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July 2015

CDU News July 2015

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President's Message

I hope your summer is going well so far.  The University has been busy during the last few months and as a result we have much to celebrate.  Earlier this month we received our formal notification from the WASC Senior College and University Commission of our Special Visit results.  The official WSCUC letter references the Site Visit team's letter as its findings and takes the following actions:

- Removing the Formal Notice of Concern

- Confirming the date of the next offsite review for Fall 2017

- Confirming the date of the next accreditation visit for Spring 2018

You can read the letter in its entirety on the CDU and WASC websites. I want to thank the entire CDU community for the role you played which led to a successful outcome:    reaffirmation of accreditation.  As stated by Angela Minniefield, VP of Strategic Advancement, “The dream works when the team works.”

Fall semester begins on August 24th. Join me in welcoming the newest members of the CDU family, the incoming class of 2015. Let’s show our future alumni why CDU was rated #3 in the nation by the Brookings Institution on the list of schools (“Hidden Gems”) that provided the greatest value-added boost to their alumni in the occupational earnings power category.

Don’t miss the boat…we will set sail aboard the Hornblower for the University’s 50th Anniversary Kick-off Celebration. The event will be held on Friday, August 21st. Tickets are available for purchase on the University’s website. Be sure to also check the website for other events leading up to the 50th Anniversary celebration.   Thank you for all you do for CDU!




LSI: Student Summit Recap

Drs. Cynthia Gonzalez and Bita Amani pose with CDU MPH students after the Student Summit

On Friday, July 17, 2015 undergraduate and graduate students from the Los Angeles region were welcomed to the CDU Life Sciences Institute (LSI) Health Disparities Student Summit entitled, Growing the Next Generation of Health Professionals.  With support from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), the summit was designed to engage students in meaningful discussions on reducing health disparities, in addition to the introduction of place-based translational research and exposure to local community interventions.

Notable speakers equipped students with defining concepts, addressing social justice, identifying community engagement methods, and understanding translational research within the context of health disparities in South Los Angeles. LSI Director, Dr. Keosha Partlow, facilitated the summit

Drs. Daphne Calmes, David M. Carlisle, Paula Braveman, and Meredith Minkler

and ensured appropriate introductions of all speakers. Students were welcomed by CDU Provost and Chief Academic Officer, Dr. Steve O. Michael. Dr. Michael reminded students that health is not simply the absence of illness. CDU President and CEO, Dr. David M. Carlisle provided the keynote address, highlighting disparities in accessing care in South Los Angeles and suggested that place matters in the context of preventable health outcomes and that policy can support effective advocacy for the most underserved and under-resourced neighborhoods. University of California, San Francisco Professor Dr. Paula Braveman provided an in depth introduction on health disparities and highlighted social justice being the heart of health disparities work by which policy and advocacy become necessary tools for improving health. CDU Professor Dr. Bita Amani engaged students on the social justice potential of public health to addressing health disparities by sharing her research on the relationship of social inequalities, such as redlining and the proximity of toxic release facilities to underserved and under-resourced communities.

University of California, Berkeley Professor Dr. Meredith Minkler examined the role of community- engaged research as a means of delivering a promising approach to addressing health disparities and shared important tools to ensure community engagement in which residents are active participants in the entire research process to address real-time social and health conditions. CDU Professor Roberto Vargas described the use of translational research as a tool for addressing health disparities and offered an overview in which he proposed forging partnerships and challenging silos in order to ensure that research is relational and relevant to the community it aims to serve.

Lunch provided students the opportunity to discuss the summit and our academic programs with CDU Deans: Dr. Daphne Calmes (College of Medicine), Dr. Ronald Edelstein (College of Science and Health) and Dr. Sheldon Fields (Mervyn M. Dymally School of Nursing). Following lunch, Dr. Cynthia Gonzalez, LSI Curriculum Specialist, led a panel discussion that encouraged students to ask questions and find solutions. The day concluded with closing remarks by Mr. Angel Martinez, LSI Administrative Coordinator and CDU alumnus. Mr. Martinez offered a critical dialogue relating personal experiences, the academic pipeline, and responsibility to addressing health utilizing a policy and social justice approach.

The Next Life Sciences Health Disparities Seminar Series is Friday, August 28th and Saturday, August 29th.

The Life Sciences Institute will also host a 2-day Health Disparities Seminar Series on August 28th and 29th at CDU. The aim of the series is to integrate diverse perspectives from science, public policy, and community engagement focused on addressing health inequity in South Los Angeles. The series content will include an overview of health and health disparities in the United States and will implement a range of social, political, economic, cultural, and legal theories related to health disparities. The target audience will include a cross-disciplinary sector of academic researchers and teaching faculty, scientists engaged in health disparities research activities, health care and public health professionals, law enforcement, policy and planning experts, and community leaders.

For additional information please contact cdudisparities@cdrewu.edu or visit www.cdrewu.edu/lsi.

Read the program book for the LSI Place Matters Student Summit  here:

Photo Gallery:  Click here or visit https://cdrewu.smugmug.com/LSI-Place-Matters-CDU-July

Article submitted by Dr. Keosha Partlow

You have Healthcare Coverage. Now what?

