SAN DIEGO (CNS) — The John and Sally Hood Family Foundation gave $3 million to establish the Hood Family Endowed Dean's Chair in Public Health at UC San Diego, it was announced Monday.
The gift is intended to support excellence in research, education and practice of public health at the Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science at UCSD.
"This last year has shown that public health affects everyone and is vitally important to so many different parts of society: the economy, community relationships, and especially individual people," John Hood said.
"We couldn't imagine a more important moment to support a critical cause such as public health than right now."
Dr. Cheryl A.M. Anderson, founding dean of the Wertheim School, was named the inaugural chair holder. An endowed chair is one of the highest honors that an academic institution can confer upon a faculty member. It recognizes excellence in research and clinical practice.
An epidemiologist, Anderson's research focuses primarily on connections between nutrition and chronic diseases as well as the use of clinical trials and interventions to prevent risk factors for diseases such as heart disease, chronic kidney disease, diet-related cancers, and obesity.
"I am grateful to Sally and John for their generosity and investment in the health of this region and in this school," Anderson said. "They are champions of public health. This was evident in how they helped our region with pandemic mitigation efforts that allowed us to reach important milestones in San Diego County.
"This gift will be transformative as we build a school community that cultivates leaders and builds an infrastructure where members can thrive. It also allows us to boldly meet the public health needs of the 21st Century," Anderson said.
In addition to the new chair, the Hoods recently funded a UCSD Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinic supporting equitable access to a lifesaving resource by distributing vaccines in underserved communities. The Hoods are actively involved at UCSD Health, where John is vice-chair of the Moores Cancer Center board of visitors and Sally serves on the Wertheim School leadership advisory board.
"UC San Diego has always been a strong steward of the health care needs and educational aspirations of the San Diego region -- and rose to the challenge as a community leader during the COVID-19 crisis," Sally Hood said.
"We have full confidence in Dean Anderson's leadership to grow and develop this vital educational pathway for UC San Diego. She has the skill, dedication, and compassion to lead a new school of public health and cultivate future leaders in this field."