Dr. Vicki Simms and her husband, Ron, learned firsthand about the struggles that cancer patients and their families face when Dr. Simms’s father, Ted Mann, suffered from cancer and was treated at UCLA. Since then, the Simms family has been passionate about advancing integrative medicine, an approach that cares for the patient as a whole person: mind, body, and spirit. Their 20-plus years of national experience regarding the topic was the catalyst for funding the Simms/Mann–UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology and creating the Simms/Mann Health and Wellness Center at Venice Family Clinic, the first-ever integrative medicine center at a free clinic.
In the years since its inception, the center has grown to become a nationally recognized model for integrative oncology care. Among its offerings is an acclaimed training program that prepares providers around the U.S. in integrative psychosocial care.
A recent $18 million commitment from the Simms/Mann Family Foundation will enhance the training and support UCLA’s expansion of integrative psychosocial care into communities throughout Southern California through UCLA’s community oncology clinics, which currently number 16 and are expected to expand to 20 by 2021.
The gift to UCLA Health will fund an endowment for the Simms/Mann–UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology, which provides psychosocial care — usually free of charge — to patients and families dealing with the emotional, psychological and physical burdens of cancer and its treatment. It is the lead gift in a new campaign by UCLA Health to create a $50 million endowment for the center.
Psychosocial treatment at the center involves a wide range of individual, family, and group therapy — not only psychiatric care but also educational programs in nutrition, spiritual care, qi gong, and meditation and workshops about topics such as healing through art and preparing for surgery. The center’s mission is to empower patients and families with support that enhances their overall well-being as they go through the many challenges of a cancer diagnosis.
The commitment also will create the Simms/Mann Family Foundation Chair in Integrative Oncology, which — once approved by the UCLA Academic Senate — will be held by the center’s medical director, Dr. John Glaspy, a member of UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center.
“This is truly an exciting and timely opportunity to inspire and train patient-centered leaders and professionals to work together to transform the delivery of cancer care to our communities,” says Dr. Simms. “This partnership with UCLA reflects our mutual belief: Everyone should have access to excellent health care services that focus on the whole person.”
Published March 2020