Editorial Style Guide 2020-06-25T16:30:41+00:00

Editorial Style Guide for Keck Medicine of USC and the Keck School of Medicine of USC

Keck Medicine of USC and the Keck School of Medicine of USC use an editorial style guide primarily following Associated Press Style in its internal and external communication channels. Special exceptions are listed in this editorial style guide; if your question is not addressed, follow AP Style or American Medical Association Style.

Members of the USC community on USC IP addresses have free access to AP Style online through USC Libraries (https://libraries.usc.edu/databases/ap-stylebook). For off-site access, connect via the university’s VPN.

For further guidance, refer to Merriam-Webster.

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A

Abbreviations: Acronyms may be used on second reference but try to use “the center,” “the institute” or simply a shortened version of the center or institute’s name if possible. Do not use KSOM or KMC in external communications channels to indicate the Keck School of Medicine of USC, Keck Medical Center of USC or Keck Medicine of USC. USC-VHH is acceptable on second reference. See: Second references

Academic degrees: Use academic degrees, not courtesy titles (Dr.), when referring to a person in Keck Medicine communications channels. Do not use periods on degrees; use commas before and after the degree in a sentence; list degrees in a person’s first reference in descending order. Examples: Mark Humayun, MD, PhD; Donna Elliott, MD, EdD; Vassilios Papadopoulos, DPharm, PhD. EXCEPTIONS: Paul Viviano does not want degrees listed after his name, Ed Crandall prefers PhD, MD

Alzheimer Disease Research Center; BUT Alzheimer’s Therapeutic Research Institute (ATRI) of the Keck School of Medicine of USC

Alzheimer’s disease when not referring to a named institution, per AP Style

Attribution: Format generally should be noun-verb, “Sherrie said”, NOT “said Sherrie”. Use the latter only when a description of the individual follows the name. Example: … said Sherrie, a fourth-year medical student. Use last names only on second reference; use full names to avoid confusion if quoting people with the same last name (family members). HSC News story attributions are in past tense (said), magazine stories are in present tense (says), except when describing a specific event in the past

B

Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine: Department name changed January 2017 (formerly Biochemistry and Molecular Biology)

Black: Follow AP style for race and ethnicity descriptions, updated June 2020

Buildings/Locations: Do not use “clinic” when referring to satellite locations. Preferred: office, location

C

Captions: If written in a sentence, captions should be in past tense for magazines, present tense for HSC News. Photographer credit should be listed as (Photo/Name) for HSC News online

Capitalization: Capitalize Department, lowercase division EXCEPT USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy; USC Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy. Titles should be capitalized before names but not after

Cell and Neurobiology: Department name changed to Integrative Anatomical Sciences

Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, CHLA on second reference

Clinic: Do not use when referring to satellite locations. Preferred: office, location

Commas: No Oxford commas. In general, limit use of commas

Edward Crandall, PhD, MD (prefers PhD degree listed first)

D

Dates: Use AP Style for dates, including spelling out months when used with a year but abbreviating most months when used with specific dates and years. Example: October 2016; Oct. 15, 2016 (note, no “th”). Never abbreviated: March, April, May, June, July

Departments: Capitalize names of departments

Disease names: Lower-cased unless a proper name: Alzheimer’s disease, Ebola virus

Distinguished Professor: University designation should always be listed first and capitalized. Example: Vaughn Starnes, MD, Distinguished Professor and chair of the Department of Surgery and H. Russell Smith Foundation Chair for Stem Cell and Cardiovascular Thoracic Research

Divisions: Lower-cased (including clinical), except: USC Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy; Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy

Doctors: Use MD (no periods) instead of Dr. with names — Inderbir S. Gill, MD, NOT Dr. Inderbir S. Gill. Exception: Magazine stories use Dr. Gill on second reference

E

Eli and Edythe Broad Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Biology at USC is the research institute. Change to “…Broad CIRM Center…” when referring to the building

Donna Elliott, MD, EdD, vice dean for medical education and chair, Department of Medical Education

