Extension’s Clinical Trials Program Aligns with Puebla University: “We Can All Learn From Each Other”

Leonel Villa-Caballero: "Our program has been fully adapted for the cultural and professional context of Latin America."

Leonel Villa-Caballero: “Our program has been fully adapted for the cultural and professional context of Latin America.”

UC San Diego Extension’s Healthcare Department has announced a continuing education agreement with Universidad de las Américas in Puebla, Mexico to partner on delivering a Certificate program in Clinical Trials.

Clinical Trials in Latin America – a certificate which is offered online and in Spanish– has been available for the past five years. The new agreement with Puebla makes access to and knowledge of the program for students and clinical professionals in Mexico even more available.

“Our program has been fully adapted for the cultural and professional context of Latin America,” said UC San Diego Extension instructor Leonel Villa-Caballero, MD, PhD, the program director. “In this way, we can all learn from each other.”

A physician and clinical researcher with a background in internal medicine, endocrinology-metabolism and public health, Villa-Caballero is currently a researcher in Family and Preventive Medicine at the UCSD School of Medicine.

According to Villa-Caballero, the city of Puebla has become a magnet for pharmaceutical and biotech companies in Latin America, North America, and Europe, especially those looking to implement new and innovative products through clinical trials.

Clinical trials are held to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of proposed medications or medical devices by testing and monitoring their effects on large groups of people. Trials involve proposed, non-market pharmaceutical products that are intended to cure or ease the dilatory effects of such diseases as cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, osteoporosis as well as cardiovascular and rheumatoid illnesses, and others.

Located southeast of Mexico City with a metro population of 2.6 million, Puebla is the largest city in the Mexican state of Puebla.


From Jazz Camp to Montreux to New York: “I’m Going to See What Happens”

Tommy Holladay: "For right now, I’m ready to take my music as far as I can go.”

Tommy Holladay: “For right now, I’m ready to take my music as far as I can go.”

Like so many aspiring creative artists before him, jazz guitarist Tommy Holladay finds himself amid the bright lights of the big city – New York City.

“I’m just trying to make my living by playing music,” said Holladay, who moved to the Big Apple several weeks ago.

“Most of my musician friends are here, I have some money saved up and I’m going to see what happens.

He brings with him newly-earned chops: Earlier this summer, he was among 10 semi-finalists in a world-wide electric guitar competition for professional guitarists.

The event was held in Montreux, Switzerland, as part of the famed Montreux Jazz Festival.

Holladay, a three-time alumnus of UC San Diego Extension’s annual Jazz Camp, is a multi-faceted musician who enjoys playing pop, rock, blues and “a little” classical.

But jazz is his passion.

“[Guitarist] Wes Montgomery was definitely one of my first influences, but I have a much more contemporary, aggressive style,” he said. “I would say I am more influenced by [saxophone legend] John Coltrane because he can play so sensitively but he also can play so raw, bluesy, and intensely.”

SOUL ORGANIZATION: Mark Holladay (organ) jams with son Tommy on guitar. On drrums is Griffin Isner, who's a Jazz Camp alum along with Tommy.

A SOULFUL ORGANIZATION: Mark Holladay (on organ) jams with son Tommy on guitar. On drums is Griffin Kisner, a Jazz Camp alum along with Tommy.

Holladay, 25, is now ready to spread his musical wings. In May, he completed his master’s degree from the New England Conservatory of Music. That followed his undergraduate studies at the Berklee College of Music, another acclaimed Boston music school.

His father, Mark, himself a noted blues organist, couldn’t be more proud of his son’s chosen career path.

“I’m especially happy that he’s starting to fulfill his dream of being in New York,” said Mark, vice president of drug discovery and medicinal chemistry at San Diego’s Ambit Biosciences. “He’s starting to rub elbows with the best musicians in the world.”

As for how Mark’s musical prowess compares with his son’s, the father puts it this way: “He surpassed me at about age 14 or so. He’s got natural talent and a huge amount of determination. He’s worked very hard to achieve his high level.”

A graduate of Scripps Ranch High School, Tommy credits Extension’s Jazz Camp with inspiring him to grow as a musician and composer.

“One of my instructors [Geoffrey Keezer], challenged me to write my first jazz song ever,” he recalled. “I had written other songs in the past, but they were rock.  It turned out to be the first time in the history of Jazz Camp that an ensemble performed a student’s song at a recital. The experience of performing my song was very fulfilling. ”

Along with pursuing nightclub gigs and teaching private guitar lessons in New York, he’s also taking a few online classes from Harvard in computer programming.

