Even the most diverse student body can feel alienated and underrepresented if there isn’t a diverse faculty to match it. The Keck School of Medicine of USC has a proud heritage of diversity and is taking steps to further develop and maintain a diverse faculty and staff.

Jeffrey Upperman, MD, associate dean for faculty diversity, was appointed to this position in November of 2015. He is making sure that this important task is something he and his team are tackling in a thoughtful way. Upperman’s plans include a “listening tour” of various departments and teams at the school, getting different perspectives on the issues and gathering information on what the current climate offers staff and students.

He is well aware of the national attention this very important issue has received. “Obviously major universities are taking this fairly seriously,” he said, “and I think as we begin to craft what our five-year strategy is for the Keck School, we need to make sure that we have all of the appropriate information so that we make a strong investment in our future.”

The school also continues to develop new strategies for diversity through Dean Carmen A. Puliafito’s Diversity Cabinet, of which Upperman is a part.

In addition, the community surrounding the Keck School always has been an important part of the makeup of the institution. This is something that Upperman wants to continue to foster.

“As you are trying to figure things out within various communities that are ethnically and socioeconomically diverse, it’s important to reflect those communities,” he said. “I think that the Keck School has a long history of being part of the community and this is an ongoing extension of really trying to step it up and continue to do great things.”

by Amanda Busick