The lead gift in a $100 million campaign will support UCSD's current public health initiative, including faculty growth, expanded educational offerings, key research needs, and collaborative faculty research projects. The gift is contingent on the establishment at UCSD of a school of public health, which is pending approval by the University of California. UCSD will commit $25 million to the initiative and hopes to raise an additional $50 million for construction of a new school of public health building.
In 2014, the university established the UC San Diego Institute for Public Health to unite public health-oriented activities across campus, foster interdisciplinary collaborations, and improve the health of individuals and communities. The institute currently offers a bachelor's degree in public health, a master of public health degree, and a joint doctoral degree program with San Diego State University.
"The most important thing we can achieve is making our communities healthier across the lifespan and thus more productive," said Herbert Wertheim, founder and CEO of Brain Power, Inc., a manufacturer of ophthalmic instruments and chemicals. "Prevention is, and always will be, the best medicine."
"The public health challenges we face in San Diego and across the country will require that we mobilize local partnerships to solve community problems," said Cheryl Anderson, interim chair of the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health. "UC San Diego has a long history of research and community programs that address health behaviors such as tobacco use, poor dietary intake, and physical inactivity. These behaviors are strongly associated with deaths in our community from respiratory illnesses, diabetes, heart diseases, and cancer."