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CONTACT: DAN MCMILLAN
College of Public Health
Phone: (319) 335-6835
CHRIS GOODALE
UI Foundation
Phone: (319) 335-3305 or (800) 648-6973
500 Levitt Center for University Advancement
Iowa City IA 52242KAREN HANSEN
Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa
Phone: (515) 237-3611

Release: April 9, 2001

Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa gives $500,000 to UI for community health professorship

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa College of Public Health has established its first fully endowed professorship in community health as a result of a $500,000 gift from Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa. The Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield Professorship in Community Health will support a nationally distinguished faculty member who has a noted academic and research record. The gift from Wellmark was made through the UI Foundation.

Dr. John B. Lowe, professor and head of the Department of Community and Behavioral Health, said he expects the gift from Wellmark will help assure that this new department, formed in 1999 along with the College of Public Health, becomes one of the best in the nation.

"The department has a mission to provide national leadership in the area of health promotion and disease prevention," Lowe said. "Our faculty will develop real-world models to improve our knowledge of the science of community health. Understanding how to create better partnerships with the community, empowering communities to become healthier and improving the social capital of the community will improve the health of Iowans and reduce health care costs."

John Forsyth, chairman and CEO of Wellmark Inc., said, "The Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield Professorship in Community Health will provide Iowa’s health care professionals, community leaders and public health officials with the top-notch education and research needed to drive the creation of community initiatives in preventive health services and health promotion.

"This gift aligns squarely with the mission of Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, which is to improve the health of the people of Iowa and South Dakota. As such we are pleased to partner with The University of Iowa and its College of Public Health and to make this investment in health improvement in Iowa," Forsyth added.

The UI recognized the gift from Wellmark by naming Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield a Founding Partner in the College of Public Health. Founding Partners are those organizations and individuals who contribute a minimum of $250,000 to the college, helping to build a foundation for enduring leadership in public health education, research, policy analysis and community service.

In October 2000, following a year of planning and growth, the College of Public Health was named the 29th accredited school of public health in the United States. The UI’s is the only accredited school of public health in Iowa.

Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, headquartered in Des Moines, provides health care and related health services to more than 1.3 million Iowans. As part of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield is one of 46 plans in a national network that insures nearly 78 million Americans.

The Wellmark gift is part of the university’s planned comprehensive campaign to advance the UI’s strategic goals for the years 2000-2005. The UI Foundation is the preferred channel for private contributions to all areas of the university. Foundation staff work with alumni and friends to generate funds for scholarships, professorships, facilities improvements, equipment purchases, research and other UI initiatives.