Jonathan Fielding, public health leader, awarded prestigious UCLA Medal
April 17, 2009
4 min read
The UCLA Medal, the university's highest honor, has been awarded to Dr. Jonathan Fielding, the director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, a county health officer and a professor at the UCLA School of Public Health, for his work as an innovator, leader and public health visionary.
The award was bestowed on Fielding April 16 at the 35th annual Lester Breslow Distinguished Lecture and Dinner, held at the Luxe Hotel in Brentwood, Calif., where Fielding was the keynote speaker. Organized by the UCLA School of Public Health and UCLA Public Health Alumni Association, the lecture provides a forum for public health leaders to address critical public health issues of our time.
Fielding is responsible for providing pubic health services to more than 10 million people, including residents of the eighth largest city in the world, and is credited with implementing the letter grading system in Los Angeles County restaurants, which has reduced restaurant-related food-borne illness outbreaks and hospitalizations by up to 20 percent. He is the chairman of two major national health committees, Healthy People 2020 and the Task Force on Community Preventive Services.
"Dr. Fielding's professional excellence and unwavering dedication to our city and to the next generation of public health leaders is exemplary of the contributions to society that we strive for our students to make with their UCLA degree," said UCLA Chancellor Gene Block.
Fielding joins heads of state; renowned scientists, artists and scholars; peacemakers; social reformers; and visionaries in the realm of commercial enterprise in receiving UCLA's highest honor. Past recipients of the UCLA Medal include former Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter; former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres; actors Laurence Oliver, Carol Burnett and Anthony Hopkins; writers Carlos Fuentes and Mario Vargas Llosa; architect Frank Gehry; and former Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley.
Named for one of the most distinguished members of the UCLA family, Dr. Lester Breslow, dean emeritus of the UCLA School of Public Health, the the lecture event also recognized three alumni who have shown their dedication to public health through their outstanding accomplishments. Rod Lew, who received an M.P.H. in community health sciences in 1988, was honored with the Breslow Lifetime Achievement Award. Manal J. Aboelata, who earned an M.P.H. in epidemiology in 2001, and Nicole Monastersky Maderas, who earned an M.P.H. in community health sciences in 2003, received the Young Alumnae Achievement Award. Selected by a blue-ribbon panel, all three were inducted into the UCLA School of Public Health Alumni Hall of Fame.
In recognition of Breslow's legacy as a leader in the field of public health, the school also announced the creation of the Lester Breslow Student Fellowship. Breslow's career has spanned more than 60 years, and his ongoing research on chronic disease prevention and health behavior intervention continues to yield insights in this new era of health promotion and wellness. The new fellowship will support students who follow in Breslow's footsteps and represent the future of public health leadership.
"We know that public health interventions work not only to improve health but also to reduce health care costs," said Dr. Linda Rosenstock, dean of the UCLA School of Public Health. "We also know the demand for trained public health professionals will increase in the coming years, so it is imperative that our students are given the resources they need to prepare for the public health challenges that lie ahead. The creation of the Breslow Fellowship will ensure that our students will continue Dr. Breslow's legacy of improving the lives of millions of people across the world through education, research and service."
The UCLA School of Public Health is dedicated to enhancing the public's health by conducting innovative research, training future leaders and health professionals, translating research into policy and practice, and serving local, national and international communities.
UCLA is California's largest university, with an enrollment of nearly 38,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The UCLA College of Letters and Science and the university's 11 professional schools feature renowned faculty and offer more than 323 degree programs and majors. UCLA is a national and international leader in the breadth and quality of its academic, research, health care, cultural, continuing education and athletic programs. Four alumni and five faculty have been awarded the Nobel Prize.
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