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    Message from the President

Happy New Year and welcome back from the holiday break. I hope everyone is rested and charged for the Spring Semester. I personally spent the time reflecting on my New Year’s Resolutions for the University.

Have a great week,

13th Annual Junior White Coat Ceremony

On Saturday January 12, the 13th Annual Junior White Coat Ceremony and Reception honored 130 students who completed a full year in the Saturday Science Academy II, a program that encourages K-12 South Los Angeles students to excel in math, science and technology and pursue careers in the health professions. Families gathered around as graduates received a white lab coat, a universal symbol of the medical profession.


“The White Coat Ceremony is a time to honor the successful path these students are on and inspire them to become health professionals,“ said Dr. David M. Carlisle, President and CEO of Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science.  “It is a powerfully emotional, transformative, and affirming experience for the students, their families, and CDU staff.”

 The Saturday Science Academy II, sponsored by Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science for over 20 years, is dedicated to providing minority youth exposure to the fields of math and science disciplines.  This rigorous academic program is designed to foster knowledge, self-esteem, discipline, positive study habits,confidence and the

Recent Scholarships, Grants and Awards

Yamanda Mack, 4th year COM, UniHealth Foundation Medical Student Scholarship,  $50,000



Dr. Robert A. Jenders, MD, and his co-authors received the 2012 Health and Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Book of the Year Award. Read more here

Kaiser Permanente, $500,000 over 2-years to support student scholarships across the College of Medicine, College of Science and Health and the Mervyn M. Dymally School of Nursing

Parson’s Foundation, $100,000 to support security surveillance system and equipment upgrades

The California Wellness Foundation, $25,000 —Board discretionary gift—to support faculty development

WPublication Highlight-- Division of Cancer Research and Training, Center to Eliminate Cancer Health Disparities

 are glad to announce the most recent publication of a paper titled “Expression of Wnt3 Activates Wnt/β-Catenin Pathway and Promotes EMT-like Phenotype in Trastuzumab-Resistant HER2-Overexpressing Breast Cancer Cells.” (Molecular Cancer Research, Dec 2012 -PMID:  23071104) by Dr. Yanyuan Wu and team at the Center to Eliminate Cancer Health Disparities supported through the CDU/UCLA Cancer Center Partnership Grant (NCI/NIH U54 CA 143931). Dr. Wu and her colleagues ( C. Ginther , J Kim, N Mosher, S Chung, D Slamon,  and Center Director and Senior PI on the study -Dr. Jay Vadgama) demonstrated that a basic developmental pathway, involving the protein called Wnt 3, plays a role in the lo ss of therapy-resistance in a certain breast cancer type called “HER2+.” HER2+ breast cancer cells express a certain molecule on the surface that is targeted for therapy with a drug called trastuzumab. Unfortunately, many women who develop the HER2+type of breast cancer experience relapse of the cancer and trastuzumab does not work anymore (called drug-resistance). These women have reduced survival. This study is significant for exploring the molecular pathways that lead to loss of response to trastuzumab so that better molecular targets can be identified in the future for women with this type of cancer. It should be noted that one of the co-authors, N. Mosher, was an undergraduate intern in the Undergraduate Cancer Research Summer Training (UCRTP) Program at CDU.

Full Citation of paper: Wu Y, Ginther C, Kim J, Mosher N, Chung S, Slamon D, Vadgama JV.Expression of Wnt3 Activates Wnt/β-Catenin Pathway and Promotes EMT-like Phenotype in Trastuzumab-Resistant HER2-Overexpressing Breast Cancer Cells. Mol Cancer Res. 2012 Dec;10(12):1597-606. doi: 10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-12-0155-T. Epub 2012 Oct 15.


13th Annual Research Centers in Minority Institutions Symposium on Health Disparities

The COSH Urban Public Health Program atended the 13th RCMI International Symposium on Health Disparities, December 10-13, 2012, San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Collaborating with research faculty at CDU, recent COSH MPH graduate Ms. Nichole Nicholas presented research on the potential stress-reducing health benefits of compassion in a poster titled “The Development and Evaluation of a Compassion Scale. "According to Ms. Nicholas, "I had a wonderful time at the RCMI Conference and was able to network with other researchers and students within public health.  I do hope that CDU can be as involved with this conference in the future because it is beneficial to for the professional growth of our students." In addition to being an opportunity for CDU students to showcase their research and to build networks, the conference was also a good opportunity for the professional development of junior faculty by giving them an opportunity to build relationships and learn about potential funding opportunities. Urban Public Health Assistant Professor Dr. Bita Amani, who a lso attended the conference, expressed how inspired she felt by CDU’s well recognized role among Minority Serving Institutions. Additionally, she states, “The conference was a great opportunity to tap into the national conversation on representation, health disparities and community involvement.”