F

Flier, Flyer: Per AP Style, flyer is preferred to describe a handbill

Carol Folt, PhD, USC President. Chief of Staff is Rene Pak

G

Genes: Human genes are all in upper-case italics (e.g., AFP). Mouse and rat gene symbols are italicized, with only the first letter in upper-case (e.g., Gfap)

Inderbir S. Gill, MD, executive director of USC Urology, Distinguished Professor of Urology, chair of the Catherine and Joseph Aresty Department of Urology, Shirley and Donald Skinner Chair in Urologic Cancer Surgery and associate dean for clinical innovation

H

Stephanie Hall, MD, MHA, chief medical officer of Keck Medicine of USC

Rod Hanners, interim CEO of Keck Medicine of USC

Harold E. and Henrietta C. Lee Women’s Health Center at the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center

Health care: Two words unless it’s a proper name (Norris Healthcare Center)

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act: HIPAA on second reference

Health Sciences Campus, located in Los Angeles, located north of downtown Los Angeles, USC’s Health Sciences Campus

Historic General Hospital, used to refer to old County hospital building

Hyphens: Avoid hyphenation and line breaks for proper names in print. In 2019, AP Style removed hyphens for dual heritage terms (African American, Asian American) and for commonly recognized modifiers, like chocolate chip cookie and first quarter touchdown

I

Indigenous: Follow AP style for race and ethnicity descriptions, updated June 2020

Integrative Anatomical Sciences: Department formerly known as Cell and Neurobiology

Italics: Generally not used except in special circumstances

K

KeckCare, no longer used, now known as myUSCchart

Keck Medical Center of USC: On second reference, Keck Medical Center. Includes Keck Hospital of USC, USC Norris Cancer Hospital and other Keck Medicine patient care areas on the Health Sciences Campus. “USC” never precedes the “Keck” name. “USC” is always referenced at the end of a name that includes “Keck.” The preposition before USC is always “of,” never “at.”

Keck Medicine of USC: On second reference, Keck Medicine. Refers to the health system, which includes Keck Medical Center of USC, USC Verdugo Hills Hospital, offsite ambulatory locations, research centers, et al. “USC” never precedes the “Keck” name. “USC” is always referenced at the end of a name that includes “Keck.” The preposition before USC is always “of,” never “at.”

Keck School of Medicine of USC: On second reference, the Keck School, the medical school. Do not use “Keck” by itself to refer to the medical school nor use KSOM in official correspondence; use “the” in front of the school name in a sentence. “USC” never precedes the “Keck” name. The preposition before USC is always “of,” never “at.” When referencing the USC School of Medicine vs. Keck School of Medicine: Editorially, even when writing about the Keck School before the naming gift, we still refer to it as the Keck School. Exceptions are made only when chronology is especially important, or when it could be exceedingly confusing to the reader. Exceptions should be reviewed before publishing.

L

Languages: Foreign languages are not italicized in publications. Proper names (Keck Medicine of USC, USC Verdugo Hills Hospital) don’t get translated. Sentence case is preferred for program names that are translated

Caryn Lerman, PhD, director, USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center

Levels: Each level designation has its own style based on the governing board; most common usage is to capitalize Level and use Roman numerals for the number (Level I trauma center, Level III neonatal intensive care unit)

Los Angeles County + USC Medical Center, LAC+USC on second reference

Los Angeles Kings: On second reference, LA Kings (no periods)

M

Andy McMahon, PhD, W.M. Keck Provost Professor of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, and Biological Sciences; chair, Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine; and director, Eli and Edythe Broad Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at USC. Also: Chair of the Executive Committee, USC Stem Cell

Mistakes: Mistakes should be addressed immediately and a corrected document should be sent to the Marketing and Communications department email, with the correction highlighted in the body of the email

Laura Mosqueda, MD, dean of the Keck School of Medicine of USC, May S. and John H. Hooval Dean’s Chair in Medicine

N

Norris: Does not stand alone. Can refer to: Norris Healthcare Center; USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center; USC Norris Cancer Hospital; Norris Medical Library; et al.

