first formal lecture, "Optimizing Quality and Value in Vascular Care," dealt with the myriad clinical and administrative challenges required to provide cost-effective, world-class care in the current medical environment. Dalman also outlined Stanford's aggressive efforts to extend its influence in the Bay Area and beyond.

His final lecture, which was given at a combined Medicine-Surgery conference, summarized his career-long basic science and clinical studies into the "Pathogenesis and Progression of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Disease." His experience with aneurysm disease epitomized the concept of translational research, where his studies of the molecular biology of the aortic wall illustrated his approach to human studies.

The Division of Vascular Surgery is indebted to the Rosenbaum-Katz family for its ongoing support of this highly valuable lectureship.

Recognition for Berci, Miraflor, Murry

Physician News

Berci Wins Ethics Award From UC Irvine

George Berci, MD, has won the Jerome and Hazel Tobis Award from the Ethics Center at the University of California, Irvine.

The award honors those who have achieved in their fields and have given back to society. Jerome Tobis was a founding member of the Ethics Center and a professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the university.

Berci was cited for his contributions to laparoscopic surgical procedures, which produce less post-operative pain and a quicker return to activity than more invasive procedures.

Berci, a pioneer of minimally invasive surgery, is a longtime faculty member in the Cedars-Sinai Department of Surgery. The Karl Storz Chair in Minimally Invasive Surgery was established in Berci's honor.


Miraflor, Murry Win Award From Geffen Medical Students

Two physicians in the Cedars-Sinai Department of Surgery have been named winners of the Excellence in Teaching With Humanism Residents and Fellows Award from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. They are Emily Miraflor, MD, a fellow in colorectal surgery, and Jason Murry, MD, a fellow in surgical critical care.

This award, created and presented by the Geffen School's medical student body, recognizes residents and fellows who exhibit exemplary behavior toward medical students and other members of the healthcare team. Winners of the award serve as exceptional mentors and are recognized for their ongoing contributions to the clinical training of the school's medical students.

The 10 winners of the award were chosen from among more than 150 nominees. The awards were presented June 3.

Critique of Fee-For-Service Medicine Wins Debate for Jain

Debate winner Monica Jain, MD, (left) with Bruce Gewertz, MD, chair of the Department of Surgery, (center) and Jain's competitor, Derek Serna-Gallegos, MD

An overflow crowd of more than 300 people filled the seats and stood at the edges of the Harvey Morse Auditorium on June 5 as Derek Serna-Gallegos, MD, and Monica Jain, MD, faced off in the 12th annual Dr. Leon Morgenstern Great Debates in Clinical Medicine Resident Competition.

Jain, who answered the debate question of "Can Fee-for-Service Medicine Survive?" with a firm "no," was declared the winner. 

Related story

The Dr. Leon Morgenstern Great Debates in Clinical Medicine Resident Competition was part of Cedars-Sinai's second annual Founders Day.

Jain, who earned her medical degree from Boston University in 2012 and plans to become an endocrine surgeon, cited spiraling medical costs and a lack of accountability by care providers in the fee-for-service model. While the average salary in the U.S. has risen 38 percent in the past decade, medical costs have risen 131 percent, Jain said, citing a study by the Institute of Medicine.

If food costs since 1945 had risen at that same rate, a carton of eggs would now cost $55, a gallon of milk would be priced at $48, and you would have to shell out $134 for a dozen oranges.

"Perhaps Dr. Serna can afford that glass of orange juice," Jain said to general laughter. "But I certainly can't."

Serna, a 2012 graduate of the Keck School of Medicine of USC who plans to become a thoracic surgeon, had many in the audience nodding and murmuring in agreement as he spoke about the sometimes-disastrous intrusion of insurance companies into patient care.

The managed care model gives people with no medical training the right to oversee and overrule physicians, Serna said. His slide illustrating the exponential growth of bureaucracy within insurance companies since 1970, with insurance company executives who earn upward of $130 million per year, or $90,000 per day, drew gasps.

"Medicine's top earners are not the physicians," Serna said.

Both debaters followed tradition as they took good-natured digs at each other during the debate. Jain displayed several slides, prominently displaying Serna in situations that bolstered her argument. Serna later praised her excellent photo-manipulation skills

Each debate participant fielded questions from the panel of judges. The panel included Thomas M. Priselac, president and CEO of Cedars-Sinai; Bruce Gewertz, MD, chair of the Department of Surgery; David Cossman, MD, medical director of the Cedars-Sinai Vascular Lab; Sid Anand, MD, of the Salick Comprehensive Diabetes Centers; and Rocky Delgadillo, the former city attorney of Los Angeles and now CEO of the Los Angeles County Medical Association.

