Favoritism concerns arose after Alfred Sein gained a residency position at the UC Irvine Medical Center in the same month that his father, Michael Sein, donated $250,000 to the radiology department, according to a recent Los Angeles Times article.
UCI officials said that although Sein was not selected through the National Residency Matching Program, which is used to match over 90 percent of medical school graduates to residency programs, there was no connection between the donation and his appointment.
Fong Tsai, director of radiology at the UCIMC, defended his appointment of Sein, saying that Sein was well-qualified and that his selection followed proper procedures.
Michael Sein is the chief of staff at Coastal Communities Hospital in Santa Ana and a volunteer teacher at the UCI radiology department.
The donation went toward the purchase of better equipment and staff recruitment for women’s imaging in the radiology department. According to spokeswoman Farnaz Khadem, Michael Sein had already pledged two $25,000 payments to the radiology department. Tsai also said that Sein donates $3,000 of his monthly salary toward the women’s imaging effort.
Tsai noted that he has wanted to increase the radiology staff, which has had only 22 residencies since 1999. Sein’s appointment created an additional position.
Tsai also said that he was seeking someone who could specialize in the ear, nose and throat, a requirement that Sein said he could fulfill.
Sein’s selection and the creation of the position were approved by Thomas Cesario, dean of the College of Medicine.
Both Tsai and Michael Sein deny that the $250,000 was used to buy residency. Michael Sein said that he and Tsai had discussed the donation since 2004. Although they also discussed Alfred Sein’s residency, Tsai said that there was no correlation.
Sein worked in an unofficial position at UCI’s radiology department in 2004 in order to gain experience after earning his medical degree from Boston University.