UCLA Making Big Mark in Santa Barbara Medical Market

New Player in Town Offers Cancer and General Practice Medicine

Credit: Daniel Dreifuss

UCLA opened its newest clinic, a cancer clinic, in downtown Santa Barbara on Quinto Street early this January. A general practice clinic — with an emphasis on cardio-care — opened on Coast Village Road last August, and another general practice office will open in Goleta this August. This marks significant new competition to Santa Barbara’s medical community, long dominated by Sansum Clinic and Cottage Health.

The new cancer clinic will be staffed by Dr. Daniel Greenwald and Dr. Julian Davis, both of whom formerly worked for Sansum’s Ridley-Tree Cancer Center. Greenwald said he was drawn by UCLA’s academic and research prowess. UCLA is currently involved in 600 clinical trials involving cancer research, 45 involving lymphoma, his specialty. UCLA has pioneered the development of new treatments through such trials. Though this was an easy decision for Greenwald professionally, it was tough to find himself competing with former colleagues. “Over time, we’ll recognize we’re in this together, more in collaboration than in competition,” he said.

However, Sansum’s finance department will definitely feel UCLA’s presence. Its Ridley-Tree Cancer Center treated about 10,000 distinct patients last year, which accounted for 25 to 30 percent of Sansum’s revenues. Sansum is one of the biggest — if not the only — nonprofit medical foundation not affiliated with a hospital in California. Some in the local health community expect UCLA’s cancer operations will give Sansum, which weathered a significant loss of revenues last year because of COVID, greater motivation to seek out a major hospital — such as Cedars-Sinai — to partner with. A proposed merger between Sansum and Cottage Health fell apart four years ago after it became apparent the Federal Trade Commission would not approve the deal.

UCLA began expanding its medical operations outside of Los Angeles eight years ago, but is accelerating its efforts on the Central Coast. It currently operates clinics in Thousand Oaks, Ventura, and San Luis Obispo.

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