After congratulating Jain and Serna, moderator Leo Gordon, MD, praised the debaters' passion and scholarship.

"I have great confidence that we are turning this profession over to capable, humane and dedicated hands," he said.

The next Dr. Leon Morgenstern Great Debates in Clinical Medicine Resident Competition will be held June 3, 2016

The debate is named for the late Leon Morgenstern, MD, founding director of Surgery at Cedars-Sinai. Morgenstern chaired the Department of Surgery for 33 years before leaving the post in 1988 to establish the Cedars-Sinai Department of Bioethics.

Congratulations to Leadership Program Graduates

Congratulations to the three Department of Surgery physicians who graduated in May from the Cedars-Sinai Medical Staff Leadership Development Program. Among the more than 20 graduates were Allen Ho, MD, Surgery/Otolaryngology, David Magner, MD, Surgery-Colorectal, and Stephen Yoo, MD, Surgery-Colorectal.

The program is aimed at training and motivating future leaders of the medical staff.

Participants attended a series of lectures and joined an off-site weekend retreat. In addition, each participant managed a performance improvement project that will impact their patients and practice, allowing hands-on use of the tools and concepts introduced in the program.

The 2015-16 Medical Staff Leadership Development Program will start in September. A call for nominations will be issued soon. Participants are nominated by department chairs and members of the Medical Executive Committee.

Medical Staff Leadership Development Class of 2014-15 graduates

Front row (from left): David Magner, MD, Surgery-Colorectal; Gary Gutkin, MD, Inpatient Specialty Program Hospitalist Service; Todd Barrett, MD, Supportive Care Medicine; Kevin Scher, MD, Internal Medicine/Hematology-Oncology; Allen Ho, MD, Surgery/Otolaryngology; Ravi Prasad, MD, Imaging; Sheri Koplik, MD, Internal Medicine/Cardiology; Shaun Miller, MD, program co-chair; William Stanford, MD, General Internal Medicine

Second row (from left): Oksana Volod, MD, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine; Nareen Hindoyan, MD, Pediatrics; Elizabeth Behringer, MD, Anesthesiology; Charles Coffey, MD, General Internal Medicine; Christopher Fitzgerald, MD, Pediatrics; Scott Toporek, MD, Inpatient Specialty Program Hospitalist Service; Scott Braunstein, MD, Emergency Medicine

Top row (from left): Benjamin Santos, MD, Emergency Medicine; Farnaz Dadmanesh, MD, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine; Behrooz Hakimian, MD, Radiation Oncology; Erica Wang, MD, Obstetrics and Gynecology; Melissa Wong, MD, program co-chair, Stephen Yoo, MD, Surgery-Colorectal; Terrence Kim, MD, Orthopedics; Scott Karlan, MD, program co-chair, Shahida Farooqi, MD, Inpatient Specialty Program Hospitalist Service

Not pictured:  Lowell Korman, MD, Inpatient Specialty Program Hospitalist Service; Anita Mathoni, MD, Anesthesiology; Sarah Mourra, MD, Psychiatry; Susan Rabizadeh, MD, Dermatology; Robert Wong, MD, Anesthesiology

Sim Center Accredited After Less Than 2 Years

"Patients" in the Women's Guild Simulation Center for Advanced Clinical Skills are mannequins controlled by technicians in computer rooms.

Just 19 months after opening, the Cedars-Sinai Women's Guild Simulation Center for Advanced Clinical Skills has received full accreditation from the Society for Simulation in Healthcare (SSIH). This designation places Cedars-Sinai among an elite group of institutions in the U.S. to have earned the endorsement of the SSIH, the acknowledged leader in the oversight of simulation in healthcare.

"It's quite extraordinary because of the short time that we have been open," said Ellen Wilson Green, director of Medical Education. "Accreditation demonstrates that national standards of excellence exist, and for Cedars-Sinai to not only meet them, but to exceed them, enhances our status in the world of simulation."

Known as the sim center, the 10,000-square-foot facility is a state-of-the-art immersive environment that replicates the reality of clinical and surgical settings and allows individuals and teams to work with the latest in medical technology. The sim center, located in the Advanced Health Sciences Pavilion, includes two fully equipped and functioning operating rooms, an intensive care unit, an OB-GYN room and a trauma bay. It also has a neonatal ICU, a virtual reality skills room with computerized tools to practice robotic surgery and laparoscopic and ultrasound procedures, and several classrooms.

