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Provost's Retreat on Health 2004
Davidson Conference Center
October 21, 2004; 8:30 A.M.-3:30 P.M.

Retreat Agenda

Speaker Bios

Highlights of Concurrent Session Discussions
Participant List


Financing, Policy and Management

Strengths of USC:

  • USC is well-positioned to help policymakers make informed choices
    • For example, new California Policy Institute in Sacramento offers link of research and practical applications
  • Ability to look at unique geography of USC neighborhoods for research and practical applications

Focus Opportunity:

  • LAC+USC Hospital crisis—system is broken
      • We need to view LAC+USC as an asset, not a disadvantage, to solve problems facing the healthcare system.
      • Ripple effect throughout county. For example:
        • Queing, traffic and patient flow
        • Could make USC nationally know
    What can the USC Health Collaborative do:
    • Need to help junior faculty
    • Collaborative can help be a “magnet program” for USC
    • Involve doctoral students to help stimulate faculty collaboration
    • Provost might consider tenured positions within two schools

    Information, Media & Health

    • Critical communications issues: illiteracy of American public regarding health issues + misinformation in media
      • Two key USC initiatives:
        • Hollywood Health & Society initiative to improve knowledge of writers
        • California Endowment Health Journalism Fellowships
    • Organized information needs to be more accessible
      • Medical faculty—work with them to help get out information
      • “” clone—good information to counter bad
    • Faculty listserv and list of resources to find one another
    • Formal & informal exchange of information
    • Need for faculty/researcher training in media and communications
    • Advocacy: how to get information out; e.g., games, lobbying, targeted messages

    Healthy Communities, Healthy Lifestyles

    • Communications within USC is a challenge—limited knowledge of what is going on in health across university—how to look forward?
      • Map/tree of existing collaboration
      • University-wide seminar web presence for all talks, presentations, abstracts
      • Web broadcasting—technology exists
    • Collaboration takes time
      • Hard to learn language of another discipline—need to invest time to do so
      • University could help by having staff who can help on grant proposals—detailed logistics -> would enable faculty to focus on ideas
      • Emphasis on having a staff resource
    • Acknowledge collaboration already in progress
      • Reframe—we are doing a lot
      • May be a PR problem—We need to recognize and reward collaboration already being done.
      • Need connections with people from foundational sciences (biologists, physics, etc.) –make applied work less frowned on

    Reducing Health Disparities

    • Increased opportunities for communication needed between and among faculty
    • NCI has a network on tobacco: use similar concept for Collaborative
    • Mentor students and faculty on practice side
    • Develop pipeline of students with training in health disparities
    • Use existing resources to current projects


    • How can we increase connections with social sciences? For example, geography has a role in health; e.g., demographics of border regions
      • Geographic info systems lab (John Wilson) works with people at Health Sciences Campus on mapping
      • Easily available resources + contextual nature of social change and role in health concerns
    • Facilitating collaboration
      • Pick the “low hanging fruit” to easily find out who is doing what and who has specialties
      • USC is large and disparate—may need professional resources in the networking function. It would be beneficial to have one or two people who can foster interdisciplinary health research and practice—human, not just web
    • Faculty resources
      • Limited faculty time
      • Need to put financial resources into senior faculty packages
        • Organize thematically or into groups with a major infusion of appointments and infrastructure
      • Expand our plates by helping make our work easier
    • Research visibility
      • High quality research going on across university—why not USC instead of UCLA for collaborators? Someone needs to help ensure the quality of our work is visible and help us look internally for collaborators.
    • Cultural pay-off of collaboration
      • Not just scientists to other scientists
      • Growth effect of all increasing vocabulary and perspective on our research
      • Expand range by looking at history; e.g. tobacco—what public health approaches have worked in past?
      • Need to change the way we look at the world (and curriculum)
      • Organizationally, when split into groups, we tend to talk to people we know. There is value in forcing us to talk with people who do nothing like we do. For future Collaborative events, consider shuffling workshops and have interdisciplinary perspectives.
    • Take-home messages for USC Health Collaborative:
      • Look for early and quick wins
      • Information re: grants and process
      • Some specific projects and new approaches

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