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A look at some of the latest news happening at the Fielding School.
For Dr. Lan Sing Wu (MPH ’72), the journey to a successful career in public health spanned three continents, six countries and significant financial hardships. Now retired, Wu is determined to make it easier for dedicated Fielding School students to pursue their education. After learning of the achievements of current students at the Fielding School - and also the need for student scholarships, FSPH’s top priority for the UCLA Centennial Campaign - Wu and her wife, Catherine Cheshire, have established an endowment to support partial scholarships for FSPH students in need. A portion of their estate will be designated to the same fund.
Born to Chinese parents in the Netherlands, where her father worked for his country’s embassy, Wu and her siblings returned to China with their mother as Europe became embroiled in World War II - soon to find themselves fleeing Shanghai as Japan and China waged war. In 1947 the family moved to Mexico, where Wu’s father had continued his job in the foreign service. Three years later, with the communist government of Mao Tse-tung now in place at home, Wu’s family was granted asylum in the United States as political refugees.
They arrived in the San Fernando Valley in 1950 with little money and speaking no English; nonetheless, Wu excelled in school and worked multiple jobs to attend and graduate with a degree from UCLA, after which she completed medical school and a family practice residency. During the Vietnam War she went to coastal Nha Trang to serve two stints treating civilians as a physician volunteer, and there she began to recognize the power of public health. “I saw patients with avoidable conditions such as tetanus, cholera and tuberculosis,” Wu recalls. “I realized the impact that could be made with a focus on vaccination, clean water, better housing and other public health concerns.”
When Wu returned to California, she enrolled at the Fielding School to earn her MPH. She spent the rest of her career pro-moting public health principles - as an administrator reviewing the quality of care in clinics for low-income patients through the Office of Equal Opportunity program; staff physician for the Student Health Center at Humboldt State University in northern California; public health officer for Humboldt County; and through volunteer work in Guatemala and Mexico. Now she hopes to pave the way for the next generation of Fielding School students to make an impact through public health.
ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH PARTNERSHIP
FSPH student Jimmy Tran conducts a survey at CicLAvia to gain an understanding of health and neighborhood impacts as part of a series of studies by the CicLAvia Research Group.
Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Melinda Gates launched No Ceilings: The Full Participation Project at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative. FSPH’s WORLD Policy Analysis Center, led by founding director Dean Jody Heymann, is the lead partner for policy data on the progress of women and girls around the world.
Dean Jody Heymann, Associate Dean for Research Zuo-Feng Zhang and UCLA Vice Provost Timothy Brewer traveled across China to meet with public health leaders and solidify collaborations. The Fielding School has now signed memoranda of understanding with six public health schools in China, including the country’s top-ranked institutions, as well as leading provincial Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
FIELDING FALL FIESTA 2014
Dr. Sudipto Banerjee joined the Fielding School of Public Health this autumn as chair of the Department of Biostatistics. Banerjee is a recipient of many honors, including the Mortimer Spiegelman Award from the Statistics Section of the American Public Health Association, and is also an elected fellow of the American Statistical Association. His research includes statistical analysis and modeling of geographically/spatially referenced datasets, Bayesian statistics, statistical computing, and interface modeling with geographical information systems (GIS). Prior to joining FSPH, Banerjee was a professor at the University of Minnesota's School of Public Health.
Dr. Jack Needleman, longtime professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Fielding School, has been appointed the Fred W. and Pamela K. Wasserman Chair of the Department of Health Policy and Management. Needleman’s recent research has focused on studies of quality and staffing in hospitals, and on the evaluation and design of performance improvement activities. In addition to his duties with the department, Needleman serves as associate director of the UCLA Patient Safety Institute. Before coming to UCLA in 2003, he was a member of the faculty at Harvard’s School of Public Health.
The Fielding School has established an Alumni-Student Mentorship Program that spans all five academic departments and has paired roughly 130 student mentees with alumni mentors who will offer professional insight and guidance. To learn more, please visit our mentorship page.
The Fielding School’s UCLA Center for Health Policy Research celebrated its 20th anniversary and recognized the recipients of the center’s Health Impact Awards: retiring Rep. Henry Waxman; Cástulo de la Rocha, founder, president and CEO of AltaMed; and the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network, whose executive director, Sarah de Guia, accepted on behalf of the organization.
RACE TO HEALTH
The Fielding School is building a team of students, faculty, alumni, staff and friends to run the 2015 LA Marathon alongside Dean Jody Heymann, with proceeds to benefit student fellowships at FSPH. For more information, please visit our Race to Health page.