About CDU

January 2013

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.

Recent Scholarships, Grants and Awards

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

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.

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).

A Message from Dr. Shay Concerning WASC Accreditation

In July 2011 the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) granted CDU full academic accreditation through 2018. The WASC Commission also scheduled an Interim Report in spring 2013, a Special Visit in spring 2014, and a Comprehensive Review for re-accreditation in 2018.  CDU faculty, staff, and students have worked diligently since 2011 to implement the recommendations of the WASC Commission, and the university continues to remain in compliance with accreditation standards.

The Interim Report requested by WASC is due on March 1, 2013 and must focus on the financial status and sustainability of the university. Over the past several months a CDU WASC Team with faculty, student, and staff representation has collaborated with the offices of finance and advancement to draft the Interim Report. Over the next  few weeks the draft is being vetted with various faculty governing bodies and Board of Trustee sub-committees; the full Board will review the draft report in its early February meeting.

In preparation for the Special Visit in 2014, several working groups are being reactivated  to analyze and document the success of the university in responding to three key areas of persistent WASC concern, for CDU as well as most higher education institutions.These areas of concern include: (1) financial sustainability, planning and management; (2) faculty-related policies and governance; and (3) assessment, student success, and program review.  With the focus of the 2013 Interim Report on the financial foundations of the university, and the integral role of comparable working groups leading up to full accreditation in 2011, we are well positioned to continuously improve upon the accreditation status of CDU and our reputation as a high-performing institution of health professions education. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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