“I don’t know if I’m going to pursue computer programing as a career,” said Tommy. “For right now, I’m ready to take my music as far as I can go.”

  • Datebook: Mark Holladay’s group, Soul ORGANization, welcomes featured guest Tommy Holladay. Friday, Sept. 26, 9: 30 pm, Seven Grand Whiskey Bar, 3054 University Avenue, San Diego, CA 92104.


Extension’s Annual Career Showcase: And a Hovering Quadcopter Shall Lead Them


GREETINGS: UC San Diego Extension’s Natalie Johnson welcomes attendees at the Continuing Education & Career Showcase. Photos courtesy of Erik Jepsen, UC San Diego Publications staff photographer


WHIRLING DERVISH: The quadcopter drone proved a popular sight, both in flight and at rest.







UC San Diego Extension presented its annual “Continuing Education & Career Showcase” on Thursday night, Sept. 18, attracting nearly 400 attendees, most of whom seek to enhance their current careers or chart a new career path.

A total of 14 career workshops were presented by Extension instructors, including those on Career Opportunities in Sustainability; Career Advancement; Careers in Marketing; and Healthcare Master’s Degree Programs.

A session on Innovative Technologies in Engineering featured a live demonstration of a quadcopter drone in flight. Sized at about 24 inches wide and 12 inches high, the device features four small, spinning propellers that kept it aloft. Its hovering movements were dictated by a technician holding a remote control monitor, much like a model aircraft.

The device came equipped with a mounted GoPro camera, developed by acclaimed inventor Nick Woodman, a UC San Diego graduate whose world-wide company is now valued at nearly $3 billion.

Extension’s “Continuing Education & Career Showcase” was held at Extension’s UCC campus.


More Than a Village: Exploring the Dynamics of School-Community Engagement

Morgan P. Appel, Director, Education Department

Effective community engagement is the lifeblood of the educational endeavor. Even those reforms foisted upon institutions from on high require broader buy-in from those impacted by sea changes (or incremental changes) in education. For the most part, our schools do a decent job of soliciting involvement from parents and communities. On many occasions these ventures involve cultivating resources to support particular activities or interests—but empirically, we find that master plans for involvement fall by the wayside in the shadow of equally compelling instructional or staffing issues. Too often, we find that involvement comes on an ‘as-needed’ basis and that retrenchment and shortfalls preclude meaningful planning and execution of long-term strategies.

At a recent institutionally sponsored professional development conference, this topic was explored in some depth by Education Department staff and school faculty. Fundamental questions and themes revolved around bringing more stakeholders into the fold and creating social capital around instructional and community objectives. The audience was asked to consider challenges and barriers that might frustrate this process in an honest way—and not surprisingly, many pointed to a plentitude of ‘feel-good’ activities but with an undercurrent of community uncertainty about the school’s roles in the larger political landscape and in fostering genuine change. These reflective comments provided unique occasion to explore the essential characteristics of community engagement, namely:

  • Fluid and Dynamic
  • Contextually Grounded/Different for Every School
  • Loosely-Coupled and Shared
  • Reciprocal and Involving, Assets-Based
  • Accommodating and Welcoming, focused on Equity and Equality
  • May be Issues Focused/Needs-Based
  • Meaningful and Sustained (versus Interest/Connectedness)
  • Ambiguous at Times, Exact at Times
  • Difficult to Assess in Two Dimensions/Moving Target
  • Social Capital and Change Agentry (building support and capacity for change)
  • Lends Voice and Empowers
  • Rooted in the Culture of the School/Cultural Proficiency


Building from these characteristics, the assembled faculty examined metrics associated with community engagement—some fairly conventional, others not so much. They included the following:

  • Number and types of partnerships with local organizations
  • Perception and reputation of the school site and school community (beginning with local leaders and institutions)
  • Parent participation in school community events and boards/committees
  • Faculty staff participation in community events and organizations
  • Faculty and staff perceptions about involvement in community
  • Perceived impacts of the school and school community as part of the broader community (including trust)
  • Perceptions about access to school and school community
  • Outreach efforts by type and perceived impacts of those efforts
  • Articulated vision or plan for community engagement (including insight into those who crafted the vision/plan)
  • Cultural competency/proficiency measures and other assessments of engagement
  • Diversity of engaged stakeholders (same people all the time?)
  • Quality of engagement (ongoing/sporadic) and opportunities for leadership
  • ‘Flow’ of community engagement, including outreach and types of communication
  • ‘Place’ engagement holds within school community’s hierarchy of priorities
  • Slack and flexibility
  • Capacity to undertake community engagement activities at the site and at the local education agency
  • Meaningful opportunities for engagement (type and frequency)
  • Perceptions about leadership and power sharing within the school community
  • Sustainability and perceptions about sustainability
  • Time dedicated to the effort in the short- and longer term

