Meet Dr. Laura Mosqueda, USC Keck med school's first female dean: 5 things to know

Laura Mosqueda, MD, who took over as the first-ever female dean of the Los Angeles-based Keck School of Medicine of USC May 1, said she aims to enact real change at the institution, which has been plagued by several sexual harassment scandals in recent years, according to the Los Angeles Daily News.

Here are five things to know about Dr. Mosqueda:

1. In a stark and deliberate change from tradition, Keck appointed Dr. Mosqueda interim dean last October and awarded her the position full-time in April. Dr. Mosqueda is the first woman and first geriatric physician to lead the 133-year-old institution.

2. Dr. Mosqueda, 58, told the Los Angeles Daily News her appointment was partly in response to the university's #MeToo movement and sends an unmistakable message the institution is looking to deviate from its past actions.

"I think [my appointment] signals a sea of change at USC. I think as a woman I'm probably more likely to bring a less competitive and more collaborative, more nurturing approach. I think we women are tough in different ways," she said.

3. A former USC Keck Trojan herself, Dr. Mosqueda oversees more than 4,150 full-time and voluntary staff members, 800-plus students, 900-plus residents and more than 1,000 other students pursuing graduate and post-graduate degrees in the medical field.

4. While both of her parents were Keck medical school graduates and practicing physicians, she told the publication they never pushed her to pursue a career in medicine. However, she eventually decided to become a physician, studying family medicine, primary care and geriatrics. Dr. Mosqueda claims geriatric medicine "is not about curing … We're about caring. It's not a heroic specialty. It takes a bit more of an understanding to appreciate it as a specialty. Yet it's tremendously rewarding. We need to get it into the curriculum," she told the Los Angeles Daily News.

5. Dr. Mosqueda acknowledged she has her work cut out for her, as the institution has been forced to acknowledge the alleged misdeeds of her two predecessors and a university physician currently embroiled in a sexual abuse scandal. Former Keck School of Medicine Dean Carmen Puliafito, MD, led the school from 2007 to 2016, when he abruptly resigned. A 2017 Los Angeles Times investigation revealed he had engaged in drug misuse while serving as dean. His successor, Rohit Varma, MD, also stepped down from the post last year following news he had settled a sexual harassment claim with a former research colleague.

More recently, university gynecologist George Tyndall, MD, was accused of sexually abusing students for decades, and recently had his home raided by Los Angeles police as part of an ongoing investigation.

"We've been through a bad series here and we have to accept responsibility for the part of this that is our own doing," Dr. Mosqueda said. "I don't want to be distracted. I want to own up to what was wrong and make it right."

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