To define the vision and strategic direction and develop a better understanding of what core values, goals and strategies matter most at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, leadership has launched a six-month strategic planning initiative. A steering committee is creating this plan with help from AMC Strategies, a Los Angeles-based consultancy group that specializes in working with academic medical centers.

The committee is co-chaired by Keck School Interim Dean Rohit Varma, MD, MPH; Helena Chui, MD, chair and professor of neurology; and Andy McMahon, PhD, W. M. Keck Provost Professor and Chair of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine and Biological Sciences, and director of the Eli and Edythe Broad Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at USC. The committee also includes members from basic science, clinical, educational, Keck Medical enterprise and administrative branches of the organization.

“I am very pleased with our progress so far in this project,” said Varma, who also is director of the USC Gayle and Edward Roski Eye Institute. “It’s very important that we have a solid understanding of what the goals and priorities of the medical school should be going forward, and the strategic planning committee is working hard to accomplish this in the most thoughtful way possible.”

Initial information for the strategic plan was gathered in close to 100 interviews with members from a cross-section of the Keck School, the USC provost and trustees, as well as faculty and staff from Keck Medicine of USC. Several deans from other schools within USC also were interviewed. The committee recently distributed a survey to gather input on the core values and strategic goals that are most important to all students, faculty, and staff of the medical school and medical enterprise.

Environmental assessments also were conducted to gather data in 19 different areas in the categories of research, education, clinical services and resources.

The results will be presented at a daylong retreat Sept. 21 at the Huntington Library and Gardens. During the retreat, committee members will review interview and survey results, as well as key findings from the environmental assessment, in order to discuss and define the vision and goals for the Keck School. Retreat discussions also will include three breakout groups to refine the priorities that should be the main focus of the strategic plan.

Following the retreat, smaller teams will be formed to develop strategies and tactics to address these goals, with recommendations will be presented to the steering committee. The committee then will develop an implementation plan that will be presented to the Keck School as a whole in March of 2017.

For more information on the strategic planning committee, go to

— Amanda Busick