$6 Million Gift Helps Launch Willamette University’s New Public Health Program

by Marketing and Communications,

Thanks to a $6 million endowed gift from FamilyCare Health and the Heatherington Foundation, we’re taking Willamette’s Public Health program to the next level, with scholarships, internships and more.

The gift, made in honor of FamilyCare Health President and CEO Jeff Heatherington, a Willamette alumnus, will fund 10 annual scholarships, student research and internships, a pre-health program director position and public health programming.

“Health care is a complex discipline,” Heatherington said. “It's my belief that solving our largest health care challenges begins with educating the future leaders of this field, and there’s no better place to educate the type of leaders Oregon, the Pacific Northwest and the world need than at Willamette. With Willamette’s liberal arts approach to educating future leaders, paired with its graduate schools of law and business and its longstanding community partnerships, the university is uniquely positioned to develop a premier public health program.” 

Willamette will hire a program director to help establish and formalize existing relationships with community health partners, as well as to advise students about internships, mentorships, graduate school, and career opportunities. Interested students may apply to become Heatherington Scholars in Public Health — earning annual scholarships of $11,500 — beginning with the incoming Fall 2020 class.

“This gift is an acknowledgment of Jeff's extraordinary commitment to public health and to public health education and will benefit Willamette and our larger community for generations to come, “ said Willamette University President Stephen Thorsett. “Thanks to this generous gift, Willamette can launch a new undergraduate major in public health that uses an interdisciplinary, liberal arts approach to explore human behavior and experience across multiple disciplines -- including anthropology, history, environmental science, sociology, exercise and health science -- so graduates can advocate for, collaborate with and lead effective change across diverse audiences.”

About FamilyCare Health

For more than 30 years, FamilyCare Health provided patient-centered health care to Oregonians. FamilyCare Health was the first health plan in Oregon to integrate models of physical and mental health. 

About Willamette University

Based in Salem, Oregon, we are the premier private university in the Pacific Northwest—the only university in the country that appears on both the US News Best National Liberal Arts Colleges list and the Forbes and Businessweek best business schools list. Our law school leads the state in job placement and bar passage. With unique proximity to our state's capital, we are a national leader in civic engagement, delivering an “Only at Willamette” education.

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