UCLA’s Blum Center is a research institute that seeks to contribute to improving the health of communities with few economic resources in Latin America.
“The Blum Center (aims to have) UCLA professors and students collaborate with their professional colleagues in Latin American to share knowledge to promote health in Latin American countries,” Michael Rodriguez, a professor of family medicine and the director of the center, told Efe.
The center was founded with a donation of $1 million by Richard Blum, a wealthy businessman and member of the board of regents for the University of California system.
“The Blum Center arose from an idea of Richard Blum, who in chats with UCLA Chancellor Gene Block told him that he wanted to contribute to eradicating poverty in the world,” Rodriguez said.
Block placed at the regent’s disposal the support of UCLA professors and students and proposed to Blum that he begin working in Latin America.
“To study poverty we’re creating a one-year course in which students from all disciplines can sign up in their first year of study, and we were surprised that 70 students signed up,” Rodriguez said.
“At the end of the course, (the participants) told me: ‘the class is nice, but we think that this class should work with a research center to go to the communities, because we want to learn more,’” he emphasized.
The professor said that Blum’s vision along with the poverty studies students’ desire to learn more were the two elements that Block joined together and thus the research center was born.