Sandy Alcala, MPH, has spent 11 years — as a volunteer, then as a full-time employee — making Keck Medicine of USC a better experience for everyone. Her secrets to success? A deep desire to help people, and a handy pair of flats. 


What is your title and what do you do? 

I’m a supervisor of patient access – volunteer services. I not only strive to make guest and patient visits better, but to keep the hospital itself running smoothly. It’s hard to summarize it, because every day is different — from making sure there are enough wheelchairs to checking in patients for surgery. I always wear flats because I’m all over the hospital during the day. 


How did you start at Keck Medicine? How did that shape your future? 

I was a volunteer here after I got my bachelor of science degree while studying for the MCAT, as I wanted to enroll at the Keck School of Medicine of USC’s MD program. When the opportunity to be hired here came, I took it. It was then that I realized my path was in another direction. There are so many ways to help people besides just practicing medicine, so I decided to go back to school for a master’s degree in public health.* 


What motivates you to do your job? 

I get a great feeling of satisfaction from making sure everything is running smoothly for everyone who comes here. It’s a powerful feeling to know that you’ve improved someone’s life. The hospital doesn’t run because of one person — it takes an army to make it work. My goal is to someday run the VA. This is a really amazing place to start. 

 *Alcala graduated from USC’s MPH program in 2016. 

— Amanda Busick