The USC School of Pharmacy’s first annual Hoops 4 Change Tournament brought together students, faculty, staff, alumni and preceptors to play basketball with a purpose. The event, created by Associate Professor Naomi Florea, raised $30,000 to support the school’s global initiatives, including the upcoming clinical service mission to Romania.
Through such trips, students deliver much-needed medical care and supplies to areas around the world, gaining invaluable experience while helping others.
“We’re going to be supporting work in underserved communities, both here and abroad,” said Associate Dean of Clinical Affairs Steven Chen of the day’s goal as he welcomed spectators and players to the event, held Sunday, Feb. 12 at the Galen Center.
The winning teams were captained by undergraduate Lisa Mekhitarian, Berj Krikorian from the Gold bracket, and PhD candidate Elmar Aliyev from the Cardinal bracket.
“It was truly an exciting day to bond, network, and have genuine fun,” says pharmacy student Tam Phan, who participated in the 2016 Romania clinical service trip. “Being involved in planning this fundraiser really showed me that great accomplishments can be made with synergistic teamwork and a genuine objective.”
Twenty teams of eight members each played two games. Chen led the faculty team, Graphic Design Coordinator Isaac Mora headed the staff team and Johannes van Dijk helmed the doctoral students. PharmD team captains included Irene Chen, Marl Ayson, Camilia Khalil and Marina Boulos.
The Trojan Marching Band kicked off the event, which attracted an audience of nearly 200. In between the initial games and the championship matches, USC Basketball Players Chimezie Metu and Bennie Boatwright treated the crowd to a three-point contest. The festive day also featured raffles, prizes and vendor booths.
“Through this fundraiser, the Romania Medical Mission Trip is able to continue its service,” said Pham, remembering the impact of the 2016 medical mission, “The trip is personally special to me, and I know the patients we served would say the same thing. I came back from the trip with a renewed perspective of gratitude and humility, and these essences remain there as I reflect upon the smiles and appreciation the patients showed us when we were in Romania.”