Dr. Sheldon D. Fields, Dean of the Mervyn M. Dymally School of Nursing Tells of Next Steps

Thousands of California residents took the opportunity to sign-up for healthcare sponsored under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Enrollment ended on February 15, 2015 and now that many Californians are covered, why are so many still not seeing a medical provider? Perhaps it is because many enrollees have actually not yet called to make an appointment yet.

Dr. Sheldon D. Fields, PhD, RN, FNP-BC, AACRN, FNAP, FAANP, Professor and Dean of the Mervyn M. Dymally school of Nursing at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science (CDU) and an expert on the ACA, believes the next crucial hurdle in leveling health disparities is educating those newly insured on how to use their new healthcare benefits.  Here in California the health insurance exchange that has been set up is known as Covered California and this is where individuals, families and small businesses can find affordable, quality health insurance plans. Many of you who recently signed up for health insurance did so by visiting the website of Covered California at

Dr. Fields served as a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellow during the time of the major debates over the passage of the ACA in 2010. Five years later, many provisions of the ACA such as the healthcare exchange marketplaces have been realized.

Dr. Fields explains six steps newly insured Californians should consider:

Step one: Figure out what you have. Regardless of the insurance company, all of the plans work similarly. Whether the plan is issued by Anthem-Blue Cross, or Kaiser Permanente what you need to do is make sure you understand the type and level of plan you have. Lower cost bronze level plans offer care with higher out-of-pocket costs (co-pays) and limit some services, whereas silver, gold, and platinum plans have a higher monthly premium but offer more services at different co-pays.

Step Two: Once you figure out your plan level, you need to determine whether the plan is a health maintenance organization (HMO), a preferred provider organization (PPO), an exclusive provider organization (EPO), or a point of service plan (POS). How you access your plan, what it pays for and what you pay for, the paper work required, and referrals will differ based on the type of plan. The plans differ in the six ways listed in the table below.





Table 1: Plan Types and Services

Plan Type

PCP Required


Referrals needed

Out of network Care

Cost Sharing

Do you have to file claim paper work



Not usually







Not usually



Low in network, high out of network

For out of network care














For out of network care

Source: http://healthinsurance.about.com/od/healthinsurancebasics/a/Hmo-Ppo-Epo-and-Pos-whats-The-Difference-and-Which-Is-Best.htm

Step Three: Determine what your new plan will and will not pay for. All plans, as a condition of their participation via the Covered California health insurance marketplace have to provide coverage for a set of essential health benefits. This means that all plans have to provide some level of insurance coverage for ambulatory care, emergency services, rehabilitative services, preventative wellness services, pediatric services, lab services, prescription drugs, mental health and substance use, maternal newborn care, and hospitalization. What differs from plan to plan are the co-pays or the amounts of money you will need to pay before the plan will pay its part. That mainly depends on the level of plan you have chosen (Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum) and if the plan is a HMO, PPO, POS, or EPO as noted above.

Step Four: If the plan requires you to choose a Primary Care Provider (PCP)in order to access services then do it. Think about the PCP as your point of entry. The PCP can be a physician, a nurse practitioner or physician assistant based on the plan. Each plan that requires you to choose a PCP has a list of them for you to choose from. That list is usually on the plan’s website and organized by provider specialty, location, and even gender so you can choose a provider that has certain training, or is near where you live or work.

Step Five: Once you choose your PCP, call and make an appointment. This is an important step that many fail to do.

Step Six: Go to your appointment and establish yourself with your new PCP. Based on your age and current health status your PCP will develop a care plan with you. This plan should include you getting a physical exam, immunizations, any test to check on current or old health issues, cancer screenings, colon, skin, breast and/or prostrate), and any other routine health maintenance needs you may have along with preventative care (such as help to quit smoking or to lose weight). If not required by your plan, still find a PCP that you can establish a care plan with.

Other Frequently Asked Questions you may also have about your new plan.

1. Do Covered California plans pay for medications/prescriptions?

Yes, all plans in the Covered California health insurance marketplace have to, by law, provide some level of coverage for medications/prescriptions. Coverage varies so check your plan for details.

2. Who honors Covered California, is it like Kaiser? Do you go to the County Hospital?

The private insurance plans in the marketplace work just like any plan offered by the insurer and organizations like Kaiser have plans in the marketplace. These plans are not to be confused with the Medi-Cal program which in California was expanded January 1, 2014, for low-income adults under the ACA. Medi-Cal is the name of the California Medicaid program for those who meet eligibility requirements.  If you applied through Covered California your eligibility for Medi-Cal was automatically determined. You can find out more about Medi-Cal programs here: http://www.medi-cal.ca.gov/

3. What about emergency room and urgent care services?

All of the plans must provide coverage for emergency care and many of the plans operate urgent care centers for you to use.

4. Can I use an ambulance?

Yes for emergencies. Most plans have a co-pay they will charge you for the use of an ambulance, so check your plan.