"Accreditation by the SSIH has become the accepted standard for excellence, and we are one of the few simulation centers across the U.S. and across the globe to have achieved this," said Russell Metcalfe-Smith, the manager of the sim center. "Accreditation improves our context for research, allows us to integrate more with other accredited centers and organizations, and will help us in the future with research grants and other projects."

Green and Metcalfe-Smith said the accreditation is the result of a team effort by participants from throughout the medical center. A daylong site visit March 9, during which three inspectors from the SSIH examined every aspect of the sim center and observed it in use, resulted in special recognition for Cedars-Sinai in the areas of teaching, research and integration with patient safety.

The lion's share of the paperwork for the accreditation application, which included a vast and complex set of data that took a year to compile, was handled by Amelia Manlutac, management assistant II at the sim center.

"We provided information like the numbers and kinds of users, the academic credentials of the users, the kinds of research being done, how we protect students in terms of confidentiality," Manlutac said. "You have to show you are a pure research facility, and that there is a clear boundary between the sim center and the clinical care at the medical center."

With about 1,200 users per month from inside and outside Cedars-Sinai, the sim center is a solid success.

"The accreditation is a great testament to the work that is taking place here by a large number of different groups," Metcalfe-Smith said. "From my angle, what's positive is that it's now touching most parts of the organization, and it's this level of engagement that has allowed us to achieve this so quickly."

Previously in Sutures:

Surgery in Simulation Center Has Real Effect on Teamwork (March 27, 2015)

Panel Discusses Physician-Assisted End of Life

The Cedars-Sinai Alumni Association and medical staff sponsored a roundtable discussion on physician-assisted end-of-life issues.

Organized by Yzhar Charuzi, MD, the May 18 panel discussion was moderated by Leo Gordon, MD, coordinator of special projects in the Department of Surgery.

Gordon outlined the general aspects of physician-assisted end-of-life issues in the context of California Senate Bill 128. This bill, the End of Life Option Act, is working its way through the state Legislature.

The panel consisted of Rabbi Elliot Dorff, rector and distinguished professor of Philosophy at the American Jewish University, Father John Sigler, FSP, BCC, Catholic chaplain at Cedars-Sinai, Asma Moheet, MD, associate director of the Cedars-Sinai Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit and director of the Neurocritical Care Fellowship, Theresa Henderson, MD, a pulmonologist and critical care physician at Cedars-Sinai, and David Blake, vice president of the Cedars-Sinai Corporate Integrity Program.

Each participant stated their view from their religious, cultural, legal and medical perspective.

An audience question-and-answer period followed the panel presentations.

A video of the event will be available. For access to this video, please contact Gordon at leo.gordon@cshs.org.

Circle of Friends Honorees for May

The Circle of Friends program honored 223 people in May.

Circle of Friends allows grateful patients to make a donation in honor of the physicians, nurses, caregivers and others who have made a difference during their time at Cedars-Sinai. When a gift is made, the person being honored receives a custom lapel pin and a letter of acknowledgement.

Click here for more information about the program and for a list of past honorees.

