USC offers new undergraduate health sciences minor
Undergraduates from the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences have, in the past, had little reason to hop on the campus shuttle to the Health Sciences Campus. But that may change this fall when a new minor in health care studies kicks off, allowing USC Dornsife students to take classes at the Keck School of Medicine of USC for the first time.
“This program signifies a new era of collaboration between USC Dornsife and the Keck School,” said Stuart Swadron, assistant dean of pre-health undergraduate studies at the Keck School. “It’s an opportunity to combine academic resources and open new lines of communication between the two campuses.”
The minor in health care studies is multidisciplinary in approach, offering students a glimpse into research and clinical practice, as well as the social, economic and political issues surrounding health care. While students will take core sciences courses in biology and chemistry, they will also study contemporary issues in health care, such as studying the legal issues and business challenges of running a successful health care practice.
The students will have the opportunity to take specialized elective courses in neuroanatomy, histology, surgery, emergency medicine, and wilderness and survival medicine. In addition, a course in directed biomedical research will enable students to craft their own hypothesis-driven projects and work in some of the field’s leading laboratories and hospitals.
As health sciences minors, the undergraduates will not only have the opportunity to take courses at the Keck School, they will also have the chance to receive basic clinical experiences at Keck Medical Center of USC, Los Angeles County+USC Medical Center and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, as well as a number of other affiliate sites.
“This program sets a new standard for pre-medical undergraduate education,” said Carmen A. Puliafito, dean of the Keck School. “The faculty at the Keck School is looking forward to welcoming our first undergraduate students and also to working side by side with our colleagues on the University Park Campus.”
The new minor program is intended to complement the understanding of health care for all majors, not just those students interested in pursuing medical degrees. Swadron noted that the minor will also be beneficial to a variety of students, such as those with business or communications majors who may be interested in working in the health care industry.
Several ambitious goals associated with the new program go well beyond forging new relationships between USC campuses. Another hope is that, because few colleges offer similar programs, it will help recruit top college applicants eyeing a future in health care or medicine to study at USC.
The broader vision, Swadron explained, is to create a unique course of study aimed at turning out a different breed of medical professional, one that is more personally, academically and professionally prepared to face today’s increasingly complex health care landscape.
“The modern doctor needs more than a medical degree,” Swadron said. “Students are going to need to have a broader understanding of how health care fits into the bigger picture.”
For details, visit dornsife.usc.edu/minor-in-health-care-studies/