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Our Team

Pamela Schaff, Headshot
Pamela Schaff, MD, PhD
(323) 442-1763

Pamela Schaff, MD, PhD, is Associate Professor of Medical Education, Family Medicine, and Pediatrics, and Director of the HEAL (Humanities, Ethics/Economics, Art, and the Law) Program at the Keck School of Medicine (KSOM) of the University of Southern California (USC). She graduated from Pomona College with a B.A. in English Literature and received her M.D. from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. She has practiced pediatrics since completing her residency at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, and previously served as Keck’s Director of the Introduction to Clinical Medicine (ICM) program, Assistant Dean for Curriculum, and Associate Dean for Curriculum.

Dr. Schaff served as Undergraduate Medical Education (UGME) chair for the Group on Educational Affairs (GEA) of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) from 2012-2014, and chaired the GEA’s working group on professional identity formation from 2014-2018. She is a member of the newly formed Association of American Medical College (AAMC) Humanities and Arts Integration Committee, charged with determining and advancing the role of the humanities and arts in medical education and physician development. She is the recipient of numerous awards for excellence in teaching and mentoring. In November 2019, Dr. Schaff successfully defended her doctoral dissertation in Creative Writing and Literature: “Crafting the Unspoken in The Wings of the Dove: Intersubjective Encounters and the ‘Case’ of Milly Theale.”

Erika Wright, Headshot
Erika Wright, PhD
Associate Director

Erika Wright holds a PhD in English from the University of Southern California. She has appointments as a Lecturer in the English Department (University Park Campus) and as an Assistant Professor of Clinical Medical Education at KSOM and is the Associate Director of the HEAL (Humanities, Ethics/Economics, Art, and the Law) Program at USC. Dr. Wright’s book, Reading for Health: Medical Narratives and the Nineteenth-Century Novel (2016), examines the rhetoric of disease prevention and health maintenance in works by Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, and Elizabeth Gaskell. She has contributed entries on health and disease to the Companion to Victorian Popular Fiction and her articles on medicine and literature, graduate education, and medical professionalism appear in Studies in the Novel, the Midwestern Modern Language Association journal, and From Reading to Healing: Teaching Medical Professionalism through Literature. Erika has won several teaching awards, and in addition to teaching courses on the British literature survey, Science Fiction, and Women in Literature for the English Department, she brings her expertise in narrative theory and close reading to the Narrative Medicine Workshops she has designed and taught for the HEAL Program.

HEAL Committee Members

Dr. Ron Ben-Ari

Ron Ben-Ari, MD, FACP
(323) 442-1763

Ron Ben-Ari, MD, FACP, completed his medical school and training in internal medicine at the Keck School of Medicine (KSOM) of the University of Southern California (USC) and joined the USC Department of Medicine faculty in 1992. He is an Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine (Educational Scholar) and was appointed KSOM Associate Dean for Continuing Medical Education in 2012 and KSOM Associate Dean for Curriculum in 2016. Dr. Ben-Ari served as: Director of the USC Internal Medicine Medical Student Program from 1992 to 2009; Director of the Internal Medicine Residency Training Program from 1995 to 2011; and Vice Chair for Educational Affairs in the Department of Medicine from 2009 to 2016. He was Chief of Staff at LAC+USC Medical Center from 2005 to 2006 and has been a longstanding member of the ACP Governor’s Council for Southern California Region 1. Dr. Ben-Ari was named a Master Teacher of KSOM in 2008 and was the Faculty Honoree for Medical Education and Humanism from the American College of Physicians Southern California Region I in 2009. He was named to the Board of Directors of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education in 2018. Dr. Ben-Ari is active in undergraduate, graduate, and continuing medical education at the Keck School of Medicine and is a practicing general internist at the Keck Medical Center of USC.

Alexander Capron

Alexander Capron, LLB
(213) 740-2557

Alexander Capron is a globally recognized expert in health policy and medical ethics. He teaches Public Health Law, Torts, and Law, Science, and Medicine. He also teaches at the USC Keck School of Medicine and is co-director of the Pacific Center for Health Policy and Ethics, a campus-wide interdisciplinary research and education center. He returned to USC Gould School of Law in fall 2006 after four years on leave as director of Ethics, Trade, Human Rights and Health Law at the World Health Organization in Geneva.

Capron received a BA from Swarthmore College and an LLB from Yale University, where he was an officer of the Yale Law Journal. He was appointed by President Bill Clinton to the National Bioethics Advisory Commission, and served as President of the International Association of Bioethics. Capron is a trustee of The Century Foundation, an officer of Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research, and an elected member of the Institute of Medicine (National Academy of Sciences) and of the American Law Institute.

