The Keck School of Medicine of USC has appointed Donna Elliott, MD, EdD, as vice dean for medical education and chair of the Department of Medical Education, effective June 1. In her new role as vice dean, Elliott will oversee admissions and advise the Keck School’s dean on all academic areas related to medical students, including curriculum, educational policy and student affairs.

As chair of the Department of Medical Education, Elliott will be responsible for leading faculty members who have expertise in course/program evaluation, curriculum development, clinical skills assessment, research design, psychometrics and statistical analysis. They also will provide mentoring and support to Keck School faculty and students who are interested in conducting research in medical education.

“Dr. Elliott has had a tremendous impact on the Keck School and our students since she first joined the faculty as an assistant professor of clinical pediatrics in 1989,” said Laura Mosqueda, MD, interim dean of the Keck School. “In addition to training generations of future doctors, she has helped shape the school’s curriculum and has been a tireless advocate for students. She was one of the first faculty members to integrate professionalism and the practice of medicine into our curriculum. I am delighted to welcome her to her new role.”

An expert in pediatric nephrology and a professor of clinical pediatrics, Elliott has had leadership roles in student and educational affairs at the Keck School for more than a decade, most recently as senior associate dean for student and educational affairs. She has led a number of initiatives aimed at increasing student diversity and promoting students’ well-being. In 2017, she launched a student wellness and stress reduction program that includes mandatory mental health evaluations to identify students in need of support. She also helped lead a two-year effort to renew the Keck School’s Liaison Committee on Medical Education accreditation, resulting in a full eight-year accreditation in 2018.

“It gives me great pleasure to be a part of such an outstanding academic institution, with such exceptional students, faculty and staff,” Elliott said. “I’m looking forward to working with the talented faculty and staff to lead the Keck School of Medicine’s medical education program to an even higher level of prominence while continuing to nurture and support our medical students on their professional journey of becoming a physician.”

Elliott is the national chair of the Association of American Medical College’s Group on Student Affairs Steering Committee, a member of the executive board of the National Board of Medical Examiners and a member of the board of the National Resident Match Program.

— Erica Rheinschild