The Department of Surgery at the Keck School of Medicine of USC has established a lectureship to honor the memory of Felicia Ann Schenkel, MSN, NP, a beloved member of the USC community who worked at Keck Medicine of USC for 28 years and who died on Jan. 22.

Schenkel was integral in the establishment and success of several prominent programs at Keck Medicine, including lung transplantation, living-donor lobar lung transplantation, heart transplantation, the mechanical circulatory assistance program and, most recently, an innovative telehealth pilot program that dramatically decreased hospital readmissions for lung transplant recipients.

Whether it was through her clinical care in the intensive care unit or in the outpatient transplant clinic setting, Schenkel had an innate ability to connect with patients, her colleagues said. Her quick wit and dry sense of humor helped put patients, their families, and her fellow health care team members at ease and garnered everyone’s trust and confidence. Her colleagues estimate that she touched the lives of thousands of patients throughout her career.

“Felicia embodied the spirit of the Department of Surgery at USC. Her commitment to her patients was her personal passion and one of her guiding principles,” said Craig Baker, MD, chief of the division of cardiac surgery at the Keck School.

Whether it involved patient care, administrative duties, clinical research or the education of the nursing staff and surgical and medical residents and fellows, Schenkel always performed these roles with kindness, dedication, expertise and grace, her colleagues remember. As a result, the Department of Surgery has established the Felicia Ann Schenkel Lectureship. She will be the first non-physician at Keck Medicine to be honored in this fashion.

Department of Surgery Chair Vaughn Starnes, MD, said that the lectureship is a fitting tribute to a much-loved member of the community. “Felicia helped so many patients find comfort and hope,” he said. “This lectureship will train young physicians to continue that mission.”

To make a donation, go to the lectureship’s web page.

— Lex Davis