Transition at the Keck School of Medicine

Message to the Keck School of Medicine of USC Community, and the USC Community

From: Charles F. Zukoski, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

I am writing to share the news that Laura Mosqueda is stepping down as dean of the Keck School of Medicine of USC and will take on a new role spearheading efforts to expand and advance geriatrics at the University. Dean Mosqueda’s transition to this role is part of USC’s long-term growth plan for our entire healthcare system.

Dean Mosqueda has made important and lasting contributions to the medical school, USC, and the broader community during her tenure. She stepped into her current role at a turbulent time for KSOM, and with her characteristic intelligence, warmth, and humor, stabilized the school and helped restore a sense of calm and trust.

Under her leadership, KSOM recruited world-class faculty, transformative physicians and staff, and promoted a culture of greater accountability and transparency, delivering on her commitment to ensure an inclusive, diverse, and safer environment. The Office for Health & Biomedical Science Education created by Dean Mosqueda provides much needed support and resources for faculty and students in the master’s and Ph.D. programs, as well as for our postdoctoral scholars. She has an unwavering dedication to KSOM’s students and has been an important role model and advocate for KSOM’s female students, staff, and faculty.

Recognizing the deep ties USC has with Los Angeles and the societal issues facing our city and our country, Dean Mosqueda developed and expanded programs aimed at diminishing disparities in health outcomes, with a particular focus on social justice in healthcare. Her initiatives, including a new Office for Social Justice, an Office on Community Engagement, and the Center for Gender Equity in Medicine & Science (GEMS), have strengthened the school and make an important contribution to the medical profession.

Dean Mosqueda rose swiftly to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. She rapidly established research teams to explore issues associated with the disease and, with the help of the W.M. Keck Foundation, launched a $4 million research program that is transforming our understanding of the disease and how it can be treated. She led KSOM during this critical time and created programs across the University and in the broader community to provide reliable, useful information to promote safety and prevent community spread of the virus.

The devastating impact of the pandemic on older adults exposed existing vulnerabilities that only now are being widely recognized as important in their care, even unrelated to COVID-19. Dean Mosqueda’s deep knowledge, innovations, and leadership skills will be invaluable to the University, the medical profession, and communities in reassessing and reshaping programs in geriatric health and elder justice. To that end, the University will be providing substantial resources to build out a world-class geriatrics program.

Dean Mosqueda will step down September 15, and I have asked Dr. Narsing Rao, the Grace and Emery Beardsley Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology, to serve as interim dean. Dr. Rao, who is a leader in his field of ophthalmology, brings deep knowledge and experience to this role. We are fortunate that he will be aided by an outstanding team already in place and are confident that the transitional period will be smooth while we identify a strong leader for the school.

Dean Mosqueda has led with conviction, courage, and clarity, always with an eye on doing the right thing and treating people with fairness, candor, and respect. Her dedication to ensuring exceptional clinical care, education, and research are foundational to the school. Her willingness to step up at a time of great uncertainty is characteristic of the strong leader she is. Her commitment to equity, both inside KSOM and in how it serves the community, changed the culture of the institution at a critical moment in its history. The school and the community will continue to benefit from what she accomplished as dean and what she will continue to contribute in the years to come.

cc: Office of the President
Academic Deans
President’s Senior Leadership Team
Provost’s Leadership Team
Academic Senate
Staff Assembly
GSG President
USG President