  • Kenneth Adashek, MD
  • Afshin Afrashteh, MD
  • Keith L. Agre, MD
  • Maryam Ahmadian, MSN, RN, NP
  • Michael J. Alexander, MD
  • Farin Amersi, MD
  • Talia N. Amiri, RN
  • John B. Andrews, MD
  • Jennifer T. Anger, MD, MPH
  • Alagappan Annamalai, MD
  • Arash Asher, MD
  • M. William Audeh, MD
  • David Austin, MD
  • Meredith L. Axtell
  • Walid S. Ayoub, MD
  • Nichole M. Ballweg, RN
  • Mark Bamberger, MD
  • Babak R. Bamshad, MD
  • Tranell V. Barron, RN
  • Stephanie C. Berkey, RN
  • Jason A. Berkley, DO
  • Keith L. Black, MD
  • Swaraj Bose, MD
  • Earl W. Brien, MD
  • Barry J. Brock, MD
  • Philip G. Brooks, MD
  • Neil A. Buchbinder, MD
  • Matthew H. Bui, MD
  • Miguel A. Burch, MD
  • James L. Caplan, MD
  • Ilana Cass, MD
  • Alice P. Chung, MD
  • Susan B. Clark, RN
  • J. Louis Cohen, MD
  • Christeena Cook, RN
  • Stephen T. Copen, MD
  • Lawrence S. Czer, MD
  • Moise Danielpour, MD
  • Payman Danielpour,MD
  • Hal C. Danzer, MD
  • Lorna R. Dean, RN
  • Robert W. Decker, MD
  • Maria L. Delioukina, MD
  • Ryan DellaMaggiora, MD
  • Kathleen C. Delorimier, BSN, RN
  • Donna L. Dooley Aiello, RN
  • Robert J. Dowhy
  • Doniel Drazin, MD
  • Noam Z. Drazin, MD
  • J. Kevin Drury, MD
  • Cheryl L. Dunnett, MD
  • Deanna L. Erwin, RN
  • Fardad Esmailian, MD
  • Richard Essner, MD
  • Gladys Esteron
  • Margaret R. Farrell, BSN, RN
  • Joel D. Feinstein, MD
  • Robert A. Figlin, MD
  • Charles A. Forscher, MD
  • Alicia Fox, BSN, RN
  • Katie R. Franek Pavlisko, PA-C
  • David M. Frisch, MD
  • Larry Froch, MD
  • Kristi M. Funk, MD
  • Eric V. Galero, RN
  • Donna Gallik, MD
  • Avrom Gart, MD
  • Ilya Gelman, MD
  • Alexander Gershman, MD
  • Seda M. Gharapetian, RN
  • Ashley Gianoulis, NP
  • Armando E. Giuliano, MD
  • Neil J. Goldberg, MD
  • Sherry L. Goldman, RN, NP
  • Mariana Gomez
  • Mark O. Goodarzi, MD
  • Richard E. Gould, MD
  • Steven B. Graff-Radford, DDS
  • Mark E. Granoff, MD
  • Violette G. Gray, MD
  • Vesna Grubic RN, MPH
  • Kapil Gupta, MD
  • Kathryn A. Gurvitz, MHA
  • Paul B. Hackmeyer, MD
  • Solomon I. Hamburg, MD
  • Michele A. Hamilton, MD
  • John G. Harold, MD
  • Michael D. Harris, MD
  • Donald R. Henderson, MD, MPH
  • Andrew E. Hendifar, MD
  • Gail K. Higa, RN, OCN
  • Allen S. Ho, MD
  • Ivan Ho, MD
  • David M. Hoffman, MD
  • David D. Hopp, MD
  • Martin L. Hopp, MD
  • Gabriel E. Hunt Jr., MD
  • Leonel A. Hunt, MD
  • Andrew F. Ippoliti, MD
  • Abraham Ishaaya, MD
  • Kristin Jacobs, MS, CEP
  • Bojana Jankovic, MD
  • Jay L. Jordan, MD
  • David Y. Josephson, MD
  • Peter Julien, MD
  • Kamran Kalpari, MD
  • Elaine S. Kamil, MD
  • Saibal Kar, MD
  • Beth Y. Karlan, MD
  • Harold L. Karpman, MD
  • Oluwakemi Karunwi, RN
  • David Kawashiri, MD
  • Brenda L. Kearney, RN
  • Ilan Kedan, MD, MPH
  • Raj Khandwalla, MD
  • Mehran J. Khorsandi, MD
  • Ali Khoynezhad, MD, PhD
  • Hyung L. Kim, MD
  • Sang D. Kim, MD
  • Katherine Knudson, RN
  • Jon A. Kobashigawa, MD
  • Som Kohanzadeh, MD
  • Stephanie Koven, MD
  • Michael A. Kropf, MD
  • Layne M. Kumetz, MD
  • Marcella D. Kurtzman, RN, OCN
  • Claude Jean Langevin, MD, DMD
  • Madeline S. Lerman, BSN, RN
  • Roger L. Lerner, MD
  • Ronald S. Leuchter, MD
  • Andrew J. Li, MD
  • Michael C. Lill, MD
  • Yuliya Linhares, MD
  • H. Gabriel Lipshutz, MD
  • Simon K. Lo, MD
  • David P. Magner, MD
  • Rajendra Makkar, MD
  • Adam N. Mamelak, MD
  • Ruchi Mathur, MD
  • Peggy Mays
  • Philomena McAndrew, MD
  • Ann McBride
  • Dianne McCafferty, RN
  • Robert J. McKenna Jr., MD
  • Jeannine Medina
  • Shahab Mehdizadeh, MD, MA
  • Brian P. Mekelburg, MD
  • James L. Meltzer, MD
  • Dorothy T. Melvin
  • Richard J. Metz, MD
  • Stewart Middler, MD, PhD
  • Alain Mita, MD
  • Robin Munsey
  • Mamoo Nakamura, MD
  • Adriana N. Neff, MSN, RN
  • Norman J. Nemoy, MD
  • David G. Ng, MD
  • Tai T. Nguyen
  • Nicholas N. Nissen, MD
  • Ligia Noble-Tatum
  • Donald F. Nortman, MD
  • Adrian G. Ostrzega, MD
  • Guy D. Paiement, MD
  • Jignesh K. Patel, MD, PhD
  • Chirag G. Patil, MD
  • Michelle S. Pearl Davis, DO
  • Edward H. Phillips, MD
  • Robert B. Pompa, MD
  • Kristen N. Pons, BSN, RN
  • Sean S. Rajaee, MD
  • Gloria Ramirez
  • Jeffrey Rapp, MD
  • Alexandre Rasouli, MD
  • Robert Richter, MD
  • Bobbie J. Rimel, MD
  • Eileen M. Rodriguez, MSN, RN
  • Jeremy D. Rudnick, MD
  • Colleen Ryan, MD
  • Vivian L. Salle, RN
  • Christopher G. Salvo, RN
  • Bruce A. Samuels, MD
  • Howard M. Sandler, MD, MS
  • Gregory P. Sarna, MD
  • Jennifer Scanlan, RN, BN, OCN
  • Jay N. Schapira, MD
  • Wouter I. Schievink, MD
  • Prediman K. Shah, MD
  • Michael M. Shehata, MD
  • James H. Sherman, MD
  • Robert J. Siegel, MD
  • Allan W. Silberman, MD, PhD
  • R. Kendrick "Ken" Slate, MD
  • Hend Sonbol, RN
  • Joyce R. Spalding, MSN, RN, PHN, CDE
  • Andrew Ira Spitzer, MD
  • Jay J. Stein, MD
  • Theodore N. Stein, MD
  • Bryna Stewart
  • Daniel J. Stone, MD, MPH, MBA
  • Carey B. Strom, MD
  • Vinay Sundaram, MD
  • Lillian Szydlo, MD
  • David B. Thordarson, MD
  • Tram T. Tran, MD
  • Alfredo Trento, MD
  • Hannah T. Tualla, MSN, RN, NP-C
  • Brian Tyler, LVN
  • Mark K. Urman, MD
  • Michael B. Van Scoy-Mosher, MD
  • Eric Vasiliauskas, MD
  • Robert A. Vescio, MD
  • Daniel J. Wallace, MD
  • Sylvia D. Wallace
  • Christina A. Williams
  • Tricia A. Wilson, LVN
  • Lauren Wisdom, RN
  • Charles L. Wiseman, MD
  • Stacy Wu, RN
  • Clement C. Yang, MD
  • Mehrangiz Yazdanfar, RN
  • John S. Yu, MD
  • Sauchuen Yu
  • Arthur M. Zapata, RN