Numbers: Use AP Style for numerals: spell out numbers under 10 in most cases, except for ages, rankings and percentages. Use Roman numerals for cancer, numbers for trials: Stage I, II, III, IV; clinical trials Phase 1, 2, 3, 4 (per NCI website)

O

Obituaries: For Keck School faculty and staff, primarily produced by Office of Faculty Affairs. Higher-profile obituaries are produced in concert with Marketing and Communications and Central Communications representatives

OB/GYN: Acceptable in all uses for obstetrics and gynecology; this is a departure from AP Style, which uses a dash

Orthopaedic Surgery: Officially called the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. Note spelling of orthopaedic; should be used with “ae” in all cases unless a proper name (U.S. News & World Report ranks it as orthopedic surgery)

P

Vassilios Papadopoulos, DPharm, PhD, dean of the USC School of Pharmacy

Harry and Celesta Pappas Quad

Percents: In 2019, AP Style changed custom to allow the % sign, with no space between the numeral and percent. Continue to spell out “percent” in casual usage (She said he has a zero percent chance of winning)

Periods: Generally follow AP Style. Periods are used in telling time (a.m. and p.m.) but are not used in academic degrees (MD and PhD)

Phone numbers: Use parentheses for area code, then space, then a dash in the phone number: (323) 442-2830. Patient-facing publications should always use (800) USC-CARE. For other (physician-facing, etc.), put direct clinic number. However, use the main hospital line for USC-VHH publications: (818) 790-7100

Primary Care Physician Assistant Program: Full name on first reference; physician assistant (PA) on second reference; USC PA Pipeline Program on all references

Punctuation: Generally follow AP Style. Pay attention to hyphenation with adverbs (minimally invasive procedure — no hyphen because it is an adverb that ends in “ly”). Use specialized characters when appropriate, such as á or ñ

R

Race-related terms: Follow AP Style for race and ethnicity descriptions, updated June 2020

S

Nerses Sanossian, MD, associate professor of neurology (clinical scholar) at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and director, Roxanna Todd Hodges Stroke Program

Says, said: Says is used in magazine articles; said is used in event coverage and HSC News

Second references: This term refers to subsequent references to an organization or individual within a story. Can be an acronym or abbreviation, or can be generic term (the medical school)

Spanish: Proper names (Keck Medicine of USC, USC Verdugo Hills Hospital) don’t get translated. Sentence case is preferred for program names that are translated

States: Use postal abbreviations (CA, NV, AZ), rather than AP Style (California, Nevada, Arizona)

Stem Cell: The research center name doesn’t include CIRM: Eli and Edythe Broad Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at USC. (Second and subsequent references: USC’s stem cell research center.) But the building name does include CIRM: Eli and Edythe Broad CIRM Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at USC

Stroke: Roxanna Todd Hodges Comprehensive Stroke Center and Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) Program at Keck Medicine of USC

Subheads: When writing subheads, prefer full sentences

Symbols: We do not use symbols (registration marks, etc.) in editorial copy

T

Tendonitis: Preferred over tendinitis

That, which, who: Use “that” for essential clauses; “which” for non-essential clauses, preceded by a comma; “who” for humans (a patient who is…)

Titles: Capitalize before a name, lowercase afterward. Clinical titles should be listed first, followed by Keck School (faculty) titles. Titles and degrees should be independently verified, regardless of source of original article. USC Directory is the primary source of truth for faculty titles but should be verified by the Keck School Faculty Affairs office. In general, try to avoid long titles before names. This often can be accomplished by using a partial title on first reference and then including the full title later: “Keck School of Medicine of USC Dean Laura Mosqueda said that medical students …”; then “Mosqueda, who also is May S. and John H. Hooval Dean’s Chair in Medicine, said …” on second or third reference

  • “Clinical” before or after the rank: Different promotional tracks have different titles.
    • Assistant professor of Clinical is on the “Clinical” track
    • Clinical Assistant Professor is on the Clinician Educator or Practitioner track
  • University designation should always be listed before a school title and capitalized. Example: Inderbir Gill, MD, Distinguished Professor of Urology and chair, Catherine and Joseph Aresty Department of Urology

