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USC Annenberg journalism professor Judy Muller has won a Peabody Award for her work on a KCET SoCal Connected story examining the proliferation of medical marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles.

“Up in Smoke,” which aired in May 2009, revealed that there are now more dispensaries in Los Angeles than there are Starbucks. According to the story, Los Angeles has had an “open door policy” on the establishment of dispensaries since Prop 215 passed in 1996.

Because of the lack of zoning restrictions on the dispensaries, “it’s now easier to open a medical marijuana facility than it is a nail salon or a yogurt shop,” the story found.
Muller is an Emmy Award-winning television correspondent and National Public Radio commentator who joined the USC Annenberg faculty in August 2003. She formerly worked for ABC News and covered the 1992 Rodney King trial and ensuing riots, the 1994 Northridge earthquake and the O.J. Simpson criminal and civil trials.
Gala del Sol to Honor Vaughn Starnes

Vaughn A. Starnes, chair of the Department of Surgery at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and surgeon in chief at USC Norris Cancer Hospital and USC University Hospital, will be honored for his accomplishments in pediatric cardiac surgery at the seventh annual Gala del Sol.

The event will take place Saturday at the Globe Theatre at Universal Studios in Hollywood.

Comedian Tom Arnold will emcee the black-tie event, which benefits Camp del Corazon, a nonprofit organization that provides year-round opportunities for children and young adults with heart disease.

Starnes is executive director of the USC Cardiovascular Thoracic Institute and the H. Russell Smith Chair for Cardivascular Research at the Keck School.

USC Makes Honor Roll for Community Service

USC has been named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.

The selection is recognition from the highest levels of the federal government of USC’s commitment to service and civic engagement.

The award was announced during the annual conference of the American Council on Education.

The Corporation for National and Community Service, in collaboration with the Department of Education, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation, made the selections.

The awards, launched in 2006, take into consideration innovation of service projects, percentage of student participation in service activities, incentives for service and the availability of academic service-learning courses.

USC Project Showcases Law and Innovation

Some of Southern California’s brightest and most innovative scholars came together on March 5 to share research funded by grants from the USC Gould School of Law’s Southern California Innovation Project.

The Law and Innovation Symposium showcased research on employment law, finance and securities regulation, the structure of networks, contracts and the performance and regulation of legal markets.

Researchers from USC, the University of San Diego Law School and the University of California, San Diego who received grants presented their papers at the event.

Participants from USC included law school faculty members and faculty from the USC Marshall School of Business, USC College and the USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development. The multidisciplinary showing was a recognition that
scholars who may appear to have different goals and backgrounds are collaborating more and more.

Funded by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the three-year $675,000 grant to create the Southern California Innovation Project was intended to move the study of the relationship between law and innovation beyond intellectual property law.

Trojan League Spotlights SPPD

The Trojan League of Los Angeles showcased the USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development on Feb. 27 at its annual benefit, which featured the theme “Creating Ideas That Shape the World.”

Each year, the alumnae group selects a distinguished USC department, school or individual to honor. Funds raised at this year’s benefit included a $10,000 gift from the Stanley and Joyce Black Foundation.

Attendees learned about several national challenges during SPPD faculty presentations in Ralph and Goldy Lewis Hall.

Topics covered the nation’s health care reform efforts, governance issues with the state of California, housing and transportation, and the implications of changing demographics.

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