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    • People walking at an LA park

Dean's Message, Autumn/Winter 2014-15


AMONG OUR COUNTRY'S GREATEST ASSETS are its immigrant communities. Nowhere is that strength more evident than here in L.A. The Los Angeles metropolitan area is home to 4.4 million foreign-born people, ahead of such global centers as London and Hong Kong. More than 140 nations are represented. In the City of Los Angeles, 40 percent of residents were born in another country – an even higher percentage than in New York City. Immigrants fuel our global economy and form the backbone of our rich and thriving culture. They also represent our future – more than half of the region’s children have at least one immigrant parent.

This wonderful diversity is well reflected in the makeup of the talented and dedicated student population at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. Many of our students were born in other countries, or raised by parents who immigrated to the U.S. And for many more, regardless of their own family story, a desire to improve the health of immigrant and global communities draws them to public health and to our school, which affords unique opportunities due to its ideal location in this truly international city. Yet, the appeal extends far beyond the Fielding School’s location. Students recognize the depth of commitment and expertise of our faculty and alumni – leaders on the front lines of developing and implementing solutions that address the health needs of all communities.

Immigrant health represents a bridge between two of our school’s core commitments – transforming health here in the United States, and developing global partnerships to do the same in other countries. Our global health initiatives are grounded in the knowledge that what we learn locally, in one of the world’s most populous and diverse metropolitan areas, is relevant beyond our borders. And in today’s increasingly interconnected society, our partnerships in more than 60 countries provide invaluable opportunities to learn from successes and challenges elsewhere.

In this issue, we are proud to showcase some of the powerful ongoing work of our faculty, students and alumni to identify concerns and implement successful strategies that are advancing the health of immigrant communities in Los Angeles and beyond. By working closely with immigrant communities at home to ensure that their life here is a healthy one, we can better meet our goal of building a healthier world for all.

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Jody Heymann, MD, PhD