We hope this message finds you and your family in good health and coping well during these difficult times.
You’ve seen the news - the COVID-19 pandemic is the greatest public health crisis of our generation. Yet, in the face of adversity, our healthcare workers and scientific researchers have answered the call. Never before has our work felt so urgent and so necessary.
Our community has stepped up to the cause. From donations of medical supplies and personal protective equipment, to the delivery of thousands of morale-boosting meals to our health care workers and nearby communities, the Trojan Family has responded in force. We are so moved by the outpouring of support!
We want to take a moment to update you on our ongoing COVID-19 response efforts:
Caring for our Students
Our medical students have risen to the challenges posed by the pandemic. All classes have transitioned online, and students are engaging in alternative learning opportunities, including telehealth and online electives. While the pandemic has altered our ways of teaching, we remain committed to developing our students into outstanding physician-scientists and citizens.
For our fourth-year students, COVID-19 didn’t dampen their recent Match Day celebrations. But instead of opening envelopes in-person, students celebrated virtually, sharing messages and photos through Skype or Zoom. We couldn’t be prouder of our 179 graduating students for their accomplishments and upcoming residencies!
Our postgraduate students are also doing their part to help us navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic. Our surgical residents, for example, embraced the opportunity to receive training in nursing skills to augment critical care teams. We believe this will help our residents become better prepared and more adaptable, especially in crisis situations.
Caring for Patients
Each day brings new challenges as our health care workers continue to battle COVID-19 in hospitals and clinics across Los Angeles and throughout California and Nevada. Partnering with the LAC+USC Medical Center, Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we share treatment strategies and effective therapies. We are learning that underlying health conditions, genetic make-up, and environmental factors greatly influence the progression of this deadly disease. Telemedicine has been a great success story. Used on a limited basis pre-COVID, we now use telemedicine to care for thousands of patients every day for a wide variety of health care needs. COVID-19 cases in LA County appear to have peaked last week. We were ready with increased capacity, including a 50% expansion of ICU-beds, because many of our critically ill patients require weeks to recover.
Caring for the Caregivers
We are concerned for the well-being of our courageous and selfless frontline caregivers. Working under taxing conditions – unease about their own health and the welfare of their families – causes stress and anxiety. We responded with the Care for the Caregiver program, which offers access to complimentary housing to reduce the worry of disease transmission, transportation, meals, comfort amenities and mental health support. Early feedback has been very positive.
Caring for the Community
We also know our community is suffering — caring for family members, dealing with lost wages and facing uncertain futures. With your help, packages of food, medications and other staples answer the call for those in need. Access to accurate information about COVID-19 is also key. Dean Laura Mosqueda, MD, has reached over 500 community stakeholders via her innovative "Dean's Corner" meetings. Sharing the latest scientific information on the pandemic, Dean Mosqueda welcomes questions, comments and concerns from the community. Our Street Medicine team has ramped up efforts to educate and treat the unsheltered homeless. They dispense medications, hygiene items and tents to promote social distancing. They offer kindness and mental health support to the vulnerable.
Accelerating COVID-19 Research
Just like our frontline health care providers, our research-scientists are tireless in their quest to develop lifesaving tests and treatments. They are actively working across USC and other research communities to find a cure. Dozens of USC-based research trials are moving at a pace not seen before this crisis. Our newly formed COVID-19 Research Task Force ensures rapid allocation of resources to the most promising studies and expedites collaboration between investigators working to fight the virus.
How You Can Help
Many of you have asked how you can help, so we’ve established direct COVID-19 emergency response funds.
Please stand with us. If you are able, consider making a gift today. Your support will immediately aid healthcare efforts, COVID-19 research studies, and USC students, employees and community members who are most affected by COVID-19.
Thank you for your consideration and for being part of the Trojan Family. For the latest information regarding COVID-19 and other ways you can help, please visit our coronavirus website. While we are all being challenged at this time, we know our future is bright, and we’ll come back stronger than ever before.
Fight On and Heal On!
The University’s COVID-19 Response
USC has established four funds in response to the COVID-19 crisis to help support all areas of the Trojan community. These funds include the USC Student Basic Needs Fund, Keck Medicine of USC COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund, USC Community Outreach Fund, and USC Employee Support Fund.