5. Can I get diagnostic tests?

Yes, diagnostic test like mammograms, x-rays, and others are covered to some degree by all plans with varying co-pays so check your plan.

6. I have a chronic health condition such as Hypertension, HIV/AIDS and Diabetes. Can I get coverage?

Yes, under the ACA all of the plans offered in the Covered California insurance marketplace can’t deny coverage to anyone based on a pre-existing chronic health condition.

9. I currently have insurance through my job. Should I still look into the Covered California plans?

Depends on whether or not your job actually pays for part of your premiums or not. If your job provides you a plan and pays for a portion of it, then you are already covered and need not seek additional coverage. If your job does not pay anything towards your premium then, yes, you should see what you qualify for through the marketplace.

10. I am healthy and don’t need health insurance.  Will I get fined for not having insurance?

The law requires you to have health insurance and, yes, you will get fined if you fail to get coverage. There are exceptions to this, so check.

So there you have it -- a brief walk through the complex world of health insurance and how things are changing. For more information about the ACA you can visit www.healthcare.gov and the Covered California website listed above. For more information about CDU and Dr. Fields’ work at CDU’s Mervyn M. Dymally School of Nursing, visit www.cdrewu.edu.

Two appointments Announced in the College of Science and Health (COSH)

Interim Dean  Ronald Edelstein made two appointments for Academic Year 2015-16, effective 7/1/2015:  Dr. Monica Ferrini as Chair of the Department of Health and Life Sciences, and Dr. Sondos Islam as Program Director of the MPH Program in Urban Health Disparities.

Dr. Monica Ferrini will continue to oversee the Health and Life Sciences Department and its two academic programs, the Bachelor of Science in Life Sciences and the Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Pre-Medicine.

Dr. Ferrini holds the rank of Associate Professor both in the College of Medicine Department of Internal Medicine and in the College of Science and Health Department of Health and Life Sciences. In addition, she is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine. She received her Ph.D. in Physiology and a BS-M.S. degree in Biochemistry, both from the University of Buenos Aires (UBA), Argentina. She joined CDU in 2004, and has more than twenty years of experience teaching undergraduate and graduate students in the fields of cell biology, histology, anatomy and physiology. Prior to joining CDU she conducted research at the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center; and she served as a faculty member and investigator at UBA and the National Research Council of Argentina (CONICET). During her extensive career as a researcher and as an educator she has mentored many undergraduate and graduate students, as well as overseeing medical student theses. She currently teaches HLS-310, Anatomy and Physiology and COM 113 Medical Terminology within the Departments of Health and Life Sciences and General Studies. Dr. Ferrini received the Academic Senate 2015 Outstanding Professor Award.  She also has a strong extramural funding history, and is an NIH-funded investigator. She has published more than 72 papers in peer reviewed journals in the fields of neurobiology and urology. Her research interest is to study the role of NO/cGMP in the amelioration of penile fibrosis associated with aging and nerve damage. She holds professional memberships in the American Urological Association and in the Endocrine Society. She also serves as an ad hoc reviewer for the Journal of Urology, the Journal of Sexual Medicine, Urology, Fertility and Sterility and European Urology.


Sondos Islam, PhD, MPH, MS

In recognition of Dr. Islam’s role as Interim Program Director of the MPH Program in Urban Health Disparities, she is appointed as Program Director for the Academic Year 2015-2016 (July 1, 2015 – June 30, 2016).   Dr. Islam will continue to oversee the MPH Program and its two academic programs, the Masters of Public Health and the Graduate Certificate in Public Health Concepts.

Dr. Islam holds the rank of Associate Professor in the College of Science and Health in the MPH Program. She received her Ph.D. in Preventive Medicine/Health Behavior Research and Master of Public Health (Epidemiology/Biostatistics Track) Degree from the University of Southern California (USC), and received the Master of Science (MS) and Bachelors of Science in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of Washington, Seattle, Washington. She joined CDU in 2004, and has more than ten years of experience teaching undergraduate and graduate students in the fields of Community Health, Health Promotion and Preventive Policy, Epidemiology, Biostatistics, Program Planning and Evaluation, and Social and Behavioral Determinants of Health. Prior to joining CDU, Dr. Islam conducted research at the University Southern California (USC). Dr. Islam spearheaded the achievement of accreditation of the CDU MPH Program in Urban Health Disparities by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH), and the development of the Certificate Program in Public Health Concepts.  During her extensive career as a researcher and as an educator she has mentored many undergraduate and graduate students, as well as overseeing graduate student theses and capstone projects. She received the CDU Outstanding Professor award in 2011, and currently teaches MPH 513, Program Planning and Evaluation, and other courses in the MPH Program.  She serves as Chair of the CDU Academic Program Review Committee and the CDU/WASC Group for Assessment, Student Success, and Program Review, as well as chairing or serving on many other CDU and College of Science and Health committees and task groups.  Her professional memberships include the American Public Health Association, the Society of Behavioral Medicine, and the Society for Public Health Education.

Congratulations to Drs. Ferrini and Islam, and I look forward to continued growth and excellence in those programs, working with faculty, staff and students.






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