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Pacific Center for Health Policy and Ethics

In Memoriam: Dr. David A. Goldstein,
Pacific Center Co-Founder

David Aaron Goldstein, M.D., who co-founded the Pacific Center for Health Policy and Ethics in 1990 and served as its Co-Director, died on May 22, 2017, at his home, after a year-long illness, at the age of 71. A leader who contributed enormously to the development of medicine at the Keck School of Medicine and the university's private and public hospitals,Dr. Goldstein was a beloved physician, teacher, mentor, and colleague.

A graduate of Lafayette College in Pennsylvania and the State University of New York-Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, Dr. Goldstein came to the Los Angeles County + University of Southern California Medical Center in 1975 for a Nephrology Fellowship. For more than 40 years, Dr. Goldstein provided superb care to patients, played a leading role in USC's academic community, and was a leader in building clinical services for the Keck Medical Center, as the long-time Vice Chair for Clinical Affairs of the Department of Medicine. At the time of his medical leave in 2016, he was also Co-Chair of the Ethics Resource Committee of the Keck Hospital, Chief of the Division of Geriatric, Hospital, Palliative and General Internal Medicine, and Director of Primary Care for the Keck Medical Center of USC, an activity that involves faculty physicians from General Internal Medicine, Family Medicine, Pediatrics, Obstetrics/Gynecology and Geriatrics. He had previously served as Chair of the USC Institutional Biosafety Committee, and Chair of the Clinical Practice Committee of the USC Care Medical Group.

Besides his tireless devotion to his patients' welfare, Dr. Goldstein was an enthusiastic educator of medical students, both in the classroom and in the hospital. He served the medical school as Director of Undergraduate Medical Education (1982-86), Chair of the Medical Education and Curriculum Committee (1982-89), and Associate Dean for Curriculum (1984-89). As Co-Director of the Pacific Center, he spearheaded the creation of the HEAL (Humanities, Ethics/Economics, Arts and Law) Curriculum, which helps students not only to grapple with bioethics dilemmas at the bedside, within healthcare institutions, and in society at large but also to appreciate how the arts and humanities can make them better practitioners, more able to connect with, understand, and respond to their patients.

"David Goldstein was a consummate teacher," says Prof. Alex Capron, co-founder of the Pacific Center. "For many years, we taught medical ethics to third-year medical students during their Internal Medicine rotation, and I was always in awe of his skill. He inspired the students both to place their patients at the center of their practice and to recognize how often that goal is complicated by conflicting goals, interests, and views. His great respect for the students-listening carefully to them and pressing them to think clearly-provided them with a model for interacting with colleagues as well as with patients and their families."

In addition to the Pacific Center, Dr. Goldstein, who held the Flores Chair in Health Services Research, also recently established the Gehr Family Center for Implementation Science, with the mission to foster research into a wide variety of healthcare innovations.

About the Pacific Center

At a time when developments in medical technology are creating moral and ethical challenges in health care at an ever increasing rate, the Pacific Center for Health Policy and Ethics is addressing some of the most critical and complex bioethical issues facing our society. Among these are patients' control over dying, new reproductive technologies including surrogate motherhood, human gene therapy and use of presymptomatic genetic screening, equitable access to health care, and ethical issues in managed care.

The Pacific Center-created in 1991 jointly by the USC Law and the USC Keck School of Medicine-brings an interdisciplinary as well as inter-institutional perspective to the study of ethical problems and health policy development. Recognizing that important issues in health care and research require the broadest possible discussion, the Pacific Center brings together experts form a wide range of fields at USC with representatives from healthcare providers, consumer groups, government, insurers, and other ethics centers.

The Pacific Center's work is enhanced by its location at the University of Southern California. This urban institution has many connections to the multiethnic community of Los Angeles, including close association with several hospitals that serve both indigent and private patients. This combination of diverse populations and hospital settings offers the Pacific Center a unique opportunity to examine the health policy choices that Americans of all cultural backgrounds make or would like to make, given adequate resources.

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