Keck Hospital of USC nurses and physicians were honored recently for their commitment to compassion and exceptional patient care at a special dinner and ceremony marking the inaugural USC Choi Family Awards for Excellence in Patient-Centered Care.

Due to a generous gift from the Choi Family that established the Choi Family Excellence in Patient-Centered Care Endowment, awards will be given annually to honor nurses, residents, physicians and non-clinical staff who consistently demonstrate the ideals of patient-centered care, compassion and excellence. All members of the Keck Medicine community are eligible for these prestigious awards.

Recipients of the inaugural Choi Family Awards were:

Keck Hospital 5 West ICU

Fernando Fleischman, MD

Indika P. Guruge, RN

Patricia Nerad, RN

Raina Sinha, MD

Each individual recipient received $2,000, along with an additional $2,000 for their department and the team received $4,000 to be used for programs, training and activities that support and foster the culture of excellence in patient-centered care. Each recipient’s name will appear on a perpetual plaque installed in a place of prominence at Keck Medical Center of USC.

“We are deeply grateful to the Choi family for their commitment to patient-centered care,” said Tom Jackiewicz, MPH, senior vice president and CEO of Keck Medicine of USC. “From surgeons, physicians, nurses and staff, everyone at Keck Medicine of USC understands that a patient’s outcome is deeply influenced by the commitment and communication of our caregivers. We are devoted to making the patient experience beyond exceptional.”

The ceremony, which was held May 25, was marked by a surprise announcement that the Choi family will be making an additional commitment to the endowment.

“Our family experienced first-hand what this institution stands for — respect, compassion, integrity and professionalism,” said Henry Choi, a USC alumnus.

In addition to the USC Choi Family Awards for Excellence in Patient-Centered Care, The USC Choi Family Patient-Centered Care Endowment also has established the USC Choi Family Patient-Centered Care Symposium and the USC Choi Family Patient-Centered Care Program. The program will foster a culture of service focusing on compassionate, empathetic care and patient advocacy across Keck Medicine by providing training and educational opportunities.

The USC Choi Family Patient-Centered Care Symposium, which will be organized annually and open to all health care professionals at Keck Medicine as well as in the community, will provide education and training focused on compassion, empathy, advocacy and patient-centered care.

The Choi family chose to support the Keck Medical Center Patient Experience Department after a family member received exceptional care from Keck Hospital nurses and physicians, including the recipients of the inaugural award.

“My team and I are very grateful to the Choi family for this endowment,” said Char Ryan, patient experience and employee engagement officer at Keck Medicine. “As they encountered during their stay at Keck Medical Center of USC, the culture at Keck Medicine is the foundation upon which we are able to build upon quality, safety and the entire patient and family experience. With this endowment, we will continue to sustain and grow our culture, as well as be the leader in patient-centered care in the region.”

The Choi family has made previous gifts to support stem cell research at the Eli and Edythe Broad Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at USC, are collaborating with the Broad Center to sponsor an international conference on stem cell research, and have established an artist-in-residence endowment at the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance and a violin scholarship at the USC Thorton School of Music.

— Douglas Morino