New associate dean to address medical student stress, development

Karen Restifo

Karen Restifo (Photo/Courtesy Karen Restifo)

Karen Restifo, MD, JD, has been appointed associate dean for student affairs at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, according to Rohit Varma, MD, MPH, dean of the Keck School and director of the USC Gayle and Edward Roski Eye Institute, and Henri Ford, MD, MHA, vice dean for medical education at the Keck School.

“Dr. Restifo comes to the Keck School of Medicine with a wealth of experience in student affairs and national recognition as a student affairs professional,” Varma and Ford wrote in the Feb. 22 memo announcing her appointment. “Her overarching goal is to optimize the learning environment at the Keck School of Medicine to reduce medical student stress. She hopes to contribute to the development of superb, professional physicians and scientists who will maximize their potential while thoroughly enjoying the medical school experience at the Keck School of Medicine.”

Restifo joins student affairs deans Stephanie Zia, MD, assistant dean for career advising, and Sajjad Yacoob, MD, assistant dean for student affairs, in the day-to-day delivery of programs and services. Donna Elliott, MD, EdD, senior associate dean for student and educational affairs, will continue to oversee student affairs but will spend time working on the reaccreditation process for the medical school, the plans for the new clinical skills center and other special projects.

Restifo comes to the Keck School from Texas Christian University and the University of North Texas Health Science School of Medicine after serving as the associate dean for student affairs at the University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix. She graduated from Georgetown University School of Medicine followed by an emergency medicine residency at Johns Hopkins. Restifo received her law degree from the University of Connecticut School of Law and completed a medical ethics fellowship at Harvard Medical School.

Restifo was the western regional representative to the Association of American Medical Colleges Council on Student Affairs from 2013 to 2016 and has held numerous leadership positions in the Society of Academic Emergency Physicians. She is a fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians. At the University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix, Restifo chaired the Student Affairs Committee and the LCME Student Affairs Self-Study Committee. She also was a member of numerous committees including the Admissions Committee, Honor Code Committee, Education Policy Committee, Student Progress Committee and the Curriculum Committee.

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