Seventy-three years after the World Health Organization Constitution enshrined the principle that health is a fundamental right, UCLA remains committed to eliminating barriers to care and improving population health.
On July 22, 1946, representatives from 61 nations, including the United States, convened in New York City to sign and adopt the World Health Organization Constitution. Its preamble states: “The enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition.”
Seventy-three years later, more than half of the world’s population still lacks access to essential health care services, and health disparities — across demographic factors — continue to contribute to inequities in health outcomes.
As a leading public institution, UCLA Health is committed to eliminating barriers to care and improving population health through systemic solutions that address social, cultural and biological determinants of health. Embedded in one of the most diverse communities in the world, UCLA Health has established a range of community health programs — such as the UCLA Mobile Eye Clinic, Venice Family Clinic and Rape Treatment Center — that work with local and national partners to increase access to health care and prevent adverse health conditions.
At the heart of these programs are the extraordinary faculty, staff, students and volunteers who dedicate themselves to narrowing the equity gap. Every year, hundreds of UCLA physicians, nurses, dentists, optometrists and allied health professionals provide free medical, dental and vision care, as well as counseling, referrals and health education, to thousands of underserved and uninsured community members throughout the greater Los Angeles area. Many UCLA clinicians also regularly travel to all parts of the globe to render aid and train local health care workers. We also are engaged on a variety of fronts to improve access for and deliver compassionate care to the LGBTQ community.
Alongside efforts to improve access to vital diagnostic services and treatments, UCLA Health also partners with the community to implement evidence-based interventions that reduce the burden of disease for future generations. One such initiative is UCLA Health Sound Body Sound Mind, which aims to combat childhood obesity by building comprehensive physical education programs at underserved middle and high schools.
While much work remains, these and many other efforts at UCLA are designed to bring us closer to those who need us most, no matter the circumstances. The promise of medicine — to cure disease, alleviate suffering and improve quality of life — is one we are committed to keeping, for all people.
Johnese Spisso, MPA
President, UCLA Health
CEO, UCLA Hospital System
Associate Vice Chancellor, UCLA Health Sciences