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USC Medical School Launches Office of Social Justice to Promote Fair Health Care

Keck School of Medicine of USC has appointed an associate dean to run a new Office for Social Justice to advocate for better health care in underserved communities.

The USC medical school announced Jan. 23 it had named Ricky Bluthenthal, a professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine, to the new position.

Bluthenthal will create the Office for Social Justice to advocate for fair distribution of health services and treatment, while reducing disparities and unequal access to quality care.

“All people should receive basic benefits from the ‘institutions of society’ based on justice, fairness and the advancements of the public good,” said Laura Mosqueda, dean of the school and a professor of family medicine, in a statement. “The appointment of Ricky Bluthenthal as associate dean for social justice advances the Keck School’s priority of advocating for local underserved communities and beyond.”

The new social justice dean will first launch a listening tour with community leaders and USC leaders, faculty and staff to identify priorities and areas of focus.

He will also develop curricula for medical and graduate students that explores how social justice relates to access to health care and fairness in public policy.

Bluthenthal, a researcher in epidemiology and prevention for HIV infection for injection drug users and gay men, has long advocated for social justice reform.

He led one of the first statewide research studies of needle exchanges, conducted a research project on Latino adolescents and parents in East Los Angeles, and has worked to address depression in minority communities as well as HIV prevention for incarcerated bisexual African-American men.

Health business reporter Dana Bartholomew can be reached at dbartholomew@labusinessjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @_DanaBart.

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