Comprehensive Transplant Center Wins Top Design Award

The interior of the Comprehensive Transplant Center is a harmonious mix of soaring open space in the public rooms, and private rooms with a warm and intimate feeling.

With its airy floor plan, stunning views and design elements that reflect a singular attention to detail, the Cedars-Sinai Comprehensive Transplant Center has won the Calibre Award, a top prize bestowed by the International Interior Design Association's Southern California chapter.

"It's a beautiful space that takes advantage of its location and addresses the needs of both patients and the staff," said Zeke Triana, director of Facilities Planning, Design and Construction at Cedars-Sinai and a member of the American Institute of Architects.

The Calibre Award, which recognizes excellence in design, was presented in May during a ceremony at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza. Two Cedars-Sinai design projects — the other was the OR 360 laboratory — were among the five nominees in the Health and Wellness category.

"There's a spectacular view of the Hollywood Hills that's visible behind the treetops, and that became the inspiration for the project," Triana said. "The design takes advantage of the building's location and brings nature into the space to create a soothing and healing environment."

The transplant center brings together into a single location the clinical and administrative functions of the lung, kidney, liver and pancreas transplant programs.

The Comprehensive Transplant Center, which opened in September 2014, is located at 8900 Beverly Blvd., two blocks from the edge of the medical center's main campus. The three-story, 35,500-square-foot building brings together into a single location the clinical and administrative functions of the lung, kidney, liver and pancreas transplant programs, which had been spread among 12 locations.

