A physician-led initiative to create a code of professional standards for Keck Medicine of USC took center stage during a weeklong celebration to end October.

Professionalism Week from Oct. 26–30 engaged staff across Keck Medicine to develop a set of professional standards. Events were held at Keck Hospital of USC, USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and USC-Verdugo Hills Hospital.

The project grew out of discussions among Keck Medicine physicians and administrators regarding the costs of incivility in the workplace and the benefits of establishing a defined professional culture across the organization.

“We have a renewed institutional commitment to promoting professionalism,” said Kiran Dhanireddy, MD, assistant professor of clinical surgery and director of transplant quality. “It’s important that leaders become role models and engage the whole community to develop a collective sense of professionalism — to create something that’s meaningful to every person who works at Keck Medicine of USC.”

The new standards will be created based on input of staff members across the organization, resting on the pillars of excellence, judgment and civility, Dhanireddy added.

“Professionalism Week is a conversation with the goal of bringing staff and physicians together and encouraging them to share their ideas of what professionalism looks like to them,” Dhanireddy said.

A mobile art installation known as an Art Wall will serve as a canvas for staff members to share opinions about professionalism in the workplace. Beginning Monday, the Art Wall will be on display for three days in the main lobby of Keck Hospital of USC main lobby. On Thursday, it will move to the clinics lobby of USC Norris Hospital. On Friday, it will be in the 4th floor lobby at USC-Verdugo Hills Hospital.

Ideas generated during Professionalism Week will be used to develop themes that the Committee of Champions — an interdisciplinary team of physicians, staff and administrators — will turn into a credo to be adopted by the medical system.

The process to develop this statement will be collaborative and transparent. “This credo will influence nearly all aspects of our professional lives, defining who we are and how we behave,” Dhanireddy said.

— Douglas Morino