Institutions Announce Key Developments

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Institutions Announce Key Developments
Leader: Cedars-Sinai Medical Center’s Lali Medina-Kauwe.

As the academic year drew to a close last month, two local medical schools and a major local hospital medical education program all made major announcements:

Pepperdine University named nursing and health care industry veteran Angel Coaston as the inaugural dean of the School of Nursing;

• The Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine announced it has received accreditation from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, the accrediting body for medical education programs that lead to an MD degree; and

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center named cancer researcher Lali Medina-Kauwe as associate dean of Ph.D. programs and director of the Ph.D. program in biomedical and translational sciences.

The June 17 announcement from Pepperdine University marked a major milestone toward the opening of the School of Nursing in August of next year. That in turn would be one of the first two programs associated with the new College of Health Sciences. The other program will be in speech language pathology.

A university spokeswoman said the size of the inaugural class at the nursing school and the tuition level have yet to be determined.

Coaston began her career as a pediatric nurse before moving into emergency nursing. She later moved into health care leadership, where she was trained in leadership communication, management, team building, innovation and experience design. Her most recent post was as executive director of case management and transitional care management at Loma Linda University Medical Center in Loma Linda in the Inland Empire.

“My personal mission is to build a foundation of love, honor and compassion, fostering transformational and innovative learning experiences that reflect our commitment to Christian values,” Coaston said in the announcement. “These core principles will distinguish our nursing students, equipping them to lead lives of purpose, service, and leadership within health systems and communities locally and worldwide.”

Coaston assumed her new post last week.

On the same day as the Pepperdine announcement, the Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine released its news that it had received a five-year accreditation from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education. Just four weeks earlier, graduation ceremonies were held for the first graduating class, which started their medical education at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Liaison Committee on Medical Education determines whether an institution’s medical education program meets established standards and fosters programmatic and institutional improvement. According to the announcement, roughly 150 institutions in the United States have received the accreditation to date.

“Receiving full accreditation from the LCME is a major milestone for our school and one that we all have been working towards since I got here seven years ago and even before,” said Mark Schuster, the founding dean and former chief executive of the Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine.

Schuster stepped down last week as dean; he was succeeded by John Dalrymple.

Medina-Kauwe, who is an expert in molecular engineering and nanoparticle cancer research, assumed her associate dean and dean posts last week. She has served at Cedars Cancer as associate director of basic research and will continue in that role.

Medina-Kauwe has been an inventor on more than 25 biotechnology patents and, according to the announcement, has helped build two startup biotechnology companies. Details on those companies were not available.

In her new dean posts, she will oversee and support trainees who are advancing basic, translational, clinical and health services research across the organization. In addition, she will supervise administrative processes, graduate student admissions, education, evaluation and progress of all Ph.D. programs. 

“Under her leadership, her team has advanced technologies that deliver therapeutic agents to triple-negative breast cancer cells that metastasize to the brain,” Joshua Goldhaber, vice dean of graduate education at Cedars-Sinai, said in the announcement. “We are confident these skills will seamlessly translate to the students she will now help lead.”

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Howard Fine
Howard Fine is a 23-year veteran of the Los Angeles Business Journal. He covers stories pertaining to healthcare, biomedicine, energy, engineering, construction, and infrastructure. He has won several awards, including Best Body of Work for a single reporter from the Alliance of Area Business Publishers and Distinguished Journalist of the Year from the Society of Professional Journalists.

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