In a partnership with SmithGroupJJR, a national design firm with offices in Los Angeles, Triana oversaw the creation of the new center, which has 22 exam rooms, infusion therapy and phlebotomy services, meeting and conference rooms, and indoor and outdoor spaces for staff use.

The center's interior is a harmonious mix of soaring open space in the public rooms, and private rooms with a warm and intimate feeling. Throughout the facility, soothing colors, artwork and design elements reflect the natural world.

"When you get off the elevator, the waiting room opens onto the third floor, and as you walk in there's this view into the treetops, and the Hollywood Hills beyond," Triana said. "The architects and designers of the SmithGroup were able to use this sense of nature to create a soothing and healing environment."

Details, such as the decision to have murals cover the walls in the interior rooms, had great impact, Triana said. Much of the aesthetic of the space was the result of collaboration with Andrew S. Klein, MD, director of the transplant center.

"We had a great team from Cedars-Sinai helping to oversee the project," Triana said. "Dr. Klein was the engine who helped drive the vision for the project."

The needs of both transplant patients and the clinicians and staff members who work with them drove the design of the center, Klein said. To that end, every space, from the examination rooms to the waiting rooms to the staff's break room, was designed to be both functional and beautiful.

"We met frequently so that every element of the design, from the carpets to the colors to the murals, was laid out with the patients from each specialty in mind," Klein said. "How you interact with a liver transplant patient is different from how you interact with a lung transplant patient, and each part of the center reflects that attention to detail."

For the transplant center's 150 staff members, whose work with critically ill patients can be stressful, Triana and Klein helped to design an exterior courtyard with a fountain.

"This project began with an understanding of the existing patient experience in our transplant centers, and focused on what an ideal patient experience could be," Triana said. "Thanks to the many gifted and dedicated people involved, I think we achieved our ideal."

Photos by SmithGroupJJR and Art Gray

Cedars-Sinai Gets Game-Show Treatment for Founders Day

Among the contestants in the game-show quiz on Founders day were Flora Haus, MSN, RN-BC, NEA-BC, (left) and Larry Santiago, MSN, RN-BC. The finalists wore oversized, Swifty Lazar style eyeglasses; the talent agent was one of many celebrities with connections to Cedars-Sinai. Haus won the light-hearted competition.

With a game-show quiz, a reprint of an unintentionally hilarious cafeteria menu from 1973 and the display of a copy of the Ten Commandments connected to the film of the same name, the second annual Founders Day celebration, held June 5 in Harvey Morse Auditorium, was a cheery, breezy and festive affair.

"This year's celebration is a little less serious but every bit as historic as last year's," said Jonathan Schreiber, director of Community Engagement, setting a lighter tone for the event.

Jonathan Schreiber, director of Community Engagement, described the odyssey of the Ten Commandments tablets from film set to Cedars-Sinai vault.

Related story

The events of Founders Day kicked off earlier on June 5 with the Dr. Leon Morgenstern Great Debates in Clinical Medicine Resident Competition.

Schreiber pointed out curiosities on the old Cedars-Sinai menu, such as the selection of wines available to wash down the bill of fare. Also on the menu was the Pipeliner, a sandwich whose ingredients might induce a trip into cardiac care. He described the odyssey of the Ten Commandments tablets from film set to medical center vault, and laughingly urged attendees to come take a selfie with the relics after the program.

The main event, though, was a game-show quiz highlighting Cedars-Sinai's appearances in pop culture over the decades. Because of its unique place in the community, the medical center has appeared in and been referenced in hundreds of movies, television shows, books and songs. In addition, Cedars-Sinai has formed relationships with numerous celebrities and luminaries who have championed the medical center's mission.

The quiz questions highlighted TV shows such as "The Big Bang Theory" and movies including "Volcano," and it referenced celebrity supporters such as Denzel Washington, Sharon Osbourne and Gilda Radner. The medical center's art collection also made an appearance in the game show, with questions about Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns and Roy Lichtenstein.

Founders Day celebrates the 113-year history of Cedars-Sinai, from the medical center's start in 1902 as Kaspare Cohn Hospital to the blending of two hospitals, Cedars of Lebanon and Mount Sinai, in the current location on June 6, 1976.

"Cedars-Sinai is a unique institution in a one-of-a-kind city," said Art Ochoa, senior vice president of Community Relations and Development and chief development officer. "Its closest ties are not to a university, but to a community that supports us to this day."