In solidarity with the organization White Coats for Black Lives, faculty, staff and students from across the Health Sciences Campus, including USC Verdugo Hills Hospital, congregated recently to join a nationwide observance of eight minutes and 46 seconds of silence.

The duration of silence measured the length of time a Minneapolis police officer held his knee on the back of George Floyd’s neck after he had been handcuffed and pinned to the ground on May 25. Floyd, 46, lost consciousness and died, sparking a national wave of protests and outrage.


Physicians, staff and students gathered near Keck Hospital of USC, at the Harry and Celesta Pappas Quad and at USC Verdugo Hills Hospital for the June 5 event. Attendees represented each of the schools, divisions and clinical departments located on the Health Sciences Campus, including the Keck School of Medicine of USC, the USC School of Pharmacy, the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC, the USC Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy, and the USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy.

In a memo to notify the Keck Medicine community of the event, Rod Hanners, interim CEO of Keck Medicine, and Laura Mosqueda, MD, dean of the Keck School, made clear that attendance was voluntary and asked participants to wear masks while doing their best to maintain social distancing. Those who could not attend were encouraged to participate remotely.

In an email sent to the Keck School’s faculty, staff and students, Mosqueda and Ricky Bluthenthal, PhD, associate dean for social justice, wrote: “It is time to eradicate racism for good, and we are committed to taking immediate action.”

The USC Black Lives Matter March took place the following day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

— Landon Hall and Kate Faye