Following these discussions, best practices in community engagement as defined by the academic literature and proven practice were reviewed in consideration of future implementation. These included the following:

  • Ensure that the school site and organizing agency commits time and resources to engagement and that engagement is a recognized and rewarded part of the job (capacity)
  • Site and organizing agency must have a clear message and vision for community engagement (even if a detailed plan is not in place)
  • Importance of context and changing circumstances
  • Be an observer and a listener before anything else (anthropologist / historian spirit)
  • Undertake pre-assessment activities prior to action to identify strengths and shortcomings in community engagement. Use members of the larger community to gather and make sense of data.
  • Consider who is at the table at the outset—and who is not there
  • Ongoing professional development in cultural competence for the entirety of the school community
  • Collaboratively developing a community engagement plan and associated metrics (living document)
  • Working with key members of the community to broaden the circle, including viable strategies (home visits, etc.)
  • Gradual build out using change agentry/social capital (start small and grow)—build foundations
  • Ongoing redefinition of community and successful community engagement
  • Ongoing assessment that identifies barriers to engagement (can be/should be led by community members for most honest responses)
  • Always customize based on a robust and informed understanding of community needs (no magic bullets)
  • Make long-term investments that become deeper and more sophisticated over time
  • Work cooperatively to help build capacity within the community beyond campus
  • Always Empower and use an Assets-Based perspective
  • Understand histories and power dynamics both within and outside of the school community
  • Attend to generational issues if and where they are present
  • Value peer-to-peer learning and power sharing (genuine)
  • Use proven community organizing approaches (local when possible)
  • Importance of two-way communication, facilitated by identified liaisons
  • Provide structured opportunities for intercultural interaction at the school site (synergies, shared experiences across cultures)
  • Promote community resources and provide guidance and support to families as needed
  • Avail transportation and child care and provide resources at low or no cost
  • Provide opportunities for the local community to better understand and navigate the education system, from K-20.
  • Use trainer of trainer model as engagements and trainings expand
  • Importance of culminating/closure events
  • Create campaign events that are sustained and ongoing
  • Involve the engaged community in policy efforts that are mutually beneficial and attend to the needs of the campus and its students (school house to state house)
  • Invest in trust and confidence building—always
  • Community building—always (and recognize definitions may change)
  • Use technologies wherever possible to cultivate virtual community

Broader practices and metrics discussed within the context of the presentation were believed to offer a solid foundation upon which to scaffold more localized and contextually sensitive efforts—both at the school and at the University.

For more information about this post, the presentation, or the Education Department’s work in schools, please contact Morgan Appel, Director, at mappel@ucsd.edu.

Extension’s OSHA Training Courses Expand to CSU East Bay Campus

9-8-14 NEWSROOM, NEW OSHA FACILITY, EAST BAYUC San Diego Extension’s OSHA Training Institute Education Center courses have a new home in downtown Oakland, at California State University, East Bay’s Oakland Center.

Located in the Trans Pacific Centre Building, the educational facility offers a wide variety of safety training courses, including Federal OSHA-numbered offerings and other industry-specific safety classes.

The classroom facility is located adjacent to the City Center BART station and the Oakland Marriott Hotel. The address: 1000 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94607.

Cal State East Bay offers OSHA compliance training as a host site for UC San Diego’s OSHA Training Institute Education Center (OTIEC) in areas including fire safety, confined space, electrical standards, fall protection, industrial hygiene, Maritime, and Train the Trainer courses.

Classes are scheduled to begin in Fall 2014 with an OSHA 5109 – Cal/OSHA Standards for the Construction Industry course beginning Oct. 13 and an OSHA 511 – Occupational Safety and Health Standards for General Industry course beginning Nov. 17.

For a full list of current classes, visit osha.ucsd.edu/Oakland.

One of the original OTIECs, UC San Diego Extension has provided occupational safety and health construction and general industry standards based education since 1992.

In addition to the U.S. Department of Labor OTIEC courses, Extension has a long history of providing courses in safety and health management and training, hazardous materials waste management and emergency preparedness.

From Real Estate to Alcohol/Drug Abuse Counseling: “This is Something I Was Always Meant to Do”

Lou Binford: "Getting through the first year is always the biggest challenge."

Lou Binford: “Getting through the first year is always the biggest challenge.”

Lou Binford spent more than 25 years in real estate sales, successfully.

