I Will Be Teaching at UCLA

Ucla david getffen school of medicine I have accepted an opportunity to teach medical students at the prestigious David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, starting this September.

After more than 30 years of practicing integrative medicine, I realize that it is time to share what I have learned and what I've been doing with young medical students and medical doctors, as well as the general public.

Through my blog I have been sharing my knowledge with the general public. However, I felt it was a necessity in my life to also be able to train young medical doctors.

Starting this September, I will be teaching a course to second-year medical students called "Doctoring". In this course I will be paired with a psychologist and we will be teaching young medical students how to interview patients, and get their history and how to help patients deal with difficult problems, from drug addiction to a cancer diagnosis. This course is not so much about the science of medicine at the art of meeting with the patient, and meeting their needs.

A recent study in  JAMA showed that if a patient comes to their doctor with more than two complaints, that the chance of the second complaint ever being addressed is 8%. This study was shocking to me as an integrative doctor, because I recognize that the body is an inter — connected web of organs and not just a narrow view of one organ system and one complaint. So knowing ALL the patients symptoms is important.

This course at UCLA is a required course and all medical students must take it. It goes on their permanent deans record that they use to get into a residency program.

I will be specifically teaching eight or nine students throughout the year. I expect it to be a very fun course. That is because UCLA uses what are called "standardized patients". When I heard this expression I asked what it meant?  A "standardized patient" is a professional actor who has been taught and trained to act out all parts of any given disease that the doctors are assigned for the day. The "patient"  will know the signs and symptoms of the disease and they will be able to intelligently answer the medical students questions while the psychologist and I look on and teach the students how to interact with them as a patient.

My partner in the course,who is a psychologist, has been doing this for a number of years and she told me that it is not only very valuable but also can be fun.

I look forward to telling you about the "cases" that we see, but  most importantly I  look forward to helping the students to learn that they must listen to the whole patient, with a compassionate ear.

It is wonderful that medical schools are starting to do this.

What has been your experience with interacting with physicians? Have you had to interact with physicians taking care of a loved one? How has your experience been? Let me know what you think?


About Dr. Soram Khalsa

As an MD, Dr Soram specializes in Integrative Medicine combining diet, nutrition, acupuncture, herbs and nutrition. Visit Dr Soram’s Healthy Living Store where you’ll find high-quality nutritional supplements:

  • Aunt LaLa

    I recently started seeing a new doctor who was highly recommended to me as being very knowledgeable in his field of endocrinology. He was very thorough with his exams, asked me a lot of questions, was personable. But when I started asking questions, he shrugged them off, telling me I didn't need to worry about such stuff as what I should be eating, or what vitamins to take to keep healthy. He said to just eat well, “You should know by now at your age what healthy eating is,” then said he was my doctor and he'd tell me what meds to take to keep me healthy. After my tests came in he personally called me to give me the results. His first comment was, “Well, looks like you and I aren't going to do much business together, all your tests are fine.” When I asked what he meant he would not be specific, but only said he's looking out for me and to go have a nice morning. I was shocked so I had the office send me a printout of my tests. I'm so glad you're going to share your knowledge to the medical field.

  • Mary T

    I have come to a point at age 46, after having one doctor miss thyroid disease for years until my TSH was 91 and another doctor miss a parathryoid tumor that every time I get sick I dread going through the doctors and not being heard when I tell them I promise I know something is wrong with me because I don't feel right at all. “Come back next time……” gets old.

  • Yes Mary
    I am sorry to hear that you were not heard. I encourage you to consider finding a Board Certified Family Doctor or Internist that practices Integrative Medicine. They will probably NOT be in your HMO Or PPO but you will much more likely get heard. Dr Soram

  • Thank you Aunt LaLa!
    What I think he meant was he was happy to had no signs of disease which is what orthodox tests measure. If you know there is more I encourage you to keep reading on your own and look for a doctor who knows that good health is NOT just an absence of detectable disease.,

    Best wishes
    Dr Soram

  • Jim Donnelly

    Dr. Soram, I am an actor with 7 years experience as a Standardized Patient. How can I become and SP at the David Geffen School of Medicine?

  • Hi Jim. Yes UCLA uses Standardized Patients. I would recommend you contact UCLA directly and ask for that deparitment