Dr. Carol Mangione, Long-Lasting Connections

reprinted from Issue 11, Fall 2010 of Frontiers of Medicine (PDF)

Carol Mangione, MD, MSPH
photo by Noah Berger

"For me, UCSF was all about the people,” says Carol Mangione, MD, MSPH. “The faculty members cared a lot about us, and were extraordinary clinicians and teachers.”

Mangione completed medical school and residency at UCSF, and is now professor of medicine and health services at UCLA, where she holds the Barbara A. Levey, MD and Gerald S. Levey, MD Endowed Chair.

One of her mentors was Eliseo Pérez-Stable, MD, now chief of the Division of General Internal Medicine at Parnassus. He accompanied Mangione on housecalls to a patient with potential elder abuse issues, examining the patient and talking privately with her son. “I felt pretty overwhelmed, but Dr. Pérez-Stable showed me how to let people tell their stories individually, then develop a plan that works for both patient and caregiver,” says Mangione.

As a chief resident at UCSF, Mangione also served as a role model for trainees. “I started thinking about how to create the best training experience for people coming up the ranks, which has been an important career theme,” she says.

Promoting Health of Minority Elders

Mangione earned her master’s in public health at Harvard, where she also served as a fellow under the mentorship of former UCSF Department of Medicine Chair Lee Goldman, MD, and completed additional postdoctoral training at Harvard funded by the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research and the National Institute on Aging (NINIA). She joined the UCLA faculty in 1994.

Her interest in seniors began in childhood. “I grew up across the street from my grandparents, and was very involved in their lives as they grew older,” she says. As a medical resident, she realized the need for evidence-based care for older patients. “There were very few researchers applying strong research methods to the problems older adults have, even though they are huge users of health care,” says Mangione.

Back at UCSF, Pérez-Stable had co-founded the Center for Aging in Diverse Communities, and encouraged Mangione to establish a similar center at UCLA. “That long-term mentoring is so important for mid-level faculty,” she says. Mangione successfully submitted a proposal to the NINIA, and the UCLA/Drew Center for Health Improvement for Minority Elders (CHIME) joined a handful of centers nationwide focusing on improving minority elders’ health and mentoring minority researchers. “So many conditions disproportionately affect older adults from minority groups, and it’s important to mitigate these disparities,” says Mangione, CHIME’s director. “I’m also passionate about making academic medicine a more welcoming place for diverse faculty.”

She also co-directs the UCLA Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program, which trains physicians in areas outside the biological sciences to improve health care systems. Throughout her work, Mangione mentors and partners with many UCSF alumni and faculty. “I left UCSF, but UCSF never left me!” she says.

Mangione is married to Phil Ethington, a history professor. Outside of work, she visits her parents, now in their 80s, and cheers on her two daughters at basketball games and swim meets.

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