Season’s Greetings

Dean Vassilios Papadopoulos

Dear Friends:

With the new year on the horizon comes hope in the form of vaccines for COVID-19. Such advances will enable us to finally overcome the pandemic—putting us on the path to normalcy so we can teach and interact with our students in person, gather together and once again hug our loved ones.

This year taught us that we are more resilient than we thought. The school adapted to extraordinary circumstances in our work and service. We took our curriculum online to continue educating students to the highest standards. We also pivoted quickly to study the coronavirus in our labs and contribute to novel therapies. Meanwhile, our health economists modeled distribution strategies and fair pricing for vaccines and therapies. And we partnered with the City of Los Angeles to administer more than 10,000 free flu vaccines to help Angelenos avert the “twindemic.”

The pandemic reaffirmed the essential role pharmacy professionals, pharmaceutical scientists and regulatory affairs experts play in societal health. More than ever, we brought our expertise to neighborhood pharmacies, to health systems across the country, and to advocacy with local, state and national governments. Our experts proposed pooled testing as an economical solution to get schools and workplaces back in operation. They made the case for pharmacists to be authorized to use their training in widely vaccinating community members with COVID-19 inoculations.

We were also reminded of our capacity for deep compassion. Some of us lost loved ones and neighbors to COVID-19. Many people in our communities lost jobs or experienced hunger. Many more were isolated. Here, too, the school community made a positive difference. Our students connected with seniors to help ease loneliness. Our alumni donated personal protective equipment and put together wellness boxes to help front-line pharmacy professionals avoid burnout.

Finally, many of us learned some new recipes and took on new hobbies that helped us get through this strange year. A number of you contributed to our first-ever Community Cookbook, which features treasured recipes and reflections from the broad School of Pharmacy family—and also raises money for student scholarships.

I am proud of our school, our university and our larger community for not just getting through this year but also making positive contributions on many fronts and offering continual support. I look forward to new learning, sharing and achieving in the new year.

Thank you for your ongoing support, and I wish for you and your loved ones a safe holiday season and a brighter 2021.

Vassilios Papadopoulos
Dean, USC School of Pharmacy