“I'm the fourth generation of doctors in my family.”
Isaac Yang's father, grandfather and great-grandfather were all physicians, so needless to say, he had a pretty good idea of what his future path would be. “I graduated from Berkeley and I went to UCLA, so I'm a complete product of the University of California,” he says. “So coming back here was like coming back home.” Today, Dr. Yang is a neurosurgeon specializing in the surgical treatment and clinical outcomes of adult brain and spinal cord tumors.
“Of all the things that you can hear in this world, ‘you have a brain tumor’ might be one of the scariest. I really felt for those patients. I really found that this was my passion.” Here at UCLA, Dr. Yang sees the opportunity to treat people with brain tumors in a safe, effective, minimally invasive way. “So they can go back to work faster, and preserve their functions – smiling, and hearing. We want to treat people the way we would want our families to be treated. It's more than just being skilled. It's about being compassionate,” he says with a smile.
A principal investigator at the UCLA Brain Tumor Program, Dr. Yang's extensive research interests include optimizing brain tumor clinical outcomes, novel nanoparticles against brain tumors, and experimental glioblastoma therapies like brain tumor vaccines. In 2014, Dr. Yang was recognized as the faculty award winner for the Humanism in Medicine Award at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine. “I was humbled and honored to be recognized. I was grateful for the mentors I had, and I'm proud to be a mentor for passionate students. I'm helping them develop into people who will help make a difference in the world.”
One of the things Dr. Yang appreciates about UCLA is that they encourage everyone to be who they are, to be true to themselves. “They recognize and see that difference in each one of us, and they cultivate it. They nurture it. And then they use all these different pieces to come together to develop something bigger and better than its component pieces, to create this beautiful institution. UCLA encourages us to pursue our passion. That helping people isn't just what you do as a job for a salary. It's about making a difference. And I love being surrounded by that every day.”
Additional Employee Videos:
Carl, Rehab Department
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Anna, Sr. Patient Liaison
As a Sr. Patient Liaison in the Office of Patient Experience, Anna has the opportunity to use her communication skills to help patients and their families have a better understanding of the care they're receiving at UCLA Health.
Wendy, Clinical Care Partner
Wendy loves to help people, and she gets to do that every day as Administrative and Clinical Care Partner at UCLA Health. Working in Oncology, she greets patients, listens to their concerns and lets them know that "we're there for them."
Kim, RN - Orthopedics Unit
Kimberly is Unit Director for a surgical inpatient unit at UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica. Working at UCLA has afforded Kim the opportunity to be involved directly with patient care and support staff nurses at the bedside.
Deidre, IT Adoption & Engagement
Deidre started her journey as a Physical Therapist, but soon found another way to help people with her passion for technology. Today she is a Director in the Information Services and Solutions department of UCLA Health.
Bethany, Clinical Laboratory
A Clinical Laboratory Scientist Supervisor, Bethany works in the Blood Bank Lab at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. She welcomed the opportunity to return to UCLA, which is her undergraduate alma mater.
Before joining UCLA Health, Emerita worked outside of health care in customer service positions. In her Housekeeping role, the work she does impacts patient care and satisfaction. In her words, "Patients will always remember the way they were treated."
Meggie, Neurological Rehab
As an Occupational Therapist in the Neurological Rehab Unit at UCLA Health, Meggie helps patients get back to their everyday tasks. Teamwork is essential to success in her field, and it's one of the reasons she's happy to be at UCLA Health.
Karen, MRI Tech/Radiology
Karen started as an Intern with UCLA Health and is now working as an MRI Technologist at UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica. In her role, she uses CICARE to make patients feel comfortable and have the best experience possible.
Chris, Emergency Medical Tech
When he was 16, Chris began his journey as a Fire Explorer. As soon as he had the chance to take the EMT test, he went for it. Now he's happy to be working in UCLA's Critical Care Transport Department as an Emergency Medical Tech
Paul, Chief Administrative Officer
Paul Watkins is Chief Administrative Officer for UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica. He points out that the new Santa Monica facility was designed with the patient in mind, so that all of the services flow around the patient. For Paul, being at UCLA has been "a phenomenal experience."
Jerome, Performance Excellence
Jerome began his journey with UCLA Health more than 22 years ago as a work-study student. He worked his way up to become a Manager in Hospital Transportation Department. Today he holds dual roles in the Transportation and Performance Excellence Departments.
Louise, Management Service Officer
When Louise was a surgery patient at UCLA, she fell in love with the organization. She started working as a Billing Clerk in 1986 and her journey continued. Now she's as a Management Service Officer with the Faculty Practice Group in Santa Monica.
Administrative Fellowship Program – Group 2
Michael Burke (2012) and Lily Roh (2013) talk about their experiences in the UCLA Health Administrative Fellowship Program. This 12-month program provides young leaders with hospital management and administrative training in all aspects of an academic medical center.