Epstein family gift enhances sports medicine research and care at USC

USC Trustee Daniel Epstein and his wife, Phyllis, give $10 million via their family foundation to support sports medicine research and treatment at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. (Photo courtesy of Daniel and Phyllis Epstein)
USC Trustee Daniel Epstein and his wife, Phyllis, give $10 million via their family foundation to support sports medicine research and treatment at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. (Photo courtesy of Daniel and Phyllis Epstein)

Researchers and clinicians at the Keck School of Medicine of USC’s Department of Orthopaedic Surgery will advance their pioneering work on treatments and techniques to prevent and heal sports-related injuries thanks to a new $10 million gift.

The donation from USC Trustee Daniel Epstein and his wife, Phyllis, via the Epstein Family Foundation will help the newly named USC Epstein Family Center for Sports Medicine bolster its world-class research, education and treatment.

“Dan and Phyllis Epstein have been stalwart supporters of the university for decades, and their latest gift will ensure our highly skilled sports medicine doctors and scientists can achieve important breakthroughs in their research, improve treatment for athletes and provide preventive therapy and compassionate care for their patients,” said Albert R. Checcio, USC senior vice president for university advancement. “Their extraordinary generosity will benefit not only our outstanding USC Trojan student-athletes, but also professional competitors, Olympians, local youth and many other athletes in our community.”

“We are honored to continue our support of this outstanding institution by naming the USC Epstein Family Center for Sports Medicine,” Daniel Epstein said. “We are thrilled that this new gift will strengthen and advance two of the university’s signature areas of excellence — sports medicine and intercollegiate athletics.”

Epstein Family Foundation supports USC student-athletes

Experts at the center, who practice within the Keck Medicine of USC health system, specialize in the treatment of sports injuries affecting the shoulder, knee, hip and elbow. They use minimally invasive arthroscopic procedures to lessen pain and speed the healing process. They also collaborate with other specialists, including clinicians at the USC Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy, to promote nonsurgical and preventive solutions like strengthening muscles used in a particular sport.

The USC Epstein Family Center for Sports Medicine’s specialists will collaborate with USC Athletics and Keck Medicine of USC to study and develop innovative injury prevention strategies to keep USC Trojan student-athletes healthy and on the field, help predict their risk of injury and re-injury, and return them to their sport at the most appropriate time following injury. New advancements in player safety and treatment gleaned from the USC Trojans will benefit elite, youth and recreational athletes everywhere.

In addition to serving as the official doctors of USC Trojan athletes, the sports medicine team works with many other elite competitors, including Olympic and professional athletes.

Athletes of all levels rely on the center’s experts to repair tears of the anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus in the knee, restore damaged joints and fix complex fractures. Others seek care for nagging injuries like rotator cuff problems, shoulder stiffness and tennis elbow.

“The USC Epstein Family Center for Sports Medicine will help set national standards for the prevention and treatment of athletic injuries and will lead the way with basic science research to address the most pressing challenges in the field,” said Jay R. Lieberman, MD, professor and chair of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery.

Calling on experts in key health areas

The new funding will enable the department to recruit more experts in critical areas such as ligament and tendon repair, in addition to launching a national search for a dynamic leader to serve as director of the center.

“This increased funding will provide the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery with the necessary resources to collaborate with other schools and divisions across the university, blending orthopedic surgery with stem cell research, tissue engineering, biomechanics, robotics and neuroscience to develop new therapies and speed them into practice,” said Laura Mosqueda, MD, dean of the Keck School, professor of family medicine and geriatrics and John H. Hooval, MD, Dean’s Chair.

The gift will also establish a unit dedicated to collecting and analyzing data and the management of clinical trials to improve patient outcomes, including quality of life following surgery or treatment. New seed funding will allow scientists to test promising research ideas, with the goal of attracting larger grants from federal or private sources.

Educating the next generation of sports medicine specialists is another priority. Center officials envision creating an advanced training facility for professionals from across the university’s medical school and other departments.

“We plan to build a surgical simulation laboratory that will allow our fellows, residents, medical students and faculty members to hone their skills and develop new surgical techniques, including arthroscopic and other minimally invasive procedures to repair damaged ligaments and tendons,” Lieberman said. “This is going to be a game-changer in how the next generation of specialists in sports medicine are trained.”

Family ties to the university

The Epstein family has long-standing ties to the university. Daniel Epstein earned his bachelor’s degree in engineering from the USC Viterbi School of Engineering in 1962 and serves on the school’s board of councilors. He also is a member of the executive committee of the USC Lusk Center for Real Estate and chair of the advisory committee of the Daniel J. Epstein Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering. Phyllis Epstein is a board member of the USC Roski School of Art and Design and the USC Shoah Foundation — The Institute for Visual History and Education. Both of their children graduated from USC.

The Epstein family has made numerous transformative donations to the university, including a naming gift for the Epstein Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at USC Viterbi and the lead gift to fund the Epstein Family Alumni Center. Epstein has served on the USC Board of Trustees since 2002.

Keck Medicine of USC is the university’s medical enterprise and encompasses academic research and clinical excellence. The Keck Medical Center of USC features Keck Hospital of USC, USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, USC Verdugo Hills Hospital and more than 40 outpatient facilities in Los Angeles, Orange, Kern, Tulare and Ventura counties.

At the Keck School, more than 4,150 full-time and voluntary faculty direct the education of approximately 800 medical students and 1,000 students pursuing graduate and postgraduate degrees. The school trains more than 900 resident physicians in more than 50 specialty or subspecialty programs and is the largest educator of physicians practicing in Southern California. Together, the school’s faculty

Mentioned in this article: Jay R. Lieberman, MD