UCSD Receives $25 Million for New Public Health School

On their 48th wedding anniversary, Herbert Wertheim and his wife Nicole Wertheim donated $25 million to UC San Diego in the area of public health. The Wertheims’ donation contributes to the Campaign for UC San Diego, a $2-billion fundraising effort that aims to enhance students’ experiences, campus resources, and research opportunities. The school has raised $1.7 billion since the campaign began in 2012.

As UCSD prepares for a proposed new school of public health, the campus will commit the $25 million to the public health initiative. The university hopes to receive an additional $50 million donation to construct a new building site upon the approval of the University of California. The pledged donation is dependent on its approval by UC leadership.

Herbert Wertheim is the founder and CEO of Brain Power Incorporated, the largest ophthalmic instruments and chemicals manufacturer worldwide. He has discovered the cause of cataracts and retinal deterioration by UV lights and produced UV light dye absorbers for eyeglasses. Wertheim and his wife are also the members of the Giving Pledge, a campaign that encourages wealthy people to donate more than half of their wealth to charity.

“The most important thing we can achieve is making our communities healthier across their lifespan, and thus more productive,” Herbert Wertheim said in a press release. “Prevention is, and always will be, the best medicine.”

Public health is the study of disease prevention and health promotion.

“The field of public health is uniquely positioned to address fundamental issues in population health including providing effective health care for the underserved and healthy aging,” Vice Chancellor for UCSD Health Sciences David Brenner said in a press release.

“The public health challenges we face in San Diego and across the country will require that we mobilize local partnerships to solve community problems,”  Interim Chair of the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health Cheryl Anderson said in a press release.

Herbert Wertheim was also involved in the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology and is a colleague of Brenner and Anderson.

“David Brenner has been a friend for five years, and we’ve talked about this initiative,” Herbert Wertheim said in a press release. “David has just been fantastic to work with, as well as Cheryl Anderson.”

Since the establishment of the UCSD Institute for Public Health in 2014, the university has improved the health of the community and encouraged multidisciplinary partnership. The campus currently offers a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in public health, as well as a joint doctoral degree program with San Diego State University.


photo by UC San Diego