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L.A.-Based National Community Health Research Pioneer Honored by Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science

Loretta Jones, a health policy advocate whose work focuses on eliminating health disparities, will be feted at CDU’s Spring Gala


LOS ANGELES, Calif. (April 12, 2018) – Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science (CDU) will host its sixth annual Legacy Leaders Spring Gala on Thursday, April 19, 2018 at 6 p.m. at The Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. This year, the Gala will honor the lifetime accomplishments of Loretta Jones, MA, ThD, for her many decades of service to the community as a civil rights activist, health policy advocate and social architect.

Dr. Jones has long advocated for community-based participatory research (CBPR) to address health disparities that underserved populations face. In 1992, through an agreement with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), CDU and UCLA, she founded Health African American Families (HAAF) to advance health education and facilitate collaboration among community organizations, academia and government agencies to improve the health of communities of color in Los Angeles. Since its inception nearly three decades ago, HAAF has demonstrated how CBPR can be an effective mechanism for directing power, collective action, system change and social justice in the process of addressing health disparities at the community level.

Her model for addressing social and health issues in vulnerable communities, published by the American Medical Association in 2007, has been adopted as a template by vulnerable communities locally and across the nation. Dr. Jones has been honored for her contributions by institutions such as the CDC, National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the United Nations and most recently, UCLA.

“Events such as the Spring Gala provide opportunities for the University to pay homage to trailblazers who have paved the way for CDU carry out its mission of providing access to health services to those who need it most,” said CDU President/CEO Dr. David M. Carlisle. “Dr. Jones’ work over the years has embodied that mission, as she has tirelessly worked to ensure that access to health care services and overall good health are attainable by any individual, regardless of their geographic location or socioeconomic status.”

Proceeds from the Spring Gala will go towards enriching the CDU experience for students by funding University scholarships and pipeline programs such as the Saturday Science Academy II, which seeks to inspire students of color toward degrees and careers in science, technology, engineering or science – STEM fields in which those populations have been traditionally underrepresented. Guests will be encouraged to join the University’s Legacy 100 – a campaign that seeks to raise scholarships that will be matched one-to-one up to $250,000.

Diamond: Dignity Health

Gold: Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas

Silver: AECOM, Comerica, The California Endowment

Tickets for the Gala can be purchased at For more information, visit, and follow CDU on Facebook, Twitter (@cdrewu), and Instagram (@charlesrdrewu).


CDU is a private, non-profit student centered minority-serving medical and health sciences University that is committed to cultivating diverse health professional leaders who are dedicated to social justice and health equity for underserved populations through outstanding education, research, clinical service, and community engagement.

Located in the Watts-Willowbrook area of South Los Angeles, CDU has graduated, since its inception, more than 575 physicians, 1,200 physician assistants and over a thousand other health professionals, as well as training over 2,700 physician specialists through its sponsored residency programs. Its School of Nursing has graduated over 1000 nursing professionals, including over 600 family nurse practitioners.  CDU is a leader in health disparities research with a focus on education, training, treatment and care in cancer, diabetes, cardiometabolic and HIV/AIDS.




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