Nearly 100 proud parents got a glimpse of the daily lives of their sons and daughters on Oct. 23 during an annual symposium at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

Family members toured the Health Sciences Campus and heard from school leaders, including Henri R. Ford, MD, MFA, vice dean for medical education, as well as a panel of students during the afternoon event hosted by the Parents Association in Mayer Auditorium.

“Each of your children is an individual to us,” said Raquel Arias, MD, MPH, who holds associate dean positions for admissions and educational affairs and is an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology. “Each of your children means something to us, and we promise you we will give them the care we would give to our own child.”

The symposium, formerly known as the Mini-Medical School, included an overview of the anatomy course taught by Mikel Snow, PhD, department chair of the Department of Cell and Neurobiology and a professor of cell and neurobiology.

“Our goal is to try and prepare students to do really well in the third year,” Snow said. “We have the students engaged heavily in the dissection process, so for us, anatomy is a very active process.”

Six students talked about their experiences, and a recent Keck School graduate gave his perspective on life as a medical resident.

Second-year student Franco Pillsbury said, “Life at Keck is why I really wanted to come here; I was really impressed that everyone was so happy.”

In addition to the school’s efforts to provide a balanced academic experience, students discussed the benefits and challenges of medical school.

“It’s the third year of medical school where you go through the major rotations and you actually get to experience a day in the life of the hospital,” Swetha Ramachandran, a third-year student, said. “It’s really gratifying to see a patient and know that I really did learn something in the first two years.”

The med students had some recommendations for first-year students.

“Coming into medical school, it’s easy to be intimidated,” Ramachandran said. “But I think starting from your first week in med school, you can reach out to a physician or a potential mentor and say, ‘Hey, I’m interested in surgery, can I shadow you?’ Getting that experience early will help guide your path.”

Parents said they enjoyed the preview of what their children should expect over the next few years. The symposium was one of several events that have made the students’ transition into medical school easier.

“USC has made it very comfortable for my daughter to be here and for us as parents,” said Jaye Jo Cooperman, whose daughter Jolie is a first-year student. “Teachers know her name, care about her progress. She has great friends here and she’s happy.”

— Melissa Masatani