USC medical leaders promote social justice as key step toward healing society’s ills

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Preventive medicine expert Ricky Bluthenthal is leading the effort to pursue fairness in health and well-being at the Keck School of Medicine of USC’s new Office for Social Justice.

Doctors treat disease, fix broken bones and offer advice on exercise and diet, but USC Professor Ricky Bluthenthal thinks they can and should do more.

Overcrowded housing, food insecurity, homelessness, poverty, the lack of community-based health care services for marginalized populations — they all deserve attention. And doctors and other health experts can advocate for them.

“We have this immense technical and intellectual capacity to improve the lives of people through improving their health,” Bluthenthal said. “But if we want to be truly effective and reap the benefits of everything we’re learning, we need to figure out a way to extend this information into communities, into people’s homes, into people’s neighborhoods.”

That mentality is at the heart of Bluthenthal’s vision for the new Office for Social Justice within the Keck School of Medicine of USC. The initiative advocates for fairness in health policy and equal access to health care and other social services. The effort also promotes community well-being.

Read more on USC News »

— Eric Lindberg

Photo: Ricky Bluthenthal, USC’s new associate dean for social justice, speaks with students in his qualitative research methods class. (USC Photo/Eric Lindberg)