Three years ago, he decided it was time to change careers, to try something different.

Now he’s an alcohol and drug counselor, specializing in juvenile recovery, at Vista Hill in Kearny Mesa.

Sober for the past 33 years, Binford completed UC San Diego Extension’s Professional Certificate in Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counseling – 11 courses in all – earlier this year.

“It’s a great feeling to help anyone recover their life, no matter what their age, but especially young people,” he said. “It’s a matter of developing coping skills, building self-esteem and forming a positive attitude about who you are.”

Clearly, addiction knows no age barriers. And recovery is never guaranteed.

“Getting through the first year is always the biggest challenge,” said Binford. “We have the most success with clients who stay sober for more than a year. Once you plant the seeds of recovery, you try to convince them they have other options.”

Binford finds curious similarities between his previous and current roles.

“You’d be surprised how much alike they are,” he said. “In real estate sales, you try to get clients to talk about themselves and what they want from their lives. You’re always problem-solving. Same with the process of recovery.”

Binford, who has lived in San Diego for 23 years, gratefully reflects back on his sales career as being a source of prosperity for him and his family.

But his current role is much more: “This is my calling, something I was always meant to do,” he said. “Addiction has the power to destroy lives. And recovery has the power to rebuild them.”


Living the Sober Life, Helping Others: “I Learned I Made the Right Decision”

Zana Kerr: "I was able to get the help I needed."

Zana Kerr: “I was able to get the help I needed.”

Zana Kerr knows much about her chosen field – drug and alcohol counseling – because she’s been on the other side.

“After I got sober and into recovery, I decided that I wanted to make a career change,” said Kerr, a former County parks ranger in Balboa Park for 14 years. “I felt I wasn’t doing enough to help people who needed the kind of help I got.”

Thus motivated, she earned her UC San Diego Extension Professional Certificate in Drug and Alcohol Counseling in 2012.

“It turned out to be life-changing for me,” she said. “I learned I made the right decision to get sober and that I had an aptitude for counseling.”

For the past year, she has served as a recovery counselor for Episcopal Community Services. She counsels clients who have been arrested and, in most cases, convicted of driving under the influence (DUI).

Born and raised in Ireland, Kerr earned a biology degree from University College in Dublin. She moved to San Diego more than 20 years ago, after winning a visa lottery in her native country.

In recent years, bouts with drinking and drug abuse convinced her that she needed to get sober. Through recovery programs offered by AA and other clinics, she got her life under control.

“I was able to get the help I needed, but there are so many people out there who need the kind of help we provide,” she said. “I’m grateful to be in a place where I can do that.”

Amid the emotional turmoil of counseling, she’s also grateful for her outlets: “I have two dogs, I go to the beach, I read, I do whatever I can to get outside and breathe the fresh air.”

Writing Instructor Judy Reeves: “I Love Putting Words Together to Make Sentences and Paragraphs”

Judy Reeves: "I write because I love the language."

Judy Reeves: “I write because I love the language.” Photo: Erik Jepsen, UC San Diego

Editor’s note: Judy Reeves, a published author and UC San Diego Extension instructor since 1999, values the dual crafts of writing and teaching as  her life’s essentials. Her daily routine is not only what she does, but who she is.

Through the years, Reeves has been an Extension instructor for a total of 62 writing courses – and counting, though she’s taking this quarter off. While the subjects she teaches vary, she holds true to one overriding tenet: “You can teach the basics of the craft,” she says. “But the passion has to come from deep inside.”

Here are some of her reflections:

On writing:

I don’t know if anyone can really give a reasonable explanation for why they write. I write because I love the language. I like the way words fall against one another to create images. And from that, feelings arise, along with memories and dreams and possibilities.

“I love putting words together to make sentences and paragraphs. Luckily, I found out early on (in 3rd grade) that I loved writing sentences and playing with language. I’ve been doing it ever since.”

On teaching:

“I’ve heard many stories of kids who used to play school when they were young, and they were always the teacher. As a little girl, I never played school and I never thought of being a teacher – because I always knew I’d be a writer.

“Somewhere in my late 30s and early 40s, I found myself standing in front of groups of people, telling them how to do things based on what I’d learned and experienced myself.

“The more I did these presentations, the more I loved it. And the more I loved it, the more I connected with people and their stories. It’s this connection that makes teaching so rewarding for me. I love the spontaneity of working live in the classroom or with groups. It’s always about what we create together.”

On writing as a discipline:

“As writers, like other artists and creative people, we are easily seduced by our work. The creative process really can cast a spell. We forget to eat, forget to sleep, forget to move our bodies; we become isolated and self-centered – because the work becomes everything.

