President C. L. Max Nikias celebrates the USC-Verdugo Hills Hospital partnership with Thomas Jackiewicz and Debbie Walsh. (Photo/Steve Cohn Photography)

Leaders from USC Verdugo Hills Hospital welcomed more than 150 dignitaries to a festive reception held Aug. 19 at the Glendale, Calif., hospital, USC’s newest addition to its growing clinical enterprise.

Following a rousing entrance by the USC Trojan Marching Band, USC Health Senior Vice President and CEO Thomas E. Jackiewicz kicked off the event with a special greeting and introduction of elected and community officials and guests as well as the hospital’s new CEO Debbie Walsh.

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USC President C. L. Max Nikias spoke about the important place USC Verdugo Hills Hospital holds within the Keck Medicine of USC organization, particularly as the academic medical center positions itself as a leader in a changing health care reform environment.

“I assure you that what we have accomplished individually will be nothing compared to what we will achieve by working together,” Nikias said. “I am convinced that USC Verdugo Hills Hospital will provide patients with the very best of both worlds.”

Elected officials in attendance included U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff and Michael Antonovich, a member of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. They applauded the partnership between Verdugo Hills Hospital and USC and noted the positive impact it would have on the surrounding community and the broader Southern California region.

Each organization brings complementary strengths, enhancing the level of care available to residents of the Foothill communities: Verdugo patients benefit from the research, clinical, organizational and financial support afforded by a world-class academic medical center, while patients of Keck Medicine and others who live in the area gain enhanced access to the system, Jackiewicz said.

“In an increasingly competitive health care landscape, we are well-positioned to capitalize on our combined assets and deliver exceptional patient care that is unparalleled in this region,” he said. “It is absolutely the right move at the right time for both our organizations.”

The opening festivities concluded with the dramatic unfurling of a banner revealing the hospital’s new name, as the Trojan Marching Band played the familiar “Fight On” anthem and doves ascended the skies. The guests then adjourned to a seated luncheon and a program featuring remarks from outgoing USC Verdugo Hills Hospital CEO Leonard LaBella and hospital foundation board chair Rod Dorman.

At the luncheon, Jackiewicz presented a video showcasing the story of the two organizations, and guests got a first glimpse of USC Verdugo Hills Hospital’s new brochure.

The celebrations will continue with a community-wide event on Sept. 28, featuring a health fair and activities designed for kids and families, as well as tours of the newly renovated hospital.