Program launch at LA Regional Food Bank inspires students to give over vacations and beyond
Regardless of the season, USC’s Keck School of Medicine places great emphasis on serving members of its local community. With that in mind, 16 first- and second-year medical students joined three senior leaders from the Keck School’s medical education department on December 11 for a morning fruit-packing morning at the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank. .
The event marked the relaunch of Keck to the community, a program first launched in the fall of 2019. Designed as a way for incoming students to get to know each other, meet Keck School leaders and dive in In community service during freshman orientation, the program spans 15-18 sites across Boyle Heights, East LA, Lincoln Park, El Sereno, and downtown.
“We were excited to present the program, but then of course the pandemic hit and we had to hit the pause button,” recalls Donna Elliott, MD, EdD, vice dean of medical education and president. of the medical education department. . “We’re excited to be starting things over again, and the event at the LA Regional Food Bank was a great way to do that, especially since it’s that time of year where giving and giving back is on all the way. our radar.
Dr. Elliott and her colleagues Ron Ben-Ari, MD (associate dean of study program) and Tanisha Price-Johnson, MD (associate dean of student affairs), worked side by side with students at Keck School on the food bank floor. Collaborating in person, says Dr. Elliott, was a welcome opportunity to re-engage after a long period of distance learning.
“Our sophomores spent the last year on Zoom, and our freshmen are just starting out at Keck School,” she says. “It gave us all a chance to come together and bond while doing something important.”
This spring, Keck in the community will benefit from a more formal rollout: Keck School will integrate it into the school curriculum as an experiential component of the longitudinal course on Health Justice and Care Systems. Under the auspices of the program, all first year students will spend half a day volunteering with a community organization.
Dr Elliott says the program is a natural extension of The Keck School’s commitment to community service. “By making Keck official in the Community, we are telling everyone that this is who we are,” she says. “At Keck School, service is our raison d’être.