Professor Melvin Baron Retires After a Remarkable 60+ Year Career

Professor Mel Baron, seen here at Ramirez Pharmacy in Boyle Heights, has retired after a 60-year career. (Photo by Ed Carreon)

After more than 40 years of distinguished service to the University, Dr. Melvin Baron, PharmD, MPA, Professor of Clinical Pharmacy, has retired at the end of June. Dr. Baron has made significant contributions to the profession of pharmacy, and as an educator he has inspired and guided the professional careers of countless students and faculty.

Following the completion of his PharmD training at USC, Dr. Baron established a community pharmacy which over a 30-year period he developed into an innovative home health care center providing infusion therapy, ostomy care, durable medical equipment, and respiratory and incontinence care. Shield Healthcare, which Dr. Baron founded, is now a national chain of home health care centers providing unique services that he foresaw as an unmet need for his patients.

With the success of his private practice, Dr. Baron 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. Leveraging his entrepreneurial and leadership skills, Dr. Baron co-directed the PharmD/MBA Program and taught clerkships in Pharmacy Administration and Health Care Needs of Special Populations.

A Champion of the Underserved

As a faculty member, Dr. Baron has championed the efforts to improve the health of underserved populations. He served as a consulting pharmacist for several community clinics that serve indigent patients in Los Angeles County. Dr. Baron’s scholarly focus was 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 multiple fotonovelas and audio-visual novellas, most recently covering the important topics of hypertension, breast cancer and immunizations. These health literacy projects have garnered national attention with thousands being distributed to individuals in need.

In recognition of his contributions to the profession, Dr. Baron has received many awards from regional and national pharmacy organizations. He was awarded Fellow of the California Pharmacists Association, the American Pharmacists Association, and the American College of Apothecaries. In 2008, he was named “Pharmacist of the Year” by the California Pharmacists Association. He and other faculty colleagues received the 2007 Pinnacle Award of the American Pharmacists 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 individual achievement, recognizing his health literacy projects. In 2021, he was inducted into the California Pharmacy Hall of Fame by the California Pharmacists Association.

Please join the School of Pharmacy community in congratulating Dr. Baron on his remarkable career, and in wishing him well on his much-deserved retirement. An in-person retirement celebration is being planned for this fall.

If you would like to honor Dr. Baron by giving to the USC Mel and Lorraine Baron Endowed Scholarship Fund, you can do so by clicking here. We thank you.