Source Alert

USC experts available to comment on Affordable Care Act, hospital emergency preparedness, lung cancer, marijuana use and thyroid cancer

November 12, 2012

Affordable Care Act
Michael R. Cousineau, DrPH, is an expert from the Keck School of Medicine of USC on health care policy and reform for the underserved and uninsured. He can address how President Obama’s re-election will affect the future of health care delivery. “The Affordable Care Act will have a profound impact on the nation, but particularly in California because of the high number of uninsured people. There is much work to do to implement the law, including the establishment of health benefit exchange, payment reform and expanding Medi-Cal.” Contact him at (213) 248-9755, cell; (323) 442-8249, office; or

Hospital Emergency Preparedness
Robert C. Vance III, CPP, CHEP, is the emergency management officer at the Keck Hospital of USC and USC Norris Cancer Hospital. He can comment on disaster planning and emergency preparedness for hospitals. “Most of the hospitals in the area affected by Hurricane Sandy had aggressive emergency operations plans and did perform at least a standard hazardous vulnerability assessment. There were some mistakes made, but let’s be clear: No amount of planning could ever totally mitigate even the most prepared facility for an event of this magnitude.” Contact him at (323)-443-9915; or

Lung Cancer
Jeffrey A. Hagen, M.D., is chief of the division of thoracic surgery at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and co-leader of the USC Norris Lung Cancer Program. He can discuss why lung cancer is the deadliest cancer in the U.S. and new therapies available to diagnose and treat the disease. “A big emphasis in our program is on less invasive means of both establishing a diagnosis and treating patients with lung cancer. We are one of the largest and fastest growing robotic lung surgery programs in the Western United States and the only academic medical center in Southern California that’s performing the robotic lobectomy technique, which allows us to do the same type of cancer operation that we’ve done in the past with smaller incisions, quicker recovery and shorter hospital stay.” Contact him at (323) 442-9066, office; (626) 437-4663, cell; or

Marijuana Use
Victoria Cortessis, MSPH, Ph.D., is assistant professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. She recently published research in Cancer, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, that found a link between recreational marijuana use and an increased risk of developing subtypes of testicular cancer that tend to carry a somewhat worse prognosis. She can comment on the potential effects of legalizing marijuana. “Legalization of marijuana may create a social environment conducive to research needed to develop evidence-based guidelines for using marijuana. One pressing question is whether marijuana-associated risk of testicular cancer can be mitigated by delaying initial recreational and therapeutic use to a particular age.” Contact her at (323) 865-0544; or

Thyroid Cancer
Melanie Goldfarb, M.D., is an assistant professor of surgery at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. She can discuss the prevalence, risk factors and treatment of thyroid cancer in young adults. “Thyroid cancer is the second most common cancer for women in their late 30s and early 40s, accounting for close to 20 percent of the cancers in that age group. Of all thyroid cancers, over 17 percent of cancer occur in women aged 40-44 and this incidence is on the rise.” Contact her at (312) 593-1199, cell; (323) 442-2830, office; or


Keck Medicine of USC encompasses the University of Southern California’s medical school and clinical enterprise. It consists of the Keck School of Medicine of USC and the Keck Medical Center of USC.

Contacts: Leslie Ridgeway at (323) 442-2823 or; Alison Trinidad at (323) 442-3941 or