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IN MY FIRST YEAR as dean of the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, it has been deeply rewarding to learn more about and seek to support the remarkable contributions of our faculty, students and alumni in advancing the health of communities. But make no mistake: We are not going it alone.
Among our greatest riches as a school are our partnerships. We provide and pass along expertise to our partners, but just as important are the lessons we learn from them – people who spend each day steeped in the challenges of their neighbors and dedicated to improving their health.
This issue of UCLA Public Health depicts some of the many Fielding School partnerships that have taken root in communities throughout Southern California, across the nation and beyond. In fact, while we are deeply committed to forging collaborations that better the lives of communities in our backyard, we are equally devoted to partnerships that address the critical health needs of populations around the globe. In addition to the domestic initiatives you will read about, we have remarkable ongoing work that is affecting countless lives in, for example, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where Dr. Anne Rimoin guides an all-Congolese team building disease surveillance capacity; or in China, where Dr. Virginia Li has worked with village leaders on a crop substitution program for tobacco farmers in Yunnan Province.
The stories you will read continue the Fielding School’s rich history of community partnerships. These partnerships begin with one handshake, one pilot program, one shared vision. Many start on a single neighborhood block, then go on to serve as blueprints for change far and wide. This issue is dedicated to them.
Jody Heymann, MD, PhD