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UCLA Public Health Professor Jonathan Fielding Appointed Interim Health Officer For Los Angeles County

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Wednesday, December 18, 1996

Dr. Jonathan Fielding, a UCLA professor of public health and pediatrics, has been appointed interim health officer for Los Angeles County.

In this role, Fielding will be a senior advisor to county Health Services Director Mark Finucane, who is overseeing a major overhaul of Los Angeles County's ailing hospital and health services system, along with John Schunhoff, Ph.D., interim director of public health programs and services.

"It's both a challenge and an honor that Mark Finucane has selected me to be a part of the historic efforts to reshape the county's crucial public health programs," Fielding said. "The challenge is to create a system that helps keep the community healthy while being responsible to the county's funding limitations."

Los Angeles County's system of hospitals and health clinics provide the regular medical care for 3.1 million uninsured residents, 1.6 million Medi-Cal recipients and 700,000 Medicare recipients. Its public health programs are charged with safeguarding all of the county's residents from threats such as infectious disease outbreaks and environmental hazards.

A former health commissioner of the state of Massachusetts, Fielding has been a professor of public health and pediatrics at UCLA since 1979, and is a co-director of the UCLA Center for Healthier Children, Families and Communities. Fielding will retain his position at UCLA while he serves the county on a part-time basis.

He is a member of the prestigious Institute of Medicine and is well-known for his work with employers to develop and evaluate corporate wellness programs. Currently, he serves as president of the American College of Preventive Medicine and vice chairman of Partnership for Prevention.