The UCLA School of Public Health has received an extraordinary gift from faculty member and public health leader Dr. Jonathan Fielding and his wife, Karin Fielding. The gift, valued at $50 million, is the largest in the school’s 50-year history. In recognition, the school will be renamed the UCLA Jonathan and Karin Fielding School of Public Health.
“I am humbled by the exceptional generosity of Jonathan and Karin Fielding,” UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said. “This investment from longtime champions of public health reflects our shared confidence in the UCLA School of Public Health as a resource not only for greater Los Angeles but the entire world and will extend the school’s reach as a global leader in teaching and service.”
An innovator, leader and public health visionary, Dr. Jonathan Fielding, founding director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, is a distinguished professor of health services and pediatrics, having joined the UCLA faculty in 1979. With a shared passion for improving public health, Karin Fielding serves as an officer of the charitable organization The Everychild Foundation, whose mission is to ease the suffering of children in the greater Los Angeles area, whether due to disease, disability, abuse, neglect or poverty. She is also a court-appointed special advocate, working with children in foster care, both in court and in the community.
The Fieldings have two sons, Andrew and Preston, who join them in making this family gift and who look forward to seeing the fruits of this investment in the continued development of the school and its impact on the public’s health.
“Improving quality of life and promoting health for all is something Jonathan and Karin have spent their lives working to advance,” said Dr. Linda Rosenstock, dean of the School of Public Health. “This gift will play a tangible role in improving health for people in the United States and beyond. It is especially gratifying that this gift comes from one of our own who is an icon in public health.”
“The UCLA School of Public Health hosts a world-class faculty and one of the nation’s brightest and most diverse student bodies. Their talents are improving the public’s health locally, nationally and globally,” said Dr. Fielding. “UCLA’s commitment to civic engagement, community service and social justice is something our family is thrilled to support.”
The Fieldings’ gift will equally support faculty, students and educational infrastructure. It will endow a chair in population health to encourage work to improve health through non-health sectors, such as transportation, housing and education. In addition, the fund will enable UCLA to regularly assess programs to ensure that UCLA School of Public Health students graduate with the tools and skills they need to be leaders in the field of public health as it evolves.
The gift, independently valued at $50 million, is a commitment of assets associated with holdings in Dimensional Fund Advisors. The school will receive an income stream from the assets and additional earnings upon redemption or sale.
The UCLA School of Public Health is consistently rated among the top 10 schools of public health in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Its faculty and students are actively participating in important work in partnership with underserved communities in the greater Los Angeles area and are engaged in research in more than 70 countries.
“My experiences in UCLA classrooms and working with other faculty members, students and alumni in public health practice made the UCLA School of Public Health an easy choice for our family’s support,” Dr. Fielding said. “UCLA School of Public Health students enter the field with a passion and commitment to public health. As someone who has dedicated my career to service, I am inspired by the talent and enthusiasm of UCLA students, and I am delighted that our family can help them achieve their educational goals and make a palpable difference in the wider world.”
A tireless advocate for public health, Dr. Fielding, in addition to medical and public health degrees, has advanced training in business (M.B.A.) and the history of science (M.A.). He has worked for more than 40 years in the public health field and is a national and international leader in effective prevention and evidence-based public health practice. For the last 14 years, he has served as director of public health for the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services.
Under Fielding’s leadership, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has launched many innovative activities, including the highly touted ABC restaurant grading program; one of the nation’s largest chronic disease–prevention programs, featuring nutrition and physical activity; and a state-of-the-art emergency preparedness and readiness program.
Among his numerous honors, Dr. Fielding is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and has received the Sedgwick Memorial Medal for Distinguished Public Health and the Roemer Award for creative public health practice, both from the American Public Health Association. In 2009, he was awarded The UCLA Medal, the highest honor conferred by the university.
Dr. Fielding is a founding member of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and chair of the U.S. Community Preventive Services Task Force. He is the immediate past chair of the Partnership for Prevention and the U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary’s Advisory Committee on the 2020 Health Objectives for the Nation. In 2010, President Barack Obama appointed Dr. Fielding to the Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Integrative and Public Health.
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