Hundreds of Keck School of Medicine of USC faculty, staff and students heard about the medical school’s status and vision from the new dean recently.

Dean Laura Mosqueda, MD, professor of family medicine and geriatrics, and May S. and John H. Hooval Dean’s Chair in Medicine, addressed the audiences during two Dean’s Town Hall events, held June 26 and June 29 on the Health Sciences Campus. She began each event by introducing herself as an alumna of the medical school who devoted the majority of her research career to studying elder abuse and elder justice, as well as focusing on underserved populations. After joining the Keck School to lead the Department of Family Medicine, she became interim dean in October, explaining that she did not have any interest in stepping into the role permanently.

Hundreds of Keck School faculty, staff and students attended two Dean’s Town Halls, held June 26 and 29. (Photo/Ricardo Carrasco III)

“I changed my mind because I started getting out and meeting all the wonderful people here — students, faculty, staff,” Mosqueda said. “And I began to think, ‘Wow, there is a lot of fantastic work going on here and I think there’s a useful role that I could play.’”

As she stepped into the leadership role, Mosqueda said she focused on the school’s recently approved strategic plan that created a vision statement along with core values, which she said include being person-centered and serving the diverse community.

“I learned that the Keck School really is an aspirational school,” she said. “This is still a place that people want to be and want to come.”

Mosqueda also addressed her efforts to work more closely with university and Keck Medicine of USC leaders, as well as the school’s efforts to prepare students for the medicine of the future.

“The students that start next month, they’re going to be practicing medicine in 10 years,” she said. “What are they going to need to know?”

The town halls, which also included a question-and-answer portion, are a regular occurrence led by Keck School leadership. However, Mosqueda encouraged all members of the Keck School to engage in dialogue in order to lead the school into the future.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do and we’ve got to do it together and I have to hear from folks like you in order to understand how we’re going to get it done,” Mosqueda said. “The one thing that will make me unhappy is if we’re having the same conversations about the same problems six months or a year from now. We’ve got to make progress and I’m already seeing it happen.”

— Melissa Masatani