UC Irvine receives $200 million gift for integrative program

The University of California, Irvine (UCI) announced on Monday the largest gift in its history, $200 million from Susan and Henry Samueli, longtime campus supporters, to establish a first-of-its-kind College of Health Sciences focused on interdisciplinary integrative health. The donation, the seventh-largest to a single public university, will educate students on holistic practices as well as traditional ones and treat patients with a wide-ranging perspective

“This gift catalyzes UCI’s belief that human health and well-being requires a science-based approach that engages all disciplines in caring for the whole person and total community,” said Chancellor Howard Gillman in a September 18 press release. “Susan and Henry Samueli’s dedication, their vision for what is possible and their deep generosity will help UCI set a standard that, over time, other medical centers in the U.S. can follow.”

The new center, UCI says, will be the first facility on a university campus to incorporate integrative health research, teaching and patient care across its schools and programs.

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. It also earmarks $145 million to create an endowment for up to 15 faculty chairs, integrative health training and mentorship programs, scholarships and fellowships, and other clinical services, research, and education.

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. Faculty and students in computer science, engineering, social sciences, business, and other areas will collaborate within the institute to study the future of human health.

The Susan and Henry Samueli College of Health Sciences will ultimately include the institute, as well as UCI’s School of Medicine, the Sue & Bill Gross School of Nursing, a school of pharmacy, a school of population health, and other research entities.

“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,” said Susan Samueli, a noted champion and practitioner of integrative health. “We must change what we mean by ‘healthcare’ and how we train all who provide care, including physicians, nurses, and pharmacists. 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.”