The 2013 edition of the U.S. News and World Report ranked UCLA Medical Center number 5 in the country and number 1 in both California and the Los Angeles metropolitan area, earning the title as "Best of the West,” (of all health systems west of the Mississippi river), a distinction which it has earned annually since the survey first began. The residency is based at the UCLA Johnsson Comprehensive Cancer Center and the UCLA-Ronald Reagan Medical Center on the Westwood campus. Formal training sites also include UCLA-Santa Monica Hospital, Veterans Administration (VA) Hospital-West Los Angeles, and Children’s Hospital of LA (CHLA).
The core didactic curriculum is considered one of the strengths of the training program. Resident conferences are held daily from 8-9am on the Westwood campus with audio-video linkage to all auxiliary sites. Teaching sessions are organized into defined didactic blocks focusing on specific disease-sites at a given time. At least 2-3 faculty members serve as moderators on a rotating basis depending on their areas of expertise and are committed to creating an interactive and educationally rewarding environment for trainees. Although the Socratic teaching method is commonly employed, the focus is on creating a stimulating, collaborative, and engaging environment for all participants. Other educational activities include mock oral boards, case presentations, journal clubs, and mortality and morbidity conferences. Lectures on physics and radiobiology are also integrated into the formal teaching curriculum.
A heavy emphasis is placed on systems-based practice, and residents learn a wide variety of rigorous methods to assess and find solutions for the health and health care problems of cancer patients and other at-risk populations. They also learn how to collaborate with patients, health care providers and organizations to improve health and healthcare in community settings and to collaborate responsibly with health care settings and communities. More recently, the curriculum has been modified to include lectures on topics such professionalism, clinical trial design, bioethics, statistics, physician wellness, and health economics. A popular tradition, Departmental Grand Rounds, accompanied by complementary wine and cheese, occur on a monthly basis on the first Monday of the month at 5pm. Starting in 2013, a leadership seminar moderated by the chair will take place Fridays at noon. Additionally, "Translational Thursdays" are held once monthly during which clinical activities are suspended for an afternoon to focus on fostering inter-Departmental collaboration.