Imagine getting a cancer diagnosis — and then having to drive more than an hour each way for surgery and follow-up appointments. That’s the dilemma Antelope Valley residents were facing until Keck Medicine of USC came to town.

Monish Aron, MD, professor of clinical urology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, began seeing patients at Palmdale Regional Medical Center in 2011 and, by the spring of 2016, he had been joined by colleagues specializing in urology, colorectal surgery and breast surgical oncology. The partnership has been such a success that Keck Medicine now has opened a dedicated suite of offices in the medical center at 38660 Medical Center Drive, Suite A200.

Sang W. Lee, MD, professor of clinical surgery and chief of the division of colorectal surgery, was enthusiastic about the new arrangement.

“To have a consolidated space here where urology and colorectal surgery can see patients — I think it’s a must,” Lee said. He also highlighted the need for specialized care in the region. “We’re the only colorectal surgery service in the whole Antelope Valley. The fact that patients can get the same quality care here that they get at USC makes a huge difference.”

Breast surgical oncologist Maria Nelson, MD, assistant professor of clinical surgery, noted that physicians will be able to offer the same procedures available at Keck Medicine’s Los Angeles locations. “I’ve already ordered the same equipment I have at (Keck Medical Center), so patients in Palmdale will be able to get minimally invasive surgery,” she said.

Palmdale gave Keck Medicine a warm welcome to the new dedicated suite with an open house on Sept. 21 that included representatives from state and local government, the Palmdale Chamber of Commerce and an appearance by Julyssa Renteria, Miss City of Palmdale 2017.

Chris Jones, Regional Operations Director for Keck Hospital, is optimistic about the partnership. “When people see that they can get USC care, they’re going to want to come here. It’s a very good facility, and I’ve met a lot of the leadership and staff. Everyone is committed, everyone is engaged, and that’s what you want. It’s going to be a great collaboration.”

— Lex Davis