by Jan Haman
UCLA Health, comprised of 4 hospitals and over 160 clinics, recently announced that Dublin Alumna, Desert Horse-Grant ’96 has been appointed to the position of Senior Director, Clinical Research Transformation at UCLA Health. In this role Desert will serve as a “bridge” between academics (science) and hospital operations. She will provide leadership support on key research initiatives that are ready to be implemented into the clinical environment of the health system. She is the first hire to dual report to the CEO/President of UCLA’s health care system and the Dean of the David Geffen School of Medicine. In a recent email to our Alumni Office, Desert wrote, “My goal is to help innovate and bring more life-saving cures to patients at a much faster rate.”
Prior to her UCLA appointment, Desert was the Director of Strategy and Operations for Seattle Translational Tumor Research across Fred Hutchinson Research Center, UW Medicine, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance and Seattle Children’s Hospital in Seattle, Washington. Previously, Desert spent 13 years at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC), where she held several leadership roles, including helping to design and implement the first cross-disciplinary Brain Tumor Center. She was also the administrator and education director for a multi-million dollar grant, awarded to MSKCC by the National Institutes of Health, “Tumor Microenvironment Network (TMEN): The Role of Perivascular Microenvironment in Primary and Metastatic Brain Tumors”.
In 2015, Desert was named one of 15 Women to Watch by Disruptive Women in Health Care. That distinction spotlights women whose achievements and provocative ideas are advancing health care programs. In 2015 that roster included U. S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and activist and television journalist Maria Shriver. She was also named one of 2015 Women to Watch in Life Science by the Washington Biotechnology & Biomedical Association.
Desert is a graduate of Stanford University where she was the Director of the Stanford Medical Youth Science Program and was active in many American Indian organizations, working diligently to ensure underrepresented minorities are involved in the sciences, often serving as a mentor to such students. She is also the Founder and President of K’U, an ecofriendly, non-profit that provides support to American Indian school children living on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.
Whileat Dublin, Desert was a popular student involved in all aspects of school life, particularly student government, athletics and the arts.