“I think we forget we’re merely human – physical beings in a physical world, fragile and susceptible to all manner of ills, of the body as well as the spirit.

On the gift of creativity:

“Our creativity is a gift, whether it’s writing, visual art, dance, music, cooking a delicious meal, crafting a beautiful vase, building a cabinet, decorating a lovely room – and these creative gifts are meant to be shared.”

On the importance of writing every day:

“If we don’t write every day – or at least five days a wee k – we lose touch with our writing muscles. Our imagination goes brittle, our words hide out. As a result, we feel bad about ourselves, maybe a little guilty, embarrassed or ashamed.  So my advice is simple: Write every day, even if only for 10 or 15 minutes. Then give it half an hour. Who knows what can happen?”

Her First Healthcare Byline: “This Seems Like Something I Should Know More About”

Tracy Hume: "All the classes had a high degree of academic rigor.”

Tracy Hume: “All the classes had a high degree of academic rigor.”

When free-lance writer Tracy Hume first learned about health information technology, she hadn’t written anything about the field before.

But the term “HIT” kept coming up in labor-market studies she perused while writing such projects as higher-education grant proposals.

“I thought, I should look into that,” she said. “This seems like something I should know more about.”

After checking out several on-line programs, she decided to enroll in UC San Diego Extension’s Specialized Certificate program in Health Information Technology.

Upon completion of the eight-course program in 2013, Hume now considers herself reasonably knowledgeable in the field. As proof, she points to her recent first byline in Healthcare IT News, an on-line publication devoted to HIT. The article, themed on “meaningful use,” is her first in the healthcare information technology field.

In healthcare IT, meaningful use is defined as a set of criteria for the use of Electronic Health Records (EHR) to improve patient care by healthcare providers.

“HIT is all about hospitals and physicians finally replacing their paper files with electronic files, a huge undertaking,” said Hume, who earned a psychology degree from the University of Colorado Boulder and resides in Greeley, Colorado. “It seems like healthcare is the last big industry to adopt technology.”

A free-lance writer since 2006, Hume has special praise for Extension healthcare instructors Noam Arzt and Leslie Bruce.

“Both had deep knowledge of the subject matter and ran their classes in a way that maximized learning,” she said. “I was pleased because all the classes had a high degree of academic rigor.”

Career Talk: A Conversation with Alex Guazzelli, instructor, “Predictive Analytics with PMML”



A monthly series of conversations with interesting UC San Diego Extension instructors and leaders

What’s predictive analytics and what does it mean for our every-day lives?

In this 20-minute interview, you will learn the latest developments from Alex Guazzelli, an expert in brain neurology who’s responsible for developing the core predictive technology for Zementis, a San Diego-based technology firm.

A UC San Diego Extension instructor in PMML (Predictive Model Markup Language), Guazzelli manages all scientific aspects and advanced analytics for Zementis. View his video presentation.

Guazzelli has more than 15 years of experience in the fields of neural networks and machine learning. A native of Brazil, he holds a Ph.D. in computer science from USC and a master’s and bachelor’s from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil.

Selected “Career Talk” quotes from Guazzelli:

  • “I’ve always been fascinated by how the brain works and how we process information. That’s why I love what I do. It’s the science of creating a mathematical representation for every-day life, to learn and predict behavior in much the same way the brain does.”
  • “Our job is really to allow companies and organizations to use their data in a very efficient way through predictive analytics. We facilitate that by offering a scoring engine – which is basically a prediction engine. Then we apply the knowledge that is embedded within that model.”
  • “Surprisingly, the biggest challenge of computers is to solve mundane tasks. Like making coffee in the morning – a robot doesn’t do that. We all know that iPhone’s Suri  recognizes a lot of words and phrases, but with my [Brazilian] accent, she has a hard time understanding me.”

This Career Talk Radio podcast is part of Career Channel. You can subscribe to Career Talk Radio via iTunes.


Upcoming: Jacole Kitchen, Instructor, “Acting II: Intermediate

Topic: “Overcoming Stage Fright: What’s So Scary about Acting Class?”

Jacole Kitchen

Jacole Kitchen

As casting director and artistic associate at the San Diego Repertory Theatre, Kitchen works with ever-changing casts of professionally trained actors who have devoted a lifetime to their craft.

With her theatre-arts students at UCSD Extension, as well as non-actors who desire to gain confidence as public speakers, she seeks to cultivate a different sort of devotion.

“No matter what kind of actor you are,” said Kitchen, “once you start digging, you’ll find the honesty of your character and the truth of the script.”


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