Melvin F. Baron

Melvin F. Baron, PharmD, MPA


Clinical Pharmacy

Research Topics

  1. Community and ambulatory pharmacy practice and homecare
  2. Implementation of clinical pharmacy services in commmunity clinics
  3. Development of health education tools for low-literacy, low-income populations

Contact Information


PharmD, USC 1957
MPA, USC, 1973

Melvin F. Baron


Dr. Baron was in private practice from 1957 to 1987 and developed a unique home health care center providing infusion therapy, ostomy care, durable medical equipment, and respiratory and incontinence care. He joined the USC School of Pharmacy faculty on a part-time basis in 1981 and became a full-time faculty member in 1990.

As a member of the clinical faculty, Dr. Baron served as the Director for the first level externship program, which he helped create. In addition, he is the co-director of the PharmD/MBA Program and is responsible for teaching clerkships in Pharmacy Administration and Health Care Needs of Special Populations.

Dr. Baron serves as a consulting pharmacist for several community clinics that serve indigent patients in Los Angeles County. He is a member of the California Safety Net Alliance Pharmacy & Therapeutics Committee. He is a Fellow of the California Pharmacists Association, Fellow of the American Pharmacists Association and a Fellow the American College of Apothecaries. Dr. Baron is the President of PharmaCom, a pharmceutical comunications company.

Dr. Baron's professional affiliations include the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, American Society of Health-Systems Pharmacists, American Pharmaceutical Association, California Pharmaceutical Association, Fellow - American College of Apothecaries, and American Public Administration Association. He is also a member of Rho Chi Society, Faculty Advisor to Phi Lambda Sigma, and has been honored as the Preceptor of the Year and the Distinguished Alumnus of the Year.

In 2008, Dr. Baron was named "Pharmacist of the Year" by the California Pharmacists Association. He and other faculty colleagues received the 2007 Pinnacle Award of the American Phamacists Association and the 2009 Transformative Community Service Award of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy. In 2011, Dr. Baron was awarded a Pinnacle Award for inidividual achievement recognizing his health literacy projects. In 2012 Dr. Baron was inducted into USC Half Century Hall of Fame. In 2017 Dr. Baron was awarded a Life Time Achievement Award.

Dr. Baron’s focus is on his Health Literacy Program, whose purpose is to develop, distribute, and evaluate health-related media for underserved and low literacy Latino populations. Since the Health Literacy Program began in 2000, he has produced 10 fotonovelas and two audio-visual novelas. Peer review articles have supported the efficacy of the fotonovelas and audio-visual novelas.

Fotonovelas: Bilingual Healthcare Education Booklets
This series of booklets, or fotonovelas, is an educational and entertaining tool for clinical outreach to the Latino community. Presented in English and in Spanish, the booklets teach readers important lessons about subjects such as diabetes, breast cancer, depression, and medication adherence; quell common medical misconceptions; and provide answers to everyday
health questions. Each storybook focuses on a different health topic and uses humor to engage both English- and Spanish-speaking audiences. To date, over 500,000 fotonovelas have been distributed worldwide with an estimated reading audience
of 2 million.

Target Customers:
Businesses and organizations interested in engaging the Latino community: health clinics, medical insurance providers, hospitals, adult education facilities, community colleges, pharmacies, pharmaceutical companies, medical device companies (diabetes supplies, mammogram machines), community resource centers, etc.

Businesses and organizations can expand their clientele reach and better serve the Spanish- speaking population with these educational and fun-to-read booklets that can be used for doctors to communicate to their patients, and for viewing in clinics, hospitals, buses, and adult education schools in underserved Latino communities.

Fotonovela Topics
1) Dementia - Forgotten Memories (Recuerdos Olvidados) - a fotonovela on the recognition and treatment options for dementia

2) Diabetes - Sweet Temptations (Tentaciones Dulces) - a fotonovela on diabetes management and the risks and myths associated with the disease among Hispanic families. This was translated into Dutch for use in a research study at the University of Groningen

3) Depression - Secret Feelings (Sentimientos Secretos) - a fotonovela on depression to educate patients about the condition and improve drug compliance to achieve positive health outcomes.