Dr. Ronan Hallowell

Ronan Hallowell, EdD, MA

Ronan Hallowell, EdD, MA is an assistant professor of clinical medical education. As a member of the Learning Sciences team in the Department of Medical Education at Keck, he works with colleagues to provide a suite of curriculum and instruction services to faculty and administrators that includes instructional design, faculty development and the Keck Next Curriculum Renewal Initiative. He currently serves as a Co-Investigator on a digital health literacy grant funded by the AMA as part of its Accelerating Change in Medical Education initiative. Dr. Hallowell also conducts research on physician professional identity formation, curriculum design and cross-cultural perspectives on medicine. His interest in the medical humanities stems from his master’s degree in philosophy and religion which included in depth study of the healing traditions of the Lakota Sioux and ten years of training as a ceremonial singer with a traditional Lakota elder. Dr. Hallowell is a faculty affiliate at the Gehr Center for Health Systems Science and also teaches in the Learning Design and Technology program at the USC Rossier School of Education. He earned his EdD in educational psychology from the University of Southern California, his MA in philosophy and religion from the California Institute of Integral Studies and his BA in economics from Boston College.

Dr. Greg Harlan

Gregory Harlan, MD, MPH
(323) 442-2438

Dr. Gregory Harlan, MD MPH, graduated from Princeton University and Keck School of Medicine. He is an Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics and Medical Education and Director of Keck’s Introduction to Clinical Medicine course (ICM) and the Business of Medicine course for Year III students. He works clinically in Pediatrics at LAC+USC. Greg created the Culinary Medicine PPM selective for Year II students, teaching them hands-on culinary skills and nutrition education in partnership with LA Kitchen and the Wellness Center at LAC+USC. He completed Pediatrics residency at UCSF, and a Master in Public Health from the University of Utah. Greg was Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and a pediatric hospitalist in Utah for 7 years, then spent 5 years at IPC The Hospitalist Company as the Director of Medical Affairs. His professional interests center on professional identify formation, faculty development, quality improvement and the business of medicine, and culinary medicine.

Dr. Christine Hsieh

Christine Hsieh, MD
(323) 865-3690

Dr. Christine Hsieh is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Surgery in the Division of Colorectal Surgery at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. She earned her medical degree at Columbia University’s College of Physicians & Surgeons and stayed in New York City for general surgery residency at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center.  She completed a post-doctoral fellowship in surgical education at Columbia University, focusing on the development of simulation and surgical skills programs for medical students at various stages of training, and has been recognized for her work by the Association for Surgical Education. Dr. Hsieh moved to Los Angeles to pursue fellowship training in colorectal surgery at USC, where she stayed on as faculty. Her clinical interests include minimally invasive surgical techniques and their application to the treatment of colon and rectal cancers, diverticular disease, and inflammatory bowel disease. She has a particular interest in women’s health, especially pertaining to anorectal disease, pelvic floor disorders, and functional concerns. A former journalist covering the nightlife and entertainment industries, Dr. Hsieh now applies her interest in the arts and humanities to a career in medicine through scholarship and research in surgical education, medical curriculum development, and Narrative Medicine theory and practice.

Dr. Win May

Win May, MD, PhD, FRCP
(323) 442-2381

Win May, M.D., Ph.D. F.R.C.P., is Professor in the Department of Medical Education, and Director of the Clinical Skills Education and Evaluation Center at the Keck School of Medicine. She teaches in the Masters of Academic Medicine program and member of several organizations, including the Group on Educational Affairs (GEA) of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and the Association of Standardized Patient Educators (ASPE). She served as a member of the Research in Medical Education (RIME) Committee from 2015-2018 and has conducted workshops, participated in panel discussions and presented research at AAMC, ASPE, AMEE, and APMEC.

Dr. May has been invited to Taiwan, South Korea and Myanmar to conduct workshops on clinical skills assessment, and standardized patients (SPs). She served as a member of the United States Medical Licensure Examination (USMLE) Step 2 Clinical Skills Test Material Development Committee for the National Board of Medical Examiners and worked with the Institute of Creative Technologies to develop a virtual standardized patient. Prior to joining USC, she worked for the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva and New Delhi. She was the founding Dean of the Institute of Nursing in Myanmar. She was awarded an honorary fellowship from the Royal College of Physicians, London for her work in medical education.

