Professional Training
The UCSF Memory and Aging Center is committed to training the future leaders neurology, neuroscience and brain health.

The UCSF Memory and Aging Center (MAC) maintains training programs for many levels and types of learners, ranging from a one-month clinical experience in behavioral neurology to two-year programs providing comprehensive clinical and research training. MAC training is open to students, fellows and experienced professionals from the US and other countries.

Our program aims to create a diverse workforce of leaders focused on preventing and treating brain disorders that cause cognitive and behavioral difficulties to minimize the impact of these disorders in people from all cultures and regions of the world. We stress that understanding the clinical presentations of brain disorders is a bedrock principle for all other aspects of research and care. Through our extensive clinical and research activities, we provide exposure to a diverse array of patients affected by these disorders and pair this with exposure to multiple approaches for advancing knowledge about diagnosis and care. Below is a listing of our current training programs. Training with specific investigators (e.g., postdoctoral research fellowships) may also be arranged by contacting that investigator directly.

Grand Rounds

As part of its commitment to ongoing educational and professional development, the UCSF Memory and Aging Center hosts weekly seminars intended for academics in the Department of Neurology. These Friday seminars feature guest speakers from around the world and our own neurologists, neuropsychologists and cognitive neuroscientists discussing current and upcoming research including topics such as brain and behavior, neuropathology, dementia and cognition.

Diversity at the Memory and Aging Center

Our program considers the importance of diversity in considering both the people affected by brain disorders that cause cognitive and behavioral impairment and the workforce that tries to serve them. The MAC has many activities aimed at expanding the scope and impact of our work to include people from many regions, cultures and disciplines. These activities occur in parallel with efforts at UCSF Department of Neurology and UCSF in general to promote diversity.

Serving Diverse Populations

We recognize the importance of ensuring that all people benefit from the advancing knowledge about threats to brain health and how to mitigate them. Thus, at the MAC, we have created programs that attempt to bridge the gap between new developments in the academic setting and underserved communities. For many years, our program has been a leader in the assessment of cognitive and behavioral complaints in the Chinese American community, and more recently, we have expanded our efforts to reach the Latino community. Both of these programs are enabled by partnerships with Bay Area community centers and community health providers, and we continue to expand these efforts through continued outreach and by seeking additional funding. Recently, we have initiated projects to reach the Bay Area homeless population, which reflects increased attention at UCSF and in California on the problem of homelessness and the attendant threats to health.

Our center has growing collaborations with Bay Area and other community health care providers that serve a diverse group of clients, the goal of these collaborations being to extend cutting-edge assessment and care of cognitive and behavioral disorders to as many people as possible. Some of these community collaborators include the Neurology program at Kaiser Permanente, the Geriatrics clinic at the Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, the Chinatown Public Health Center, Chinese Hospital, the Curry Senior Center, and the Mission Neighborhood Health Center. These collaborations extend to other centers in California, including Fresno and the Greater Los Angeles region, and to collaborators in other states, including Nebraska, New York and Illinois. These collaborations involve training, clinical assessment and research. Through large multicenter research projects, we also have collaborations with many academic programs in the US and many other countries.

Since 2015, our program’s ability to reach a larger and more diverse group of people facing challenges to brain health has been enhanced through the Atlantic Fellows for Equity in Brain Health Program at the Global Brain Health Institute (GBHI). Through GBHI, we train professionals from a variety of disciplines in principles of brain health. Because these trainees come from many parts of the world and many disciplines, they bring important, varied perspectives on brain health that influence the viewpoints of the faculty and trainees at our center. In addition, because they bring additional knowledge and skills about a variety of languages and cultures, Atlantic Fellows enhance our ability to reach people living in the US who come from diverse backgrounds. This robust addition to our program is greatly enhancing the relevance of our work for many individuals in the US and around the world.

Training a Diverse Group of Professionals

Our ability to serve the community is greatly enhanced by the inclusion of knowledge and perspectives from a variety of cultures, backgrounds and disciplines. UCSF, the UCSF Neurology Department and the MAC are committed to the inclusion of professionals that represent this wide variety of perspectives in our training programs.

UCSF maintains the Office of Diversity and Outreach, which is committed to “building a broadly diverse community, nurturing a culture that is welcoming and supportive and engaging diverse ideas for the provision of culturally competent education, discovery and patient care.” This office collaborates with all the professional schools and clinical programs at UCSF to promote inclusion across the school and medical center. Among the functions of this office are providing training, tracking progress toward maximum inclusion, and sponsoring and highlighting events and projects that enhance inclusion at our center in the community. Renee Navarro, MD, PharmD, the Vice-Chancellor for Diversity, has a strong commitment to communication with training programs about their efforts for inclusion, and she serves on the advisory committee for the UCSF MAC’s Behavioral Neurology Training Program.

The UCSF Department of Neurology continually strives to broaden inclusion in our department through multiple efforts. The department has appointed a Vice-Chair for Diversity, Nerissa Ko, MD, MAS, and formed the Neurology Diversity committee in 2014. This committee is currently co-chaired by Winston Chiong, a faculty member at the MAC and GBHI. In addition to coordinating with campus-wide efforts at inclusion, the Diversity Committee consults with Neurology training programs and highlights funding opportunities and campus and community events that facilitate outreach and inclusion. The MAC has taken advantage of funding from NIH and other sources to enhance diversity and will continue to do so.

The MAC works closely with the UCSF Office of Diversity and Outreach and the Neurology Diversity committee to ensure that our programs enhance inclusion, and we encourage all faculty and other team members to participate in diversity training and diversity-related events. In addition, the MAC’s leadership role in GBHI has greatly enhanced awareness and brought new opportunities regarding inclusion. In considering diversity, the MAC recognizes that factors such as race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, regional origins, physical abilities, and family income are among the factors that need to be considered in thinking, but in addition, professional diversity is also important. The categories of professions that can contribute to addressing brain health include physicians, nurses, psychologists, social workers, therapists and genetic counselors, but also go beyond these traditional health care professions. This is why the MAC established a visiting artist program several years ago, and in designing GBHI in collaboration with colleagues from Trinity College Dublin, we included anthropologists, economists, and artists among the types of learners we would include. This has greatly enriched the environment at our center and will help to ensure that the next generation of leaders dedicated to maintaining brain health throughout the world brings a wide variety of skills and perspectives. It also helps to make the MAC training an exciting and thought-provoking experience.

“Walking Alone...The BLAC Experience” is a video designed and produced by the UCSF Memory and Aging Center’s Black Leadership Advisory Council (BLAC), a group established to create a safe space for the Black community at UCSF’s Memory and Aging Center (MAC) to process social justice issues, help fight racism and better support the Black community. Members include staff, faculty, and fellows at the MAC.