Ostrow welcomes Lourdes Baezconde-Garbanati as 2023 Commencement Speaker

Lourdes Baezconde-Garbanati portrait

John Hobbs MA '14


26 Apr 23

Baezconde-Garbanati is best known for her prolific research analyzing health disparities among underrepresented communities. 

THE HERMAN OSTROW SCHOOL OF DENTISTRY OF USC WILL WELCOME Dr. Lourdes Baezconde-Garbanati to deliver the keynote at its satellite ceremony for the 2023 Commencement on Friday, May 12 beginning at 11 a.m.

“Providing treatment to underserved populations to help address oral healthcare disparities is a cornerstone of an Ostrow education,” said Dean Avishai Sadan. “We are thrilled to have Lourdes share her own expertise with our students in the hopes that they will continue the all-too important work of giving back to underserved populations in their own communities.”

Baezconde-Garbanati is a distinguished professor in population and public health sciences at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, where she also serves as the associate dean for community initiatives. She holds a number of leadership positions across Keck, including associate director for community outreach and engagement at the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, the director of the Center for Health Equity in the America’s in Keck’s Department of Population and Public Health Sciences and the associate director of the Southern California Center for Latino Health, a join venture between USC and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. 

“I am honored and very appreciative for this opportunity to address our 2023 USC graduating class of dentists,” Baezconde-Garbanati said. “They have demonstrated exceptional commitment to their studies, to the community and to the elimination of health disparities during one of the most difficult times the world faced in our lifetime, the COVID-19 pandemic.” 


Delivering A Message of Joy and Hope


Baezconde-Garbanati earned her master’s and PhD in public health from UCLA. She also has a master’s in medical psychology from Universite Catholique de Louvain in Belgium and two academic degrees from Latin America from the Universidad Nacional Pedro H. Urena.

Baezconde-Garbanati is a prolific researcher with a long history of successful NIH-funded research grants, participation in eight NIH-funded centers and more than 200 impactful publications in scientific journals. 

She is recognized nationally and internationally in her field and has been honored with numerous awards and recognition for her work, including a Humanitarian of Hope Award from the Celebrate Life Ministry for her work on cancer as well as a Hands of Hope Award from the Lazarex Cancer Foundation.

At Commencement, she hopes to provide a message of joy, hope, continued wonder and purpose, she says. 

“While much in our lives was, at times, chaotic and unprecedented at best during the pandemic, this class inspired us. I hope they have also inspired each other and that they will carry that with them the rest of their lives,” she said. “Their resiliency is truly admirable, and I hope they remember many awe-inspiring moments they experienced, and the remarkable lessons learned while at USC.” 

Recent news