Dr. Helen Wallace, a world-renowned professor, mentor, and advocate known for her passion for improving the lives of women and children, has left a bequest valued at more than $13 million to the UC Berkeley School of Public Health. The funds will launch the Wallace Maternal and Child Health Center, the campus announced on Monday, March 2.
[Photo: Dr. Helen Wallace (Photo by Jonathan Eubanks)]
The new center will engage in innovative, evidence-based research aimed at creating healthier generations of women, mothers, children, and families in the United States. It will focus on educating and training public health leaders primarily, but not exclusively, from states west of the Mississippi River through interdisciplinary scholarships and fellowships. The funds will also create a new endowed chair.
By fostering partnerships at every level of research, from discovery science to implementation and dissemination of evidence, the Wallace Center will complement the school’s existing maternal and child health (MCH) program—one of the preeminent MCH leadership training programs in the nation—and the Bixby Center for Population, Health and Sustainability.
Dr. Wallace, who died in 2013 at the age of 99, mentored generations of students as a professor and chair of the school’s MCH program from 1962 to 1980. She laid important groundwork in the field by fostering collaboration across disciplines at a time when it was rare to do so, and she implemented these practices within the school, in research partnerships, and in her writing. She was particularly interested in infant health, maternal mortality, health systems that improved health outcomes, and expanded delivery of health care to mothers and children.
“We are extremely excited and gratified to move our work forward with greater focus and commitment in the arena of maternal and child health, which was the vision of Dr. Helen Wallace,” said Dr. Stefano Bertozzi, dean of the School of Public Health. “The School of Public Health has been taking a leadership role on these issues at the global level for some time now through the Bixby Center for Population, Health, and Sustainability. The new Wallace Maternal and Child Health Center will deepen our work and allow us to focus on attracting and supporting students from the western United States.”