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WHILE STILL IN THE FIELDING SCHOOL’S MPH PROGRAM, Elizabeth Jacoby began putting her public health knowledge into practice. With fellow FSPH student Nicole Wainwright, Jacoby co-designed and co-launched Equity Eatz, which provides at-risk youth with the opportunity to gain applicable job skills and knowledge of nutrition, access to quality food and obesity prevention.
Jacoby was among 12 inaugural Kayne Public Health Fellows — students who have faced financial barriers to pursuing their education and have demonstrated a commitment to working in underserved communities, each of whom received tuition support to attend the Fielding School and pursue their dreams of making a difference. The fellowships were made possible by a $500,000 gift from Ric and Suzanne Kayne that will enable a similar group of students to be supported in the 2016-17 academic year. Kayne fellows are selected based on need, merit and demonstrated commitment to working on a core public health problem such as nutrition, physical activity or maternal and child health.
“The determination of the inaugural Kayne Public Health Fellows to continue their education and make a difference in all communities is extraordinary,” says Dr. Jody Heymann, FSPH dean. “The Kaynes’ generous gift to the Fielding School made it possible for these talented and committed students to complete their training with far less debt, and graduate in a much better position to solve the major public health problems facing our country.”
Elizabeth Jacoby has already begun laying the foundation for the growth of Equity Eatz (funded by The California Endowment) as an innovative program that can transform the health and opportunities of those it serves. Through weekly programming at the Weingart East Los Angeles YMCA, teen participants learn to cook, market and promote their recipes, and sell them at events sponsored by the YMCA and the non-profit Volunteers of East Los Angeles. “Entering graduate school was the largest financial risk I ever undertook,” Jacoby says. “The Kayne Fellowship enabled me to dedicate the energy and time required to build Equity Eatz into a sustainable program while attending school.”
FIELDING SCHOOL Advisory Board chair Tom Weinberger has been interested in patient autonomy and end-of-life issues since his time in the Army Medical Service Corps during the Vietnam era and more recent master’s degree in bioethics. Anticipating the implementation of California’s landmark End of Life Option Act starting in June 2016, Weinberger made a gift that provides pilot funding for Fielding School-led research. The research is designed to assist policymakers, health care providers, patient groups and others in understanding how best to transform end-of-life care based on the experiences of states that have enacted similar laws and the recent implementation in California (see page 26). “In the U.S., we do not do a good job of navigating end-of-life matters,” Weinberger says. “With this important new law we have a wonderful opportunity to study these issues.”