UC Irvine receives $200 million gift for health sciences

IRVINE, Calif. (KABC) -- UC Irvine announced on Monday that the school has received a $200 million gift from two longtime campus supporters. It's the largest gift in the university's history.

The donation by Susan and Henry Samueli is the seventh-largest gift given to a single public university, UCI officials said in a statement.

The $200 million donation will go toward a first-of-its-kind College of Health Sciences focused on interdisciplinary integrative health, the school said.

The Susan and Henry Samueli College of Health Sciences will be "the first university-based health sciences enterprise to incorporate integrative health research, teaching and patient care across its schools and programs," the statement described.

The school described "integrative health" as redefining the relationship between the practitioner and patient "by focusing on the whole person and the whole community."

"Despite our technological advances, too many people still suffer from chronic conditions such as pain, diabetes and heart disease or are caught in a cycle of taking too many medications," Susan Samueli said in a statement.

She added that there needs to be a change in what is meant by "health care" and how health care providers, physicians, nurses and pharmacists are trained.

"Today's health science students ask about integrative health from day one; harnessing that interest is key to turning our national system in a better direction," she said.

The existing Susan Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine will become the Susan Samueli Integrative Health Institute and will focus on improving medical care by supporting multidisciplinary research, education, clinical service and community programs, the school said.

According to the university, the Samuelis' gift will provide $50 million toward construction of a facility to house the college and $5 million for state-of-the-art technology and labs.

Also, the school said $145 million of the gift will be earmarked to create an endowment for the following:

- Up to 15 faculty chairs across the medicine, nursing, pharmacy and population health disciplines for senior, mid-career and junior faculty with expertise in integrative health
- Integrative health training and mentoring for interested medical school students
- Scholarships and fellowships for undergraduate and graduate students planning careers in related fields
- Innovative curricular development and campuswide interdisciplinary research projects
- Ongoing clinical services, research and education in the Susan Samueli Integrative Health Institute, including investigations of non-conventional interventions as part of medical treatment and educating medical and lay communities about benefits and risks associated with new health care approaches

The Samuelis' previous donations to UCI totaled more than $70 million, including a $30 million gift from the Samueli Foundation earlier this year for a convergent sciences building, the school said.

In 2000, the couple received the UCI Medal, the school's highest honor, for contributions to UCI's mission of teaching, research and public service, the university said.
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