Ted Meyer

Ted Meyer

Ted Meyer is a nationally recognized artist, curator and patient advocate who helps patients, students and medical professionals see the positive in the worst life can offer. His 18-year project “Scarred for Life: Mono-prints of Human Scars” chronicles the trauma and courage of people who have lived through accidents and health crises. Mixing art, medicine, and stories of healing and survival,  Ted’s work draws from his experience as a lifelong patient of Gaucher Disease (an enzyme deficiency that affects bones and joints). Ted has been featured on NPR and in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, and USA Today. His work has been displayed internationally in museums, hospitals, and galleries. As the current Artist in Residence at USC Keck School of Medicine, Ted curates exhibitions of artwork by patients whose subject matter coincides with medical school curriculum (MS, cancer, germ phobias, back pain, and other diseases). In addition, he is a Visiting Scholar at the National Museum of Health and Medicine, invited to take part in the Aspen Seminars, was recently named the 2017 Sterling Visiting Professorship at Stanford University, and has been a TEDMED mainstage speaker.

Sunita Puri, MD
(323) 865-9788

Sunita Puri is the Medical Director of the Palliative Medicine and Supportive Care Service at the Keck Hospital and Norris Cancer Center of the University of Southern California, where she also serves as Chair of the Ethics Committee. She graduated from Yale University with a B.A. in Anthropology and studied Modern History at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. She completed medical school and residency training in Internal Medicine at the University of California San Francisco, and fellowship training in Hospice and Palliative Medicine at Stanford University. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Slate, the Journal of the American Medical Association, and JAMA – Internal Medicine. In 2018, she received the Etz Chaim Tree of Life Award from the USC Keck School of Medicine, awarded annually to a member of the faculty who, in the eyes of the campus community, models and provides humanistic and compassionate care. She lives in Los Angeles.

Abby Rasminsky

Abigail Rasminsky, MFA

Abigail Rasminsky holds an MFA in Nonfiction Writing from Columbia University’s School of the Arts, where she served as a Teaching Fellow in the Undergraduate Creative Writing program, the nonfiction editor of Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art, and studied in the Master’s Program in Narrative Medicine. A former professional modern dancer, Abigail writes about the body, pain, dance, and various issues around motherhood, pregnancy and reproductive health. Her essays have been published in the New York Times, the Washington Post, The Cut, O: The Oprah Magazine, Marie Claire, Lenny Letter, Longreads, Healthline, The Forward, Dance Teacher, Dance Spirit (where she was an editor), and Dance Magazine, where she’s a contributing writer. She has taught writing through the HEAL Program; at Webster University in Vienna, Austria; at Columbia University’s Summer Program; and at high schools all over New York City and Vienna, Austria. Her memoir-in-progress, How To Stand: An Inadvertent Journey in Body and Soul, explores the back injury that ended her dance career and the process she went on to heal her body.

Dr. Karen Restifo

Karen Restifo, MD
(323) 442-2420

An Emergency Medicine physician originally from Philadelphia, Dr. Karen Restifo received her BA from the University of Pennsylvania, her MD from Georgetown University School of Medicine, and did her Emergency Medicine Residency at Johns Hopkins University.  Dr. Restifo is also a graduate of the University of Connecticut School of Law and completed a Medical Ethics Fellowship at Harvard. During law school Dr. Restifo worked with the Connecticut Attorney General’s Health Care Fraud Division helping with consumer health care related issues and patient advocacy.

Dr. Restifo is currently the Associate Dean for Student Affairs at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California after serving as the Associate Dean of Student Affairs for a new medical school co-developed by Texas Christian University and the University of North Texas Health Science and the Associate Dean of Student Affairs for University of Arizona, College of Medicine- Phoenix. Dr. Restifo also spent ten years at Yale University School of Medicine where she was in charge of Emergency Medicine medical student education and worked to develop the Emergency Medicine residency. Dr. Restifo is currently chair of the AAMC Western Group on Student Affairs and previously served on the AAMC Council on Student Affairs.

Dr. Sonali Saluja

Sonali Saluja, MD, MPH
(323) 409-3910

Sonali Saluja, MD, MPH, is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine and health services researcher at The Gehr Family Center for Health Systems Science. She completed her residency training in Internal Medicine at Providence Portland Medical Center in Portland, Oregon. She received a Master of Public Health from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health while she completed her fellowship training in General Internal Medicine at the Cambridge Health Alliance. Dr. Saluja is board certified in internal medicine and currently sees patients at LAC+USC hospital where she teaches and supervises residents and medical students. Dr. Saluja’s research focuses on health disparities as well as access to care for vulnerable populations, particularly in the context of healthcare reform and health system transformations. She has received a KL2 award to study barriers to healthcare for safety-net patients in Los Angeles. Dr. Saluja is also the course director for the Gehr Schaeffer Health Policy Educational Series, a part of the HEAL curriculum that integrates health policy and health systems science into Keck Medical School curriculum.

Erin OKeefe, Headshot

Erin O’Keefe
Program Assistant, KSOM Curriculum Office
(323) 442-2299

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