Keck School of Medicine of USC names new senior associate dean and chief operations and finance officer

Rebecca Brusuelas-James joins USC’s medical school after successful tenure at UC Irvine.

By Hope Hamashige

photo of Rebecca Brusuelas-JamesRebecca Brusuelas-James, a respected administrator from University of California, Irvine, has been named senior associate dean and chief operations and finance officer for the Keck School of Medicine of USC. In her role at the Keck School of Medicine, Brusuelas-James will lead all operations and finance functions and will serve as the dean’s primary financial advisor.

Brusuelas-James has an impressive record of overseeing financial and business operations at other academic medical centers in Southern California. Most recently, she served as associate dean of finance and administration for UC Irvine’s medical school and associate vice chancellor of finance at UC Irvine’s Samueli College of Health Sciences. Among her notable achievements was executing a financial turnaround at UC Irvine’s medical school and returning it to solvency for the first time in over a decade.

“We are extremely fortunate that, after an extensive, nationwide search, Rebecca Brusuelas-James has joined the team at the Keck School of Medicine,” said Dean Carolyn C. Meltzer, MD. “I am confident that Rebecca’s expertise and experience make her the best person to help us navigate this period of growth and change at the Keck School of Medicine.”

Brusuelas-James will oversee the medical school’s budget and finance operations, clinical trials office, emergency preparedness, human resources, business intelligence, marketing and communications, research administration and space planning. She will also be a key advocate for the medical school with USC’s central administration, Keck Medicine of USC, Los Angeles General Medical Center, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and other stakeholders.

“I am excited to be joining the Keck School of Medicine and am looking forward to being a part of the dynamic team that is committed to taking the medical school to a new level of excellence,” said Brusuelas-James.

Giving back is a priority

Throughout her career, Brusuelas-James, who is Latina and a first-generation college graduate, has devoted efforts to help people from underrepresented groups move into positions of increasing responsibility in health care and academia.

She has helped create pipelines for women and minorities to positions of executive leadership. At UC Irvine, Brusuelas-James taught in the school’s Medicine Leadership Academy. She has also worked as a mentor to emerging leaders in medical school finance and administration through the Association of American Medical Colleges’ mentorship program.

Prior to working at UC Irvine, Brusuelas-James worked at University of California, Los Angeles as a project director for studies funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health focusing on underserved communities with diabetes in south Los Angeles. She received a commendation from Los Angeles County for her work helping people with diabetes from the largely black and Latino communities in south Los Angeles.