Dean of Keck Article on school life of Medicine at USC, speaks at the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center Gala at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel on Saturday, October 10, 2015 in Beverly Hills, Calif. Times staff members Paul Pringle, Harriet Ryan, Adam Elmahrek, Matt Hamilton and Sarah Parvini reported this story. In USC’s lecture halls, labs and executive offices, Dr. The dean of the Keck School of Medicine was a renowned eye surgeon whose skill in the operating room was matched by a gift for attracting money and talent to the university.
There was another side to the Harvard-educated physician. During his tenure as dean, Puliafito kept company with a circle of criminals and drug users who said he used methamphetamine and other drugs with them, a Los Angeles Times investigation found. Puliafito, 66, and these much younger acquaintances captured their exploits in photos and videos. The Times reviewed dozens of the images. Shot in 2015 and 2016, they show Puliafito and the others partying in hotel rooms, cars, apartments and the dean’s office at USC.
Thought I’d take an ecstasy before the ball. In another, Puliafito uses a butane torch to heat a large glass pipe outfitted for methamphetamine use. He inhales and then unleashes a thick plume of white smoke. Seated next to him on a sofa, a young woman smokes heroin from a piece of heated foil. 1 billion in donations, by his estimation.
1-million-a-year post in March 2016, in the middle of the spring term, saying he wanted to explore outside opportunities. Three weeks earlier, a 21-year-old woman had overdosed in his presence in a Pasadena hotel room. The woman was rushed to a hospital, where she recovered. Police found methamphetamine in the hotel room, according to a police report, but made no arrests. Puliafito has never spoken publicly about the incident, which is being reported here for the first time.
Puliafito in 2007 to raise the profile of the Keck School of Medicine. After he stepped down as dean, USC kept Puliafito on the medical school faculty, and he continues to accept new patients at campus eye clinics, according to Keck’s website. 185-million lawsuit in which the University of California has accused USC of misconduct in its hiring away of a star researcher. Puliafito did not respond to interview requests or written questions.
Reached by phone last week, he hung up without commenting after hearing a brief summary of The Times’ reporting. Earlier, in an email he sent to the newspaper shortly after resigning as dean, Puliafito said he made the move voluntarily in order to pursue a biotech job. Bottom line, I was dean for almost a decade. Max Nikias and Provost Michael Quick, who was Puliafito’s boss, did not respond to repeated requests for information about the circumstances surrounding Puliafito’s resignation. Nor did the university press office. The president will not be speaking to The Times on this matter. The Times interviewed six people who partied with Puliafito in Pasadena, Huntington Beach and Las Vegas, as well as at USC.
They ranged in age from late teens to late thirties. One, Sarah Warren, was the woman who overdosed in the Pasadena hotel room. She told The Times she met Puliafito in early 2015 while working as a prostitute. She said they were constant companions for more than a year and a half, and that Puliafito used drugs with her and sometimes brought her and other members of their circle to the USC campus after hours to party.