U

United States: Spell out Unites States on first reference, then abbreviate as U.S. on second reference; US – no periods – is acceptable in headlines

University Professor: University designation should always be listed before a school title and capitalized. Example: Mark S. Humayun, MD, PhD, University Professor of Ophthalmology; Cornelius J. Pings Chair in Biomedical Sciences; director, Institute for Biomedical Therapeutics; director, USC Roski Eye Institute; director of Sensory Science Initiatives

Catherine and Joseph Aresty Department of Urology on first reference

USC: University of Southern California on first reference in external communications; USC is acceptable for all references in internal communications. “USC” never precedes the “Keck” name. “USC” is always referenced at the end of a name that includes “Keck” on first use. The preposition before USC is always “of,” never “at.” Example: Welcome to the Keck School of Medicine of USC

USC Caruso Family Center for Childhood Communication

USC Gayle and Edward Roski Eye Institute, informal/second reference: USC Roski Eye Institute

USC Mark and Mary Stevens Neuroimaging and Informatics Institute; informal/second reference: USC Stevens Neuroimaging and Informatics Institute

USC Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy; informal/second reference: USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, USC Chan Division

USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, the cancer center or USC Norris on second reference. Refers to both clinical and research arm of the Keck School of Medicine of USC. Never use “Norris” as a standalone when referring to the cancer center or the cancer hospital. Use the name “USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center” to mean both the research institute and the hospital. Only call out “USC Norris Cancer Hospital” in very limited capacity, specifically when talking about specific clinical services offered in the hospital setting. USC Norris or the cancer hospital is acceptable on a second reference.

USC PA Pipeline Program, used on all references to refer to the physician assistant pipeline program

USC Stevens Hall for Neuroimaging, USC Stevens Hall on second reference

USC Mark and Mary Stevens Neuroimaging and Informatics Institute, cannot be shortened to USC Stevens for second reference because of multiple Stevens gifts to USC; USC Stevens Neuroimaging and Informatics Institute is acceptable; INI is used for internal communications but should not be used externally

USC Tina and Rick Caruso Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, cannot be shortened to USC Caruso for second reference because of multiple Caruso gifts to USC; USC Caruso Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery is acceptable

USC Verdugo Hills Hospital, USC-VHH on second reference

V

Paul Viviano, president and CEO of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Do not list degrees after his name

Z

Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute

Berislav Zlokovic, MD, PhD, chair and professor of physiology and biophysics; Mary Hayley and Selim Zilkha Chair in Alzheimer’s Disease Research; director, Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute

Charles F. Zukoski, PhD, USC Provost. For quote approval, contact Beth Shuster

Appendices

Buildings/Locations

Health Sciences Campus, located in Los Angeles, located northeast of downtown Los Angeles
Keith Administration Building, KAM
Los Angeles County + USC Medical Center, LAC+USC
Norris Healthcare Center, HC3
USC Verdugo Hills Hospital, USC-VHH
Willametta Keck Day Healthcare Center, HC2

Centers

Academic

Alzheimer Disease Research Center
Atherosclerosis Research Unit
Biomimetic MicroElectronic Systems
Cancer Surveillance Program
Center for Applied Molecular Medicine
Center for Molecular Pathways and Drug Discovery
Childhood Obesity Research Center
The Diabetes and Obesity Research Institute
MESH Academy
Research Center for Liver Diseases
Southern California Environmental Health Sciences Center and Children’s Environmental Health Center
The Southern California Research Center for ALPD and Cirrhosis
Statistical Consultation and Research Center
USC Epigenome Center
USC Neurorestoration Center
Center for Genetic Epidemiology

Misc.

National Center on Elder Abuse
USC Center on Elder Mistreatment

USC Memory and Aging Center: Also known as the Memory and Aging Center at Keck Medicine of USC. This is the umbrella organization with a state and federal mandate to educate people about memory loss and aging. The center comprises the NIH-funded USC Alzheimer Disease Research Center, the two California Alzheimer’s Disease Centers and the memory clinic.