CME Accredited Cancer Journal Club

A significant milestone was met at CDU when the 1st Continuing Medical Education (CME) Accredited Cancer Journal Club took place on January 7th, 2013. This was the first CME activity for the University in a significant amount of time and resulted due to the amazing effort of COM Dean Dr. Daphne Calmes as well as Dr. Ron Edelstein, Jeonathan Rodriguez, and the CME Committee, particularly Dr. James Smith and Dr. Yanyuan Wu. There were more than twenty-five attendees at the Journal Club, which included clinicians/internists, basic science and community outreach faculty, staff, and students from CDU and other universities.

The Journal Club topic explored drug-resistance in multiple cancers and provided important insights into clinical arms which c

an be utilized in combination to combat resistance. The response of the audience to the Journal Club was outstanding. Many participants indicated the Journal Club improved their clinical understanding of cancer and drug resistance.  ;Most notably, many students present- particularly from CDU’s Post-Baccalaureate Program- expressed their excitement and “inspirationâ€Â at seeing real-life application of the scientific information they learned in their biochemistry and molecular biology classes. The Cancer Journal Club hopes to include more participants and encourages the entire campus community and colleagues to all attend. 


The Journal Club is a weekly meeting that takes place every Monday, from 12-2pm, in the Augustus F. Hawkins Building, Room 3071 at CDU. For more information, weekly announcements, and speakers please go to the Divisional website:

New Chairman of the Board of Trustees


Dignity Health Senior Executive Vice President and COO Marvin O’Quinn has been elected as the newest Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science (CDU).

O’Quinn is Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Dignity Health. He is responsible for all operations in all of Dignity Health’s markets and for integrated process management and ambulatory operations. Since he joined Dignity Health in 2009, his responsibilities have grown substantially, including an organizational restructuring of operations leadership. Overall, O’Quinn has improved accountability and oversight of the organization’s operations.“Mr. O’Quinn is a true leader in the healthcare industry focused on compassion and excellence,” said Dr. David M. Carlisle, President and CEO of CDU. “I look forward to collaborating with him to strategically foster educational initiatives and programs to best serve CDU students, staff and faculty.

Dr. Mylene Rucker, 76 (CoSH), 86 (CoM Medical Education)

Dr. Mylene Rucker has a generous spirit. When the daughter of an employee was diagnosed with leukemia, Rucker offered to host a yard sale in the parking lot of her wellness center in Visalia. This fundraiser  on Nov. 15 also included a bounce house, and pizza and tacos were sold. They raised $1,500. “It was almost like a little fair,” Rucker said. “A lot of my patients are very giving.” 

Four times a year, Rucker, a family practice physician, sets up a free health care screening clinic in Allensworth where she treats mostly farmworkers. She takes a staff of two to three medical assistants, and her son, Kweku Middleton, helps move equipment.They see about 15 patients each visit. 

“I see myself as a community physician,” she said. “You go out and reach the community and make the world a better place to live.” Each time she visits Allensworth, it costs her $1,000. “Nobody pays me,” she said. “Not even a penny.” In Allensworth, she has diagnosed some cancers and a lot of diabetes. “Many didn’t know they had it,” she said. 

“I’m a very community-oriented person,” she said. “I had a hard time myself.” She raised her son and daughter as a single mother. She left her alcoholic husband in Chicago and moved back to Los Angeles with two children and two 6-foot lockers. During an economic recession in the late 1970s, she couldn’t find work. So she took advantage of a government program that paid for her child care and purchased her uniforms while she studied to become a physician assistant at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science.

As a physician assistant, she worked with child-abuse victims at Martin Luther King, Jr. Hospital in Watts. She said she remembers her young patients crying, and she cried with them. At 32, she began medical school at Drew and became a family practice doctor. Later, she earned her master’s degree in public health from the University of California, Los Angeles. 


She moved to Visalia in 1998 as a visiting doctor to be near her nephew, Jeremiah, who now lives in Fresno. Four years ago, she built the wellness center at 2305 Midvalley Ave. She cares for 2,000 patients and serves as the di-rector of community medicine at Kaweah Delta Medical Center under Dr. Robert Allen. 

Next door to her office is a community garden that she started with Sister Friends, a nonprofit organization of six women. Rucker said she works in the garden because it’s therapeutic. “It calms my nerves,” she said. 

Article reprinted with permission, Visalia Times-Delta. Copyright ? 2013 

Mission Maker


The CDU Annual Campaign is a great way to make a difference at CDU. Every year, alumni, staff, faculty and friends support our University by giving to the CDU Annual Campaign. Mission Makers are friends and supporters of Charles R. Drew University who believe in our mission and have made a contribution to ensure our success. As a Mission Maker, you too can help CDU to continue to produce well-trained healthcare providers who will serve those in need.

CDU is dedicated to offering excellence in health professional education, research, and in training physicians and health providers to meet the needs of the underserved.

Donate today: