Every Friday Dean Mosqueda sends out an email to all Keck School faculty, staff and students as a way to foster a sense of community and engage dialogue.

January 18, 2019

We are coming to the end of the university’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Week, and looking ahead to honoring the work of Martin Luther King, Jr. on Monday. At this point in time, I think it is especially critical for us to reflect on how each of us promote diversity, equity and inclusion in our lives and our communities.

Monday isn’t just a holiday. It’s an opportunity to examine our role in advancing equality of opportunity for everyone. I’d love to hear from you, and learn how you are carrying forth Dr. King’s lessons and legacy into your lives.

January 11, 2019

I find that a new year is a wonderful time to transition my thinking from reflecting on the past to planning for the future. How do I see myself evolving, personally and professionally, over the next year?

Here at the Keck School, how do we build an even more vibrant environment for current and future students, staff and faculty? What role will you play in contributing to our evolution?


December 28, 2018

Whether you are enjoying your winter holidays at home, on the road, or with patients, I hope you take a moment to reflect on the past year and all we have accomplished together. It’s also exciting to think about the good things to come!

I look forward to working with you all in the year ahead and remain grateful for your dedication and compassionate care. Warm wishes and a happy New Year!

December 21, 2018

Happy Winter Solstice! And, in case you haven’t noticed, there are a few other holidays coming up pretty soon.

No matter what your religion, race, gender or ethnicity, Christmas and Kwanzaa are wonderful reminders of the core values that we all share. Among them are charity, grace, unity and community. These qualities can guide and inspire us, individually as well as school-wide.


November 30, 2018

“Ouch! You’re crushing my hand.”

I heard a mom say this to her boy as they were staring up from the bottom of an escalator. He was so afraid of stepping onto it, and his fear was preventing him from moving forward at all. After a bit of reassurance, he loosened his grip and they ascended without difficulty. In fact, he had a big grin on his face by the time he got to the top!

We tend to hold on tightly when we’re afraid. Letting go (even if just a little) may be just what it takes to overcome our fear.

November 21, 2018

Dear Keck School staff,

I hope that you have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday surrounded by the people you love. Thank you for all you do for our wonderful school.

Gobble gobble,

Dr. Mosqueda

November 16, 2018

Our smoky skies are a visible reminder of a tragic few weeks. Between mass shootings and wild fires, I can’t make sense of the losses. As we see our friends, neighbors and communities suffer, let’s make sure that we come together. Whether donating to relief agencies, advocating for policy change or simply checking in on our neighbors, we can take action to care for one another.

November 9, 2018

Lately, the violent, racist and callous rhetoric I’ve heard leaves me disheartened. And then the central message of the Hindu Festival of Lights, Diwali, gives me hope: “the victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance”.
Let’s hold on to that idea and carry it forward.

Happy Diwali!

November 2, 2018

The recent shootings in Pittsburgh and Jeffersontown, Kentucky, made me think about the process of “othering.” When we see people as the “other”, we give ourselves permission to treat them as less than human.

This is a time to remind ourselves and each other of our common humanity and to behave in a way that honors even those with whom we disagree.


October 26, 2018

In a meeting I attended last week, one person congratulated another on her recent achievement. In that moment, the mood of the entire group shifted — we went from focusing on minutiae of the meeting, to joy for her and celebration that her hard work had paid off.

Take a moment to celebrate, not for you, but for somebody else. A great way to get a jolt of happy hormones is to cheer a colleague’s success.

Saying “congratulations,” or spreading good news is good for everyone, including you!

P.S. Boo! Happy Halloween.

October 19, 2018

Here at the Keck School, I see a strong passion for social justice. From students who stand in solidarity with survivors of sexual abuse to the scientists studying how racial disparities affect health outcomes, we take enormous pride in the work that we do to make our communities better for everyone.

One of the most important ways we can put our beliefs into action is to vote. The elections on November 6 – local, state and federal – will influence our lives for years to come. The deadline to register to vote in California is this Tuesday, Oct. 22. You can register online at https://registertovote.ca.gov. I hope that you each will take the opportunity to make your voice heard.

October 12, 2018

Why is it so easy to be rude when communicating by email? How is it that our average email exchange can escalate from respectful to offensive in just a few quick keystrokes?

I find it much easier to be offhand or abrupt when I don’t have to see or hear the person I am addressing. It makes me think about how important tone, body language and facial expressions are to our communications. Here’s a radical idea to consider: just pick up the phone and talk! (Oh, the irony of asking you in an email to talk to people on the phone!)

October 5, 2018

Last weekend, I visited the Norton Simon Museum and met The Stone Breakers, a painting by George-Pierre Seurat’s. When I looked very closely, I saw strokes of color that were beautiful but made no sense. It was only when I stepped back that I saw a complete picture.

We often dig deep into details, hoping those details will bring us clarity. But clarity may actually come when we step back and view the bigger picture as well.


September 28, 2018

Did you notice a slight chill in the air this week? No? Well, the temperature may still be hovering in the 80s, but it is officially fall. I think of fall as a time of transition when small changes occur over weeks that slowly take us from hot summer days to chilly winter nights.

Fall is a time of uncertainty — is it going to be hot or cold today? Do I need a space heater or the air conditioning? Uncertainty can make us uncomfortable because we just don’t know what to expect. But change is constant, and I’m trying to appreciate the alterations as they happen, even when I’m unsure what tomorrow will feel like.

September 21, 2018

The other day, I was in such a hurry that I was really late.

Let me explain.

I was running late to an important meeting, and in my rush, I ran out of the office without my phone. I had to run back upstairs to get my phone before hurrying out to the parking garage. As I walked up to my car, I realized I had left my keys on my desk. I texted my office, and my assistant ran downstairs to give me the keys. I finally got in my car and out of the garage when I noticed I had forgotten my notes for the meeting. I decided to head off without them. Luckily, I still had my brain!

If I had only taken a few moments to calmly prepare and think before I rushed out the door, I probably would have been on time to that meeting. Lesson learned?! Well, at least for a little while….

September 14, 2018

“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”
-Unknown

We have the opportunity to choose how we view events, people and situations. This mindset doesn’t mean we ignore the thorns or pretend they’re not there — they are, and they can cause pain (not to mention a nasty infection)! Rather, it does mean that we recognize the beauty and opportunity that may be present at the same time.

September 7, 2018

There are two New Year’s observations coming up this week: Rosh Hashanah and Muharram. Both the Jewish and Islamic traditions use these days as a time of reflection, contemplation, mourning and peaceful thoughts. All of us, no matter what our faith or tradition, can benefit from setting aside some time for these worthwhile activities.

Shana Tovah (a good year) to all.


August 31, 2018

I don’t multitask. I’d rather turn my attention as fully as possible to one thing at a time. That time to focus can be hard to carve out of our day when we’re in a rush and have hundreds of people and requests competing for our attention. And yet, I find that focusing on just one task is also the most efficient thing to do. It means that we slow down — just a bit — and give ourselves the time to do each thing well. No clean up will be needed later because we pushed “send” too soon or didn’t provide clear and complete information to a colleague.

Let’s hear it for monotasking!

August 24, 2018

Do you go through your day with rose-tinted glasses, or is your view more of an angry red?

We tend to see the world through the lens of our moods. When we’re happy, we let that car cut in front of us with a cheerful wave. When we’re angry, we glare and display a different kind of wave. Being aware that each of us might perceive the same event differently — just because of our mood — might help us remember to keep our glasses clean and rosy.

August 17, 2018

Next week, I will be officially installed as the dean of the Keck School. (With the term “installation” I’m not sure if I feel more like carpet or plumbing)! Preparing for this ceremony has led me to reflect on core values, both those of the Keck School and my own.

Our core values should reflect those things we hold dear. When confronted with difficult situations, we may draw upon those values and use them to guide our decisions.

This is a good time for all of us to think about our core values and ensure that our actions are in keeping with them. What are your core values? I’d love to hear from you, and learn how your values impact how you live your life.

August 10, 2018

Now is a time for new beginnings: new students, a new interim president, a new dean (I’m not really that new, but I still have that “new dean smell”).

Although the past year has been a difficult one we are now presented with an opportunity to start afresh. I invite each of you to let go of lingering negativity while we hold onto the lessons we’ve learned. Let’s begin the fresh new year with a fresh new outlook.

August 3, 2018

In my rush to get out the door, I forgot my cell phone. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize this important fact until I was a mile away from LAX where I would catch a flight to D.C. Luckily, it was only a one-night trip and my iPad was in my bag. After a moment of panic, I realized that it felt kind of liberating. I enjoyed the excuse to disconnect a little bit, and guess what? The world kept turning even when I couldn’t check my email.

Here’s my challenge to you: find one day, one afternoon or even one hour this week to put the cell phone away. Enjoy that time to connect with others or just to watch the world go by. Try it and let me know how it goes!


July 27, 2018

I was in a meeting the other day, across from someone whose opinions were so vastly different than mine that as he spoke, negative thoughts started running through my brain…

“Well, it’s obvious that I’m right and you’re wrong”
“Why don’t you just see things the way I do? How hard can that be?”
“You are so wrong, I can’t even listen to you speak anymore!”

Finally, I stopped listening to my negative thoughts and started listening to my guest, hearing what he had to say. It became clear that we actually share a lot of fundamental values and could agree on some important points.

Lesson learned: don’t allow my assumptions and bad feelings to win out. I’ll certainly try to remember that the next time I’m in a difficult meeting!

July 20, 2018

I’ve been traveling this summer, and recently was in an airport where I heard that finding a rideshare pick-up location was nearly impossible. And so I didn’t really look for one. I expected to have difficulty, and so I did — until I finally asked a staff person who directed me to the highly visible sign that said, “Rideshare Pick Up.” If I had entered that situation with an open mind and a willingness to accept new information, I would have seen that sign!

We all are affected by confirmation bias, that tendency to interpret information so that our beliefs are confirmed while rejecting information that conflicts. It’s good to recognize when this occurs and take corrective action. It’s fun to open our minds and embrace surprises because only then will we be able to adapt to what comes our way.

July 13, 2018

Dear Keck School faculty, residents and fellows,

The height of summer brings the beginning of a new academic year. While we prepare to welcome many new students to our campus, this is also a time to welcome new faculty members. There are those new to our Keck School family and, also, those new to their titles. To our new assistant, associate and full professors — congratulations!

 

Dear Keck School staff,

Thanks to the diligence and support from you —our wonderful staff — the Keck School is ready to embrace a new academic year. Your smiling face and kind words may be among the first experiences our new students and faculty encounter when they arrive here. Every member of our staff has an important impact on our school, and so thank you for taking the time and the effort to go the extra distance.

 

Dear Keck School medical students,

The beginning of a new academic year is always exciting. We welcome new people to the Keck School family and advance another year in our studies. Remember how important you are as role models and mentors. Please take an extra moment to appreciate the impact a kind word or helping hand might have and be ready to extend that kindness to those who are following in your footsteps.

 

Dear Keck School master’s and PhD students and post docs,

The beginning of a new academic year is always exciting. We welcome new people to the Keck School family and advance another year in our studies. Remember how important you are as role models and mentors. Please take an extra moment to appreciate the impact a kind word or helping hand might have and be ready to extend that kindness to those who are following in your footsteps.

July 6, 2018

I’ve had the chance over the last few weeks to hear from many of you at a series of town halls. I appreciated the sense of engagement and enthusiasm expressed at these meetings. While many issues were raised, one that I heard loud and clear was the importance of assuring that people have a meaningful voice in decisions that affect our Keck School community.

It is vital that your voices are not only heard, but that they have power. Over the next few months, there will be new people, policies, and opportunities in place to move us in this direction. There will also be more town halls (for example, at CHLA and ATRI) and I appreciate your patience as we get these set up.

I look forward to working with you and hearing from you!


June 29, 2018

Next week, we will celebrate the Fourth of July – an opportunity for us to reflect on what it means to uphold American values. Many of our colleagues are veterans who made great personal sacrifices to support and defend this country. Many honor those values by speaking out and speaking up against injustice wherever it is found.

No matter our political bent, we can all strive to live up to the best of America’s ideals – justice, equality and opportunity. And while we often talk about our independent spirit let’s also remember that we are truly interdependent, needing each other to thrive.

I hope that you have a wonderful holiday. Happy Fourth of July!

June 20, 2018

In light of the disturbing actions taking place along our national border, I felt it necessary to reach out to you today, rather than waiting for my normal Friday message. Over the past few weeks, I’ve seen the heartbreaking images of children being separated from their parents who are crossing our borders. I’ve seen the looks of disbelief, fear, and inconsolable grief. As a medical community, we know the long term harm that traumas have on children’s lives. Numerous studies have shown the dramatic impact of traumatic childhood experiences on our physiology, psychology and health behaviors,
significantly increasing the risk for illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, and cancer and a host of mental health problems.

As a medical school, we are devoted to the health of our communities and our society as a whole. While today’s new executive order allowing families to remain together is a step in the right direction, it is our obligation to advocate for humane and compassionate treatment of vulnerable people regardless of our government’s policies.

June 15, 2018

If you aren’t at least a little tense at this time of year, chances are that someone around you is.

While we settle into summer and enjoy the blooming of the jacarandas, many of us are also rushing to prepare for the new academic year, as well as the new budgets, new recruits and new projects it brings. We’ll be welcoming new interns and colleagues into our ranks! And as we look ahead and prepare for what is next, let’s remember to practice self-care in the here and now. Tomorrow will come, so let’s be calm, well-fed and well-rested so that we enjoy it.

June 8, 2018

Ramadan Mubarak. Happy Ramadan.

Many of our colleagues are observing Ramadan right now. For those of us who are not observant Muslims, there is much we can learn from this holiday. It’s a time of abstinence and charity, a time to reflect and be grateful, and a time to celebrate with family and community. It reminds us that examining our foibles and weaknesses can help us be happy, generous, strong and compassionate.

June 1, 2018

We’re going through some difficult times and it’s made me think more deeply about what we stand for at the Keck School. The recent incidents provide us with an opportunity to talk about what we want to be as a school, what values we want to live by, and how we can best achieve our goals.

From caring for patients and each other to teaching and advancing research – when we act responsibly and ethically we can inspire those around us.


May 25, 2018

I can say with confidence that it has been a rough week at USC. Here’s how I see it — we should trust ourselves, rely on ourselves, lead ourselves at the Keck School. We each need to engage more now than ever before.

We must also stay focused on our jobs here: to take care of patients, educate our students and engage in world-class research. I think many of us share a strong moral compass and need to support each other at this time.

We cannot veer from what we believe to be right.

May 18, 2018

If you see something, say something.

Problematic behavior — in patient care, education or research — cannot and will not be tolerated. We each have a responsibility, both personal and professional, to report inappropriate conduct when we see it. And to keep reporting it until the problem is addressed even though we won’t always agree with how it’s being addressed.

My commitment to the safety and welfare of our patients, students, faculty and staff is steadfast. Working together, we will make things better.

May 11, 2018

Faculty:
If you can feel the hum of energy and anticipation in the air, you know it must be Commencement season. It comes like clockwork every year but seeing the excitement on the faces of our students never gets old.

Please look at the graduating students with pride. Each and every faculty member, whether active in the classroom or not, has contributed to the growth of these students. They are the future of medicine and healthcare, and we should be proud of our role in preparing them to succeed.

Staff:
If you can feel the hum of energy and anticipation in the air, you know it must be Commencement season. It comes like clockwork every year but seeing the excitement on the faces of our students never gets old.

Please look at the graduating students with pride. Each and every staff member, whether working directly with students or not, has contributed to their growth. They are the future of medicine and healthcare. And you should be proud of your role in preparing them to succeed.

Medical Students:
It’s Commencement season at the Keck School. I want to convey my hearty congratulations to all students — both those of you who are graduating and those who have completed another year of your studies. I am so honored to share this moment with you for the first time as dean.

This is a joyful time, and you may be anxiously looking ahead to see what is coming next. As you move on to your next stage, I hope you take the time to appreciate your accomplishments, and everything you have done to bring you to this place.

Master’s and PhD students and post docs:
It’s Commencement season at the Keck School. I want to convey my hearty congratulations to all students — both those of you who are graduating and those who have completed another year of your studies. I am so honored to share this moment with you for the first time as dean.

This is a joyful time, and you may be anxiously looking ahead to see what is coming next. As you move on to your next stage, I hope you take the time to appreciate your accomplishments, and everything you have done to bring you to this place.

May 4, 2018

What sets the Keck School apart from other medical schools? One thing is research.

The strength of our research, from basic to translational, is central to our position and prestige. I have recently had opportunities to speak with many of our scientists, and I am fascinated by the high-caliber work being done here. The studies conducted by faculty, staff and students — from proteins to policy — impact the health and health care of people today and tomorrow.

I hope that everyone has a wonderful weekend, y feliz Cinco de Mayo!


April 27, 2018

I am so proud and honored to represent the Keck School as its dean. A dean’s role is multifaceted, but my guiding principles are those of support and service — for our students, our staff, our faculty, our patients and our community.

The support I have received — on so many different levels — as interim dean has been critically important to me. I will continue to rely on our Keck School community for inspiration, assistance and feedback.

As a school, we do our best work when we support each other. Thank you for the help and encouragement you have given to me.

April 20, 2018

This Sunday is Earth Day, an annual event when we are reminded to pay attention to the environment. In addition to caring for our physical environment it’s good to care for our interpersonal environment as well.

An unexpected act of kindness towards others may not only make their day better, but yours, as well. It might be stopping to help a patient who is struggling to get out of her car or offering a compliment to a co-worker on a job well done.

That unexpected act of kindness can reverberate across our campus, creating a tangible improvement to our school environment. Now go pick up that piece of trash, too!

April 13, 2018

Spring is a season filled with anticipation, a strange emotion which is neither good or bad, which can bring excitement, anxiety, and joy… all at the same time.

Here on campus, we are looking ahead to welcoming new students, new residents and new faculty members. We anticipate how these new faces will change our routines and change our lives.

The natural tendency to focus on what is coming is sometimes so strong, we stop paying attention to now. Change is coming and we must not let our attention drift from what’s important today.

April 6, 2018

Words are powerful tools that can build us up and tear us down. When a message is delivered with bitter words or bitter attitudes, delivered in haste without a moment of reflection, delivered without compassion for the other person’s situation we accomplish little. But thoughtful words of criticism promote change and lead us to a better place.

To members of the Eastern Orthodox Church, I hope you have a Happy Easter this Sunday.


March 30, 2018

We have all heard the adage, “patience is a virtue,” but how many of us apply that phrase to our daily lives?

True patience is more than just being quiet while we wait exasperatedly for someone else. I might silently resent the person who can’t find her wallet in that gigantic purse and is holding up the whole line when I just want a cup of coffee, but that’s not being patient. Being patient really means giving others (and ourselves) a moment of grace.

March 23, 2018

In a year in which we have seen a lot of change at the Keck School, I am proud that we recently saw our ranking in US News & World Report rise to No. 32 in the nation. That ranking is quite an achievement, and it is a testament to the hard work of everyone who is a part of the Keck School.

That rise feels good, but a high ranking is not our goal, in and of itself. Our true goal is to do our best, and the ranking is just an indicator that we are on the right path. If we are delivering excellent patient care, accomplishing high quality research and providing an outstanding education, the rankings will reflect that good work.

This ranking is evidence of your hard work. Thank you.

March 16, 2018

The skies have been stormy this week, and the fog and rain can make getting around treacherous. However, as much we dislike the grey, wet weather, it does make us appreciate the sunshine that comes afterwards.

These storms are natural and necessary — they clean the air and lead to new growth. Perhaps this is good to keep in mind when we experience the storms of adversity in our daily lives.

On a parting note, I want to wish a happy Nowruz to everyone who celebrates.

March 9, 2018

Stress. We know it can bring out the worst in us. Many of us even get stressed about not doing more to relieve stress!

Working in the medical field, you know that stress affects our health and well-being. So, please do something right now — take a nice long breath, in and out. Good. Now do that twice more. Repeat throughout the day, every day.

If you’re feeling stressed and in need of a little extra help, please contact the USC Center for Work and Family Life.

March 2, 2018

The world around us could use more civility these days.

We live in a time in which difficult or uncomfortable discussions need to be had. We must commit to courtesy and respect, even when (and especially when) we disagree. We set the tone for behavior in our workplaces. We each have the power to model civility in our day-to-day lives. Civil behavior engenders trust and productivity in our classrooms, offices, labs and clinics.

On a parting note, I want to thank all of those who supported the Keck School’s successful LCME visit this fall. Your hard work resulted in our full eight-year accreditation!


February 23, 2018

Being prideful is often thought of negatively, but at the Keck School, we have a lot to be proud of. As members of our community, we do amazing work every day with our patients, our students and our research.

We do a good job and we should all be proud.

This week, I also want to wish everyone a happy Lunar New Year. I hope the year ahead is filled with good health, happiness and prosperity for all of us.

February 16, 2018

I know that not everyone chooses to celebrate Valentine’s Day, but it is a nice reminder to invest time and attention in those we love. Sometimes, we get so caught up in our work that we forget to make that investment. We should make the time to nurture those important relationships — both family and friends — because they make our lives richer.

This week, I hope that you will each do something special for someone you love.

February 9, 2018

“Thank you”.

Those two little words mean a lot: that we see you and recognize that you did something good and appreciate it. Those two words have weight and meaning and value — both to the person who says them and to the one who hears them. Those two words can even be an inspiration.

We don’t say those two little words often enough, either at home or at work. Let’s all try to say them more often this week.
Thank you.


January 12, 2018

The flu has hit Southern California hard this year. To those of you who are under the weather, I hope you are feeling better soon. To those of you who are doing well, thank you for holding down the fort.

I wanted to let you know that you may not see me on campus for the next couple of weeks, as I will be on vacation — also known as practicing work-life balance! These weekly messages will be on hold until I get back on campus Feb. 5.

Thank you for all you do.

January 5, 2018

I hope you are as energized for the beginning of this year as I am!

We ended 2017 on a high note, with the completion of a successful LCME visit. We are now starting 2018 with the announcement of a wonderful new recruit — Dr. Hugo Rosen, as the incoming chair of the Department of Medicine, effective May 1.

I can’t welcome Dr. Rosen without acknowledging the big shoes he has to fill. Dr. Ed Crandall led the Keck School’s Department of Medicine for more than two decades, and I look forward to continuing our work together in his new role as Vice Dean for Strategic Initiatives.


December 29, 2018

The New Year is fast approaching. Before it arrives, we have a chance to renew and recharge before we rush headlong into 2018.

I encourage you to pay attention to your own well-being. We need to care for ourselves before we can care for others — both in our personal and professional lives.

I look forward to working with you all in the months ahead.

Warm wishes and a happy New Year!

December 22, 2017

I hope you are enjoying a wonderful and peaceful holiday season, taking time
to appreciate all that we have.

I know that I am grateful for all of you.

Happy Holidays!