USC College Dean Howard Gillman has announced the hiring of Dr. Kenneth Geller as the new director of the USC College-Keck School of Medicine Academic and Advising Program following a national search.
Geller will lead the creation of an advising office specific to pre-health students across the university together with the integration of new and existing pre-health academic programs. He presently serves as the co-director of the Baccalaureate/MD program in the College.
In 1998, Geller joined the Keck School of Medicine of USC as an associate professor of clinical otolaryngology. He also serves as a clinical assistant professor of surgery/otolaryngology at Western University of Health Sciences, College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Geller is the vice chairman in the Department of Surgery and the director of the Division of Otolaryngology and Communicative Disorders at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles. He is also the coordinator of the Pediatric Otolaryngology Rotation for residents from Los Angeles County+USC Medical Center and UCLA Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery residency. In addition to his medical degree, he has a master’s degree in education from USC.
“Ken possesses a tremendous amount of experience and expertise that will assist pre-health students realize their professional dreams,” Gillman said. “He will lead USC College/Keck in developing a national paradigm for how best to educate and prepare the next generation of health professionals.”
In this newly created position, Geller will help plan and implement a signature experience for pre-health undergraduates with new courses, including introduction to pre-health careers, ethics in medicine, research methods, scientific writing, Third World medicine, medical Spanish and peer mentoring.
“I consider the professional and ethical development of physicians and other health professionals to be of the highest importance; it should start as early as possible,” Geller said. “A solid foundation that is built and nurtured in the pre-health years will impact students throughout their entire careers. It is our job to be sure that the foundation is of the highest quality.”
Faculty from both schools worked closely in determining how best to maximize their partnership and create a unique program of national renown.
“As an alumnus of our medical school and a faculty member who has won awards for outstanding teaching and educational research, Ken is particularly well-suited to designing a program that is tailor-made for students interested in health careers,” said Carmen A. Puliafito, dean of the Keck School of Medicine of USC. “This exciting new program will help USC attract more of the best students as undergraduates and to retain them as highly qualified candidates for medical school.”
Pre-health has long been a popular area of study in the College with more than 30 percent of first-year students at USC College enrolling as pre-health majors. Additionally, a high number of students throughout USC pursue pre-health studies. This past fall, 451 of the 2,800 first-year USC students registered as pre-health majors.
This large cohort, along with future pre-health students, will benefit from enhanced pre-health undergraduate programming and advising as a result of this special partnership between the Keck School of Medicine of USC and USC College.