Clinical

Harold E. and Henrietta C. Lee Breast Center at the USC Norris Cancer Hospital
Harold E. and Henrietta C. Lee Women’s Health Center at the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center

Departments

Clinical

Department of Anesthesiology
Department of Dermatology
Department of Emergency Medicine
Department of Family Medicine
Department of Medicine
Department of Neurology
Department of Neurological Surgery
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Department of Ophthalmology
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery
USC Tina and Rick Caruso Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery (Second reference: USC Caruso Department of…) — note use of en dash, with spaces, no ampersand
Department of Pathology
Department of Pediatrics
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Department of Radiation Oncology
Department of Radiology
Department of Surgery
Catherine and Joseph Aresty Department of Urology

Basic Science

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine
Department of Integrative Anatomical Sciences
Department of Medical Education
Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology
Department of Physiology and Biophysics
Department of Preventive Medicine
Department of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine
Department of Translational Genomics

Divisions

USC Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
USC Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy

Institute

Institutes are a level of entity determined by the University that have a strong multidisciplinary and research focus. Names can include “institute” or “center” — Broad Center, or Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute — but both of them are equal in terms of university-sanctioned institutes.

Academic

USC Alzheimer’s Therapeutic Research Institute
Eli and Edythe Broad Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at USC
Institute for Genetic Medicine
USC Mark and Mary Stevens Neuroimaging and Informatics Institute
Southern California Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute
USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center
Institute of Translational Genomics at Keck Medicine of USC
Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute

Clinical

CardioVascular Thoracic Institute
USC Gayle and Edward Roski Eye Institute
Critical Care Institute

Keck Medicine of USC Leadership

Tom Jackiewicz, MPH, senior vice president and CEO of Keck Medicine of USC
Rod Hanners, COO of Keck Medicine of USC and CEO of Keck Medical Center of USC
James J. Uli Jr., MHA, chief financial officer of Keck Medicine of USC
Stacy Rummel Bratcher, deputy general counsel
Tammy Capretta, RN, MPH, chief administrative integration and risk officer of Keck Medicine of USC
Paul Craig, RN, JD, chief administrative officer of Keck Medicine of USC
Paul Hudson, chief of revenue cycle operations of Keck Medicine of USC
Timothy James (T.J.) Malseed, chief health information officer of Keck Medicine of USC
Matthew McElrath, EdD, chief human resources officer of Keck Medicine of USC
Smitha Ravipudi, MPH, chief operating officer of USC Care and Ambulatory Care Services
Shawn Sheffield, MBA, MHA, chief strategy and business development officer of Keck Medicine of USC
Keith Hobbs, CEO, USC Verdugo Hills Hospital

Keck School of Medicine of USC Leadership

Laura Mosqueda, MD, dean of the Keck School of Medicine of USC
Ted Budge, MS, senior associate dean and chief operating officer
Judy A. Garner, PhD, vice dean for faculty affairs
Donna Elliott, MD, EdD, vice dean for medical education
Thomas A. Buchanan, MD, vice dean for research
Glenn Ault, MD, senior associate dean for clinical administration
Kathryn Carrico, vice president for health sciences advancement

Schools

Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC
Keck School of Medicine of USC
USC School of Pharmacy

Proofreading, Editing and Copy Editing Checklist

  • Is the grammar correct?
  • Did you run a spellcheck on the document? Verify spelling of medical terms, including ophthalmology, otolaryngology and orthopaedic (our preferred spelling)
  • Do we have the right spelling of the name and job title/company of each person?
  • Do we know if the person prefers another name other than their formal name? (Andy instead of Andrew, for example)
  • Were hyperlinks tested to confirm they work and send readers to the right place?
  • Were phone numbers checked to confirm they were entered correctly?
  • Does anything contradict our style guidelines?
  • Have approvals been obtained from all of the appropriate stakeholders?