Dean of Keck School of Medicine of USC resigns

Carmen Puliafito, dean of the Keck School of Medicine of USC, announced his resignation Thursday in an email addressed to the faculty, staff and students of the school.

“I am grateful for the opportunity of leading this medical school over the past eight and a half years,” Puliafito wrote in the email.

Puliafito has been the dean since 2007, when he took over from the previous dean Brian Henderson. He earned his degree in medicine from Harvard University and an M.B.A from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. Before becoming dean, Puliafito was the director of the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute and the chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

Puliafito stepped down to “return to academic ophthalmology and pursue some identified opportunities in healthcare,” according to the statement. Provost Michael Quick also sent out an email to the faculty, staff and students of Keck.

“We are grateful to Dr. Puliafito for his service to the university,” wrote Quick in his email. “The contributions he made to our medical enterprise are numerous and long lasting.”

Quick also announced USC professor Rohit Varma — the Grace and Emery Beardsley Chair in Ophthalmology, ophthalmology chair at Keck, director of the Eye Institute and president of USC Care Medical Group — as interim dean.

“An accomplished physician-scientist, Dr. Varma also is a dedicated and capable leader and we appreciate his service in this interim role,” Quick said.

Puliafito said in his press release that he feels proud of the school’s accomplishments during the time he served as a dean.

“I would like to thank each and every one of you for the wonderful support and encouragement that you have provided me during my term as dean and look forward to rejoining the faculty and pursuing some exciting new career directions,” Puliafito said in his email.