DGSOM Dean Kelsey Martin Stepping Down to become Director of the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative

July 8, 2021

Dear Colleagues:

We write to share the news that after six years as dean of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA (DGSOM), Dr. Kelsey Martin will be leaving UCLA to serve as the director of the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative in New York City. Her last day at the DGSOM will be September 1.

The first woman to serve at the helm of UCLA’s medical school, Dr. Martin took up the position of interim dean in 2015 before being appointed permanent dean in 2016. During her tenure, she helped establish the Institute for Precision Health, the Department of Computational Medicine, and a master’s program in genetic counseling — all efforts aimed at furthering data and genomic sciences in medicine. She also oversaw the implementation of a new admissions process, redesigned the medical school curriculum, restructured the DGSOM Global Health Program with an enhanced focus on building partnerships in low- and middle-income countries, and created a new research theme for the school: Health Equity and Translational Social Science.

One of Dr. Martin’s most significant contributions to the DGSOM has been the Cultural North Star Program, a shared framework and set of values designed to guide decision-making, problem-solving, and collaboration at the school. In line with these values, she spearheaded efforts to foster an inclusive environment at the DGSOM, developing the school’s Anti-racism Roadmap and appointing its inaugural vice dean for justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion. She also invested heavily in team science, overseeing the move of 33 labs into the south tower of the Center for Health Sciences and establishing seed grant programs to support the formation of cross-disciplinary research teams. 

Thanks to Dr. Martin’s capable leadership, the DGSOM just passed its eight-year reaccreditation by the Liaison Committee for Medical Education and is well positioned to continue serving the health needs of our region and world. While she will be deeply missed, we wish Dr. Martin the best as she takes up a position at the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative that both capitalizes on her skill as an administrator and her background as a molecular neuroscientist with expertise in memory storage. 

We will ensure a smooth leadership transition for the DGSOM and will announce plans to this effect shortly. In the meantime, please join Chancellor Block and us in thanking Dr. Martin for her service to UCLA and congratulating her on her new role. 


Emily A. Carter
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost