By Josh Grossberg
Students from across the country came to Los Angeles in July to get some real-world advice on careers in health care from staff at the Keck Medical Center of USC.
The USC Diversity in Healthcare Leadership Initiative connects students interested in health industry jobs that are not directly clinical. To do that, attendees focused on topics including administration and policy.

Participants this year included Sevanne Sarkis, administrative director of community benefit and outreach for the medical center; Leslie Miller, manager of health information; Alicia Syres, director of volunteer services at the USC Norris Cancer Hospital; Josie Drury, director of business operations; Sanjit Mahanti, executive administrator of hospital performance for Keck Hospital of USC and USC Norris Cancer Hospital; Ben McLarin, director of information technology; and Bryan Hickey, nurse recruiter.

This year marked the third time Sarkis attended the outreach event, and she noted that the event seems to grow more popular each year. When she started, there were eight students participating. Since then, the number has grown to 30. “These kids are amazing,” she added. “They already volunteer, and they have terrific experience.”
LaVonna Lewis, PhD, MPH, professor of public policy and director of undergraduate programs at the USC Sol Price School of Policy, started the event in 2002. Since then, 200 college-age students have participated. “It’s really eye opening for the attendees,” she said. “They have no idea of the range of possibilities in heath care. This way, they get a sense of the possibilities.”