A $14 million grant from the Irvine Health Foundation to the University of California, Irvine will establish seven endowed chairs in the Program in Public Health to recruit and retain the field’s top academic leaders and experts, who will strive for health equity among all Orange County residents. The funding will also support research to help improve outcomes and inform policy.
“We are incredibly grateful for this support from the Irvine Health Foundation,” said Steve A.N. Goldstein, M.D., Ph.D., FAAP, UCI vice chancellor for health affairs. “Their generosity takes us one step closer to transforming the program in public health into a school and enables us to attract additional superb public health faculty who prioritize world-class research and community health.”
“This grant commemorates our shared goal of optimizing health and well-being for everyone in Orange County,” said Bernadette Boden-Albala, MPH, Dr.P.H., director of UCI’s Program in Public Health and founding dean of the campus’s planned School of Population and Public Health. “Health equity is a foundational value of public health, and this support will greatly enhance our efforts to create a national model for health, including enhancing access by tearing down structural bias as we partner with our communities and shift the paradigm for public health research, training and education.”
The chairs will be named in honor of Irvine Health Foundation board members: Chairman Timothy L. Strader Sr., founder and chairman of Starpointe Ventures and a UCI Foundation trustee; Carol M. McDermott, a principal at MIG/Entitlement Advisors; Dr. Thomas C. Cesario, a UCI Health infectious diseases specialist who served as dean of UCI’s School of Medicine from 1994 to 2006; Jeffery E. Flocken, whose 35-year healthcare career has spanned a variety of organizational settings; Douglas M. Mancino, the author of five books and treatises and more than 90 articles concerning tax-exempt organizations and healthcare issues; Dr. Margarita Pereyda, a physician executive with extensive experience in senior-level management of healthcare services; and President Edward B. Kacic, a UCI alumnus who earned an MBA at The Paul Merage School of Business.
“The UCI Program in Public Health is the perfect launch pad to fulfill the foundation’s mission to improve health in Orange County,” Kacic said. “The university’s non-siloed approach to addressing health and public health challenges by leveraging expertise, knowledge and skills across the entire campus, enables us to realize our vision on a much larger scale. We believe this grant will create multigenerational positive change in our community and across the country.”
Added Strader: “We’re in a new era in public health, and this grant will move the needle and make a lasting impact on the health and well-being of Orange County residents for generations to come. Health is not simply the absence of disease but encompasses a state of physical, mental and emotional well-being. UCI is the place where the next initiatives will begin, extend throughout the community and make a global impact.”
A long history of partnership
UCI and the Irvine Health Foundation board share a commitment to improving the well-being of all Orange County residents. This latest grant brings IHF’s total giving to UCI to more than $20 million. For decades, the foundation and UCI have partnered to launch various initiatives and projects aimed at advancing health outcomes, including the Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders (UCI MIND), the Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, a $1 million lead grant for the UCI Medical Center hospital campaign, and a $1 million grant to establish the School of Medicine’s Gerald B. Sinykin, M.D. Chair in Family Medicine.
IHF board members with UCI affiliations are Kacic; Strader, the IHF chairman; Cesario, its treasurer/secretary; Sinykin, co-founder of UCI’s Center for Student Wellness and Health Promotion who died in 2021; and Gary Hunt, a director emeritus who is also a UCI Foundation trustee. Former UCI Chancellor and UC President Jack Peltason, who died in 2015, was on the IHF board from 1992 to 2015.
“Together, UCI and the foundation board have tackled some of the most pressing issues facing our diverse community – from fighting chronic diseases to increasing access to healthcare services,” Strader said. “Our partnership is a testament to the power of collaboration in advancing health outcomes, and this grant will lead to even greater success in the future.”