The USC School of Pharmacy received a $5 million gift to create a center that will help ensure patients receive the right medication and guidance to reduce their risk of hospitalization, university officials announced Thursday.

The donation from the estate of USC alumna Susie Titus, who died in February 2020,will be used to establish the USC Titus Center for Medication Safety and Population Health.

“The goal of the Titus Center is to improve patient health and safety by ensuring that patients with chronic diseases receive the right medication at the right doses, avoid dangerous drug interactions and understand how to use each medication correctly,” said Steven Chen, the school’s associate dean for clinical affairs.

Taking the wrong medication or dosage can lead to costly hospital visits or even death, Chen said.

“Over $528 billion of avoidable spending occurs each year in the U.S. due to harm or inadequate results from medication, accounting for the third leading cause of death,” he said. “The Titus Center will create opportunities for pharmacists to ensure that all patients, regardless of socioeconomic status, attain optimal results from medication therapy.”

Titus, who earned her bachelor’s degree in education from USC in 1960 and came from a long line of Trojans and pharmacists, is one of seven relatives to graduate from USC. The Titus family endowed the pharmacy department at the USC School of Pharmacy in 2004.

“We are deeply grateful to Susie Titus for her vision and generosity,” said USC School of Pharmacy Dean Vassilios Papadopoulos. “Likewise, we are grateful to the entire Titus family for their longstanding support of the USC School of Pharmacy.”

Part of the donation will fund the salary of the Susie Titus Professorship in Medication Safety. That faculty member will have a background in health care data science, machine learning, artificial intelligence and medication safety. The holder of the endowed professorship will encourage USC School of Pharmacy students to explore new technologies and strengthen the mission of the USC Titus Center.

“This support will allow USC students the opportunity to learn the critical components of developing a sustainable advanced pharmacy practice,” Papadopoulos said. “Through the USC Titus Center, students will gain exposure to health care data science, machine learning and artificial intelligence in medication safety — tools to ensure they are prepared for successful careers in a dynamic health care environment.”

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