CTSI Spotlight: Mandana Khalili

September 26, 2012

Mandana Khalili, MD, is a Professor of Clinical Medicine at UCSF and Chief of Clinical Hepatology at San Francisco General Hospital. As part of the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI), she serves as Assistant Director of the Comprehensive Mentoring Program and is director of Mentor Consultation Services. Mandana is very obviously passionate about education, and mentoring in particular, as well as serving uninsured and underensured populations.

Mandana Khalili, MD

How long have you been working at UCSF?

I have been at UCSF for 13 years.

What do you do at UCSF and how is it connected to the UCSF mission?

I am a hepatologist and perform clinical and translational research in viral hepatitis (hepatitis B and hepatitis C) to advance our knowledge of epidemiology, novel therapies, and pathogenesis of disease including that related to metabolic abnormalities and diabetes in liver disease. I am also passionate about education, especially education in research. I am involved in educational activities of the Master’s in Clinical Research Program managed by CTSI, and participate in the teaching activities of both the Gastroenterology and Hepatology Division and the UCSF School of Medicine. My patient care activities are at San Francisco General Hospital (SFGH), serving the underinsured and uninsured residents of SF. We have established many innovative programs at SFGH to improve the care of patients with viral hepatitis as well as other liver diseases, and to improve primary care-specialist care coordination and access to care, with the ultimate goal of reducing health disparity in viral hepatitis in the vulnerable population. Most importantly, I am passionate about mentoring. I serve as a research mentor to trainees from all levels (med students, residents, GI fellows) as well as junior faculty. To improve my mentoring skills and to establish collaborations with other mentors within our institution, I completed formal training through the CTSI Mentor Development Program in 2007 and have since actively participated in the program’s educational activities, including serving as one of the assistant directors of comprehensive mentoring program at CTSI. This program gave me an incredible opportunity to engage in improving mentoring activities within UCSF and I am grateful to both Jeanette Brown and Mitch Feldman, the co-directors of this program, for providing me with these opportunities. In 2011, to enhance university-wide research mentoring activities and to provide additional support to our mentees and mentors, we established the Mentor Consultation Service at CTSI. This is a free and confidential service available to all four schools that provides support in addressing areas such as mentor/mentee challenges, academic advancement, mentoring resources, and other support as needed. We have had great feedback from individuals who have been a part of this program, and we want to continue to let everyone on campus know about availability of such an important service for free to our mentee/mentoring community. My day-to-day activities working at UCSF are closely linked to UCSF’s mission of achieving excellence in patient care, education, and research. 

What are the most challenging and rewarding parts of your job?

The most challenging part of my job is working on finding ways to improve the care of vulnerable populations, especially those infected with hepatitis C and hepatitis B who experience significant health care disparity in this country. The most rewarding part of my job, however, is working on understanding barriers to accessing healthcare in this population, and gaps in our knowledge of disease pathogenesis through research. My research activities provide me with opportunities for educating trainees and mentees, and serve as the platform for exploring interventions and innovative programs to improve the care of patients with liver disease.

What do you like most about working with mentors at UCSF?

The most impressive fact is the quality of mentoring that we have at UCSF. Our mentors are very well rounded and definitely committed to driving UCSF’s mission in providing excellence in education, research, and ultimately patient care. Most importantly, our mentors are always striving to improve their skills and take their mentoring activities very seriously. Our mentors are so passionate about what they do that one cannot help but be inspired by them.

What are some things that people may not know about mentoring?

Most of us assume that great mentoring comes naturally and that we learn by trial and error from our experiences. However, there are mentoring tools and skills that can be taught to really improve our mentoring experience and to ultimately provide the best training opportunities for our mentees. I cannot overemphasize the benefit of these skills, as well as the importance of being part of a mentoring community that involves established and senior mentors. Fortunately, UCSF is unique in that it provides us with both mentoring training activities to improve our skills, but also with opportunities to get assistance when needed through the Mentor Consultation Service. I am not aware of any other institution that provides such comprehensive resources for anyone who wishes to serve as a mentor.

If you chose another career path outside UCSF what would it be?

I love what I do so much that honestly I cannot think of any other career path that is more rewarding than being in academics.

What's something that members of the UCSF community would be surprised to know about you?

This may not be a surprise, but my passion in serving the uninsured and underinsured populations comes from my Canadian medical training at McGill University where we practiced medicine in a universal healthcare setting. 

What are your favorite things to do with your free time?

My favorite things to do are to bike, swim, and read with my three wonderful sons, Shayan and Aidin (3-year-old twins) and my 6-year-old Kian. They remind me every day of my most important responsibility of all, that is being a mom!

CTSI Spotlight is part of an ongoing series that offers an opportunity for faculty and staff to learn more about the wide range of people who make CTSI's work possible. See all featured faculty and staff.