4) Childhood Obesity - Rosa Out of Control (Rosa Fuera de Control) - a fotonovela on childhood obesity focusing on prevention and treatment

5) Pediatric Asthma - Oscar and the Giant (Oscar y el Gigante) - a fotonovela on improving management and drug compliance for pediatric asthma

6) Medication Adherence -Fiesta Fiasco (Fiesta de Fiasco) - a fotonovela on medication adherence

7) Folic Acid - What My Girlfriend Didn’t Know (Lo Que No Sabia Mi Novia) -a fotonovela on folic acid and its importance in reducing the risk of birth defects

8) Breast Cancer - Gloria Takes the Leap (Gloria da el Gran Salto) - a fotonovela on breast cancer and the importance of mammograms

9) Immunizations – Infectious Rumors! (Rumores Infecciosos!)- a fotonovela dispelling the immunization myths and the importance of getting vaccinated

Audio-Visual (DVD) Topics

1) Childhood Obesity - “Rosa Out of Control” (“Rosa Fuera de Control”) - the first audio-visual novella, was produced for computer and TV viewing in clinics, hospitals, buses, and adult education schools in underserved Latino communities. The obesity audio-visual novela was broadcast March 30, 2014 on KLCS-TV, a PBS station in Los Angeles.

2) Dementia - “Forgotten Memories”(“Recuerdos Olvidados”) - based on the dementia fotonovela, was also produced for computer and TV viewing in clinics, hospitals, buses, and adult education schools in underserved Latino communities. The dementia audio-visual novella was broadcast on May 17, 2015 and May 31, 2015 on KLCS-TV, a PBS station in Los Angeles.

Demonstrated Effectiveness

Research studies have shown that the USC fotonovelas, as well as the audio-visual novelas, serve as effective education tools for low literacy audiences. Articles supporting this have appeared in journals outlined below.

Peer Reviewed Articles

Grigsby TJ, Unger JB, Molina GM, Baron M. Evaluation of an Audio-Visual Novela to Improve Beliefs, Attitudes and Knowledge toward Dementia: A Mixed-Methods Approach. Clinical Gerontologist. July 16, 2016.

Cabassa LJ, Oh H, Humensky J, Unger JB, Molina GB , Baron M. Comparing the Impact on Lations of a Depression Brochure and an Entertainment-Education Depression Fotonovela, Psychiatric Services. Psychiatric Services March 2015 DOI

Unger JB, Cabassa LJ, Molina GB, Contreras S, Baron M. Evaluation of a fotonovela to increase depression knowledge and reduce stigma among Hispanic adults. J Immigrant Minority Health. April 8, 2012. DOI: 10.1007/s10903-012-9623-5.

Cabassa, LJ, Contreras S, Aragon R, Molina GB, Baron M. Focus Group Evaluation of “Secret Feelings”: A Depression Fotonovela for Latinos With Limited English Proficiency. Health Promot Pract. August 1, 2011. DOI: 10.1177/1524839911399430.

Cabassa LJ, Molina GB, Baron M. Depression fotonovela: Development of a Depression Literacy Tool for Latinos With Limited English Proficiency. Health Promot Pract. November 4, 2010. [Epub ahead of print].

Unger JB, Molina G, Baron M. Evaluation of Sweet Temptations, a Fotonovela for Diabetes Education. Hispanic Health Care International. 2009: 7(3):145-152.

Ruth Koops van ‘t, John C.J.Hoeks, Evelien Duizer, Melvin Baron, Gregory B. Molina, Jennifer B. Unger, and Carel J.M. Jansen, Sweet Temptations: How Does Reading a Fotonovela about Diabetes Affect Dutch Adults with Different Levels of Literacy? Routledge Taylor & Francis Group. 2017:

Published Articles

American Association of Colleges Pharmacy Academic Pharmacy NOW Volume 8, 2015 Issue 3

Research Images

Selected Projects/Publications

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Fotonovela: Diabetes prevention and education for a low-literacy, low-income Latino population. Project Director [2004] USC Neighborhood Outreach Grant, $32,000.

Szeinbach SL, Baron M, guschke T, Torkilson EA. Survery of state requirements for unit-of-use packaging. Am J Health-Sys Pharm [2003] 60:1863-1866.

Implementation and Expansion of Pharmacist Clinical Services to Improve Health Outcomes for Medically Underserved Patients. Co-investigator with Kathleen A. Johnson, Pharm.D., Ph.D., Jeff Goad, Pharm.D., BCPS, and Steve Chen, Pharm.D., BCPS. UniHealth Foundation, May 2003, $405,150 funded, three years.

Baron MF. The Pharmacist as a Healer. Am J Health-Sys Pharm [1999] 56:576.