By Alison Trinidad

USC has recruited four physicians specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders that affect hearing, balance, speech, swallowing, sleep and facial function to join its faculty physician practice.

Leading otologist and surgeon Rick A. Friedman, MD, PhD, has been named professor of otolaryngology and neurosurgery at the Keck School and division director of otology, neurotology and skull base surgery. An expert in acoustic neuroma care, Friedman will begin seeing patients who suffer from diseases that affect the ears, balance system and skull base at the Keck Medical Center of USC this month.

Eric J. Kezirian, MD, MPH, joins the Keck School from the of the University of California, San Francisco. A professor of otolaryngology, he is internationally recognized for his expertise in the surgical treatment of snoring and obstructive sleep apnea, and is the only surgeon in Los Angeles specializing in the field.

Facial plastic surgeon Jon-Paul Pepper, MD, and laryngologist Lindsay S. Reder, MD, have been named assistant professors of otolaryngology at the Keck School. Pepper specializes in facial reconstruction, facial paralysis treatment and aesthetic procedures of the face, focusing on the improvement of both function and appearance of the head and neck. He will begin seeing patients in the fall.

Reder, who recently completed a fellowship in laryngology at Harvard’s Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, begins seeing patients with voice and swallowing disorders this month.

“Research is an integral part of any academic medical center, and this group of physicians exemplifies USC’s translational aim to bring scientific innovation to the patient bedside,” said Carmen A. Puliafito, MD, MBA, dean of the Keck School. “We’re pleased to welcome them to the Trojan Family.”

“What makes our academic medical center unique is the combined expertise of leading specialists in different ares of medicine,” said Scott Evans, PharmD, MHA, CEO of Keck Hospital of USC and USC Norris Cancer Hospital. “Our patients look for the best of the best. This team of leading head and neck physicians represents just that, and is a prime example of why we are a trusted leader in academic medicine.”

Friedman, who has served as associate clinical professor in the Graduate School of Hearing Communications at the Keck School since 1998, brings more than $2 million in research funding from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, and will direct a research lab focusing on the study of the hearing disorder genetics.

Kezirian, board certified in otolaryngology and sleep medicine, has published studies concerning surgical evaluation techniques such as drug-induced sleep endoscopy, the selection of procedures to improve outcomes, and novel treatments for snoring and obstructive sleep apnea.

Pepper’s research interests include facial nerve reanimation via implantable electrodes, and ultrasound use to enhance sentinel lymph node biopsy in the head and neck. He has conducted award-winning research at Stanford, Harvard, Michigan and the National Institutes of Health.

Reder has research interests in minimally invasive management of airway scarring and narrowing, endoscopic surgery for early stage laryngeal cancer, adaptation of robotic surgery for transoral laryngeal surgery, and quality of life outcomes.

“This team of doctors are among the best and most experienced in their respective sub-specialties to broaden the scope of USC’s existing clinical and research otolaryngology program,” said John K. Niparko, MD, professor and chair of the Department of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. “Keck Medicine patients are the real winners, having access to experts who are passionate about helping them get back to their daily routines.”

“USC’s physician specialists are experienced in helping restore the health of patients who suffer from a full spectrum of disorders,” added Tom Jackiewicz, MPH, senior vice president and CEO of USC Health. “We are pleased that Drs. Friedman, Kezirian, Pepper and Reder will enable us to serve a wider range of patient needs.”