View From the Chair


The next step in compiling a strategic plan begins this week. It is the most difficult of three steps that the Western Association of Schools and Colleges required us by May to complete. Clay Tellers, of ECG Management Consultants Inc., has been charged with creating the document, which will rank strategic priorities at the university for the next five years.  


This report will play a critical role in decision-making. It will pinpoint programs that cannot afford to be continued. It also will describe opportunities for new research and educational programs. Using careful analysis, the plan should set a course that leads to growth.


The last strategic plan was an accelerated version. It covered only two years from the last time the Western Association of Schools and Colleges visited in 2009. That plan expires in June. The new one has much more to take into account: a new set of trustees, a new nursing school, even a reinvigorated King Hospital that will re-open under new leadership. 


The critical issue, for us, is time. What usually takes six months to complete must be done in less than half the time. Moving quickly, deans from the College of Science and Health, College of Medicine, School of Nursing, as well as the heads of Administration and Research selected faculty and staff to meet weekly. In small group sessions of six to eight people, they will do the heavy lifting.


Everyone’s help, though, is needed to shape the plan. Open forums will be held. A short survey also will be sent out, asking for your thoughts on the university’s mission, its vision. Once Mr. Tellers sorts through this information, the Board of Trustees will have a subgroup that helps vet the report. Then, the board will vote on the document.


Still, this point bears repeating. I urge you to contribute. When surveys are sent out, I ask you to please return them quickly. When open forums are scheduled, please share your thoughts.  


It will be a challenge to complete the strategic plan in the timeframe allotted. But we have risen to such challenges before, and we will again.





M. Roy Wilson, M.D., M.S.
Board of Trustees


New Grant Funds Program to Link Parolees with HIV to Services

AIDS United recently awarded a five-year grant to the Center for Health Justice, and its partners, Charles Drew University and the O.A.S.I.S. Clinic to link HIV-positive people to care and services.


The funding, provided through the Access 2 Care initiative, develops the Positive Parolee Network. The program provides medical treatment and support for those on parole from state prison, and living with HIV.

The virus is about three times more likely to be found in prisoners than the general population.  


Nevertheless, on release, many parolees are not linked quickly to medical services and antiretroviral treatments that can lower their viral load, maintain their health, and reduce the risk of passing HIV to others, said Nina T. Harawa, Ph.D, a researcher and assistant professor at Charles Drew University.  


Both Dr. Hawara and Charles Hilliard, Ph.D., clinical director of SPECTRUM/Drew Center for AIDS Research, Education and Services will represent the university on the project. “This award is an excellent opportunity for CDU to continue and enhance its important work of providing culturally competent services to underserved populations,” Dr. Hawara said.   


The project contains a couple of key points that help distinguish it from others, Dr. Hilliard said. First, parolees will be matched with peer mentors, who have faced similar barriers in getting support and receiving treatment for their health.  


Second, project participation is incentivized with cell phone minutes. For many new parolees, pre-paid cell phone plans run out before the month ends; it is conceptualized that this will prove to be a powerful incentive to remain in the program, Dr. Hilliard said. 


“We think these particular program components can be effective in working with this population,” Dr. Hilliard said. “With increased linkage to medical care and support services, individuals will be more involved in self-care, including utilizing protection, thus prevention will be a big part of the outcome,” said Dr. Hilliard.

Said Cajetan Luna, executive director of the nonprofit group in Hollywood that's focused on HIV and incarceration: “We are also thrilled to be working in collaboration with The O.A.S.I.S. Clinic and Charles Drew University, two institutions with a long history of providing services to underserved populations here.”



Report Shows Percentage of Giving From Those With Ties to CDU 


A recent report from the Office of Development showed that roughly four out of 10 financial donations at the most generous levels came from those with ties to the university.

The latest 2011 Donor report listed 164 people who gave over the past five years $1,000 or more. Of those,  at least 63 or about 38% were either faculty, board members, or previously served in such roles. Some had an institutional connection, or other form of  relations with the university. 


“These results are encouraging,” said Edna Yohannes, who is chief of staff and directs development at the university. “As we move toward a data-driven, decision-making process, we’re also improving the infrastructure of how dollars are recorded.”


The monthly report, which tracks donations of $1 or more, helps the university demonstrate to other potential donors how much the CDU family supports its own cause.

The higher percentages shown, the better able the university’s development office believes it has of converting potential donors into stakeholders.

The current results will be useful in courting dollars, as the Board of Trustees has begun asking for major donations. For this reason, Ms.Yohannes asked those seeking funds from major foundations to consult Blanch Ross first to avoid overlapping efforts with the board.

Currently, the Mission Maker campaign, another fundraising drive that supports the university, its mission and its students will provide further proof to large donors of how staff and faculty believe in the university.

Since launching the campaign late last year, about 80% of the funding came from CDU’s faculty, staff and board members, said Ms. Ross, who compiled the report. The fund has reached half of its $50,000 goal.


News in Brief



Public Lecture Series

Dr. Toni ELBoushi, director of Human Resources, will hold a Career Development Workshop on Mon., Mar. 21 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Keck Lecture Hall on the university's campus, 1731 E. 120th St., Los Angeles. The event is part of the Public Health Lecture Series, sponsored by the College of Science and Health, Urban Public Health Program.




Medical Student Thesis

The Medical Student Research Thesis Program , where students present their formal findings on

health care disparities, will be held Wed., Mar. 23, in Keck Lecture Hall. Alcohol Abuse, Emergency Medicine, Health Policy, Internal Medicine and other topics will be explored. The event runs from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the Charles Drew University campus, 1731 E. 120th St., Los Angeles.




Longer Library Hours


The Health Sciences Library opens for extended hours for another weekend  this month. On Sat., Mar. 19 from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Sun., Mar. 20 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.








Good News Radio

"Good News Radio Magazine," a weekly broadcast, inspires people across Southern California. Co-hosted by Nell Forge, Ph.D. and Charles McWells through the university's Division of Community Engagement, their program can be heard on KTYM-AM 1460 or  from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesdays. For more information, call


Become a Mission Maker Today

The Mission Maker campaign has raised half of its $50,000 goal. If you would like to donate to the campaign, which supports the university, its mission and its students, then please contact Blanch Ross. She can be reached at 323-563-4992, or at  


Please send news items or comments by email to, or call 323-563-4983.


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Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, 1731 E. 120th St., Los Angeles, CA 90059

Phone: (323) 563-4800

Charles Drew University is a private, nonprofit, nonsectarian, minority-serving medical and health sciences institution.  Located in the Watts-Willowbrook area of South Los Angeles, Charles Drew University has graduated more than 550 medical doctors, 2,500 post-graduate physicians, more than 2,000 physician assistants and hundreds of other health professionals.The only dually designated Historically Black Graduate Institution and Hispanic Serving Health Professions School in the U.S., CDU is recognized as a leader in translational and health inequities research. Recently, the CDU/UCLA medical program was named “best performer” in the University of California System with respect to producing outstanding underrepresented minority physicians, according to the Greenlining Institute.