Cedars-Sinai Medical Center Partners with the Veterans Affairs Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System to Expand Its Internal Medicine Training Program

Los Angeles - October 21, 2005 - As residency programs face increasing challenges to provide quality education in the midst of a rapidly changing healthcare environment, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center is now partnering with the Veterans Affairs Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System (VA) to expand its internal medicine residency program – now one of the largest in the United States.

“As an academic medical center, Cedars-Sinai’s teaching and research programs are an important part of our mission,” said Thomas M. Priselac, president and CEO of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. “Integrating our internal medicine residency program with that of the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System will provide residents with a much stronger and more diverse educational experience.”

Internal Medicine is a medical specialty that focuses on diseases in adults. Internists are skilled in disease prevention and in diagnosing and managing complex illnesses. Internists may be generalists, who act as personal physicians and develop long-term relationships with patients, or specialists, who sub-specialize in areas such as cardiology, oncology, endocrinology or gastroenterology.

Because patient demographics are rapidly changing, special skills are essential to treating patients in the 21st century. Aging Americans with predominantly chronic diseases, the rising problem of obesity and its complications among adults, as well as increased life and work stress-related conditions will seriously affect how physicians need to function in the future. To train internal medicine residents to treat and care for this very diverse patient population, the Cedars-Sinai/VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System program, which currently serves as a major teaching venue for medical students at the University of California, Los Angeles, will provide residents at both institutions with additional training opportunities and will now be larger than before with 136 residents.

“The new internal medicine residency program is really a synergistic match for both Cedars-Sinai and the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System,” said Glenn Braunstein, M.D. chair of the Department of Medicine at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. “The VA trainees will receive more training in treating female patients and access to our faculty and subspecialists, while our residents will have more exposure to geriatrics and subspecialty care in the ambulatory setting.”

“Integrating the Cedars-Sinai internal medicine residency program will provide our internal medicine residents with the opportunity to treat and care for patients from very diverse cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds who also have varied medical conditions – which will, quite frankly, make them better doctors,” said Mark Noah, M.D., director of Residency Training at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

Medical education through residency training is one of Cedars-Sinai’s four major missions. The other three focus on providing outstanding patient care, service to the Los Angeles community, and the advancement of medical knowledge through research. Each of these will be met by providing training opportunities not only at Cedars-Sinai and the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, but also at multiple community-based clinics, private offices and ambulatory care clinics.

Research opportunities for internal medicine residents will be greatly enhanced by their having access to several hundred academic faculty members who reside at both the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System and Cedars-Sinai, each of who are conducting scholarly research in a wide range of areas – including aging, women’s health, cancer, cardiology, gastroenterology, AIDS and mental health.

“Cutting-edge research and state of the art technology complements both Cedars-Sinai’s and the VA’s extensive activity in patient care and teaching,” said Matthew Goetz, M.D., acting chair of the Department of Medicine at the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System.

“We believe that our integration with the Cedars-Sinai internal medicine residency program will provide our residents with an unprecedented education and experience to effectively treat the patients of the 21st century,” added Neil Paige, M.D., program director for the Internal Medicine Training Program at the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System.

In addition to patient-focused care and innovative research, residents in the Cedars-Sinai/VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System’s program will be trained in the use of evidence-based medicine or, making decisions about the care of individual patients based on clinical experience and evidence from research.

They will also learn to understand and use multiple new technologies including radiographic imaging screening for diagnosis and computerized systems designed to reduce medical errors and improve patient safety.

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The VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System is the largest integrated healthcare organization in the Department of Veterans Affairs with 945 operating and authorized beds; it is a tertiary care facility and a teaching hospital. VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System directs the Department of Veterans Affairs’ largest educational enterprise and serves as the major training site for its own 11 ACGME approved medical residencies and as an integral site for those sponsored by UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, USC School of Medicine and now Cedars-Sinai; as well as Advanced Practice Nursing Programs sponsored by local universities. The Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System provides medical care to more than 85,000 veterans, in addition to serving as a medical-referral facility for the southwestern United States. It is also a major research center sponsoring several hundred clinical and laboratory research projects, which enhances the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System’s ability to provide state-of-the-art medical techniques and treatments to veterans.

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center is one of the largest non-profit academic medical centers in the Western United States. It is internationally renowned for its diagnostic and treatment capabilities and its broad spectrum of programs and services, as well as breakthroughs in biomedical research and superlative medical education. It ranks among the top non-university hospitals in the nation for its research activities and was recently fully accredited by the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs, Inc. (AAHRPP). For 17 consecutive years, it has been named Los Angeles’ most preferred hospital for all health needs in an independent survey of area residents.