About Our Research Programs

Our research spans from basic science issues to social science issues. In the area of elder abuse, we’re trying to understand why it occurs, how to identify and intervene at an early stage, and what to do to prevent it. Ranked No. 9 in NIH funding, the Department of Family Medicine conducts crucial research in the living laboratories of Los Angeles, in our clinics and our community. We perform studies that make a difference in the lives of our patients, with a focus on wellness and social justice. Our research in areas such as rural and urban health systems, geriatrics and integrative medicine has garnered numerous competitive grants from federal, state and private funding sources. Faculty members frequently collaborate across disciplines at USC and with local agencies and organizations to further the mission of caring for the diverse families of Los Angeles.

  • Professor Bonnie Olsen, PhD, serves as the principal investigator in the development and implementation of the Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program (GWEP), a $3.75 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration. This award funds the continued training of primary care providers in quality care for older adults and development of their geriatric competencies. Since the initial funding in 2015, the USC GWEP team has led and created several programs at USC, which include the Geriatric Assessment Program; caregiver support groups, with partner Alzheimer’s Los Angeles; and student programs to develop their ability to care for the aging population. In the newest round of funding, the USC GWEP team continues to strengthen the partnership with Eisner Health, create new training with the Los Angeles LGBT Center and build sustainable programming with five affordable housing sites for older adults in the Los Angeles area.

  • The Primary Care Program is designed to increase the number of Keck School of Medicine of USC medical students who enter community-based primary care. Under the direction of Jo Marie Reilly, MD, students experience patient care in urban, primarily underserved, primary and community care settings, with pediatric, family medicine and internal medicine mentors. Students receive additional training in nutrition, community-based diabetic education, interprofessional team care and geriatrics. Additionally, electives are available to participating students, including street medicine, tattoo removal, needle exchange and wellness classes for the local underserved community.

  • With a $1.5 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration, the Department of Family Medicine and the Primary Care Physician Assistant Program are working to enhance primary care training for physician assistant students, in an effort to support future clinicians to work with vulnerable populations, support wellness in providers, address inequities in health care and provide proper training to tackle the growing opioid crisis. The grant focuses on implementing and studying programs related to street medicine and social justice, within the Primary Care Physician Assistant Program curriculum. In the integration of evidence-based coursework focused on building skills and confidence in areas of health equity, mental health and substance abuse disorders, plus the inclusion of street medicine clinical rotations, students will graduate with greater confidence to serve vulnerable populations.