University of Pittsburgh
February 9, 1999


Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH, Feb. 10 -- The University of Pittsburgh has received a

$1.5 million grant from the Maurice Falk Medical Fund to endow the Philip Hallen Chair in Community Health and Social Justice in Pitt's School of Social Work and Graduate School of Public Health.

In announcing the grant, Sigo Falk, chairman of the Falk Fund Board, indicated that the Fund wanted to "honor the life work of Phil Hallen in the human rights field" upon his retirement after 35 years as the Fund's president. "This professorship will embody the foundation values and programs developed under Phil's leadership, and the Board's commitment to social justice since the Fund's creation in 1960," he said.

Hallen has served with distinction as president of the Falk Fund since 1963, effectively advancing its goals and adding to its stature within the philanthropic and non-profit communities, both locally and nationally. During that time, he earned high levels of respect as an individual professional through his sustained, committed and creative efforts. The Falk Fund has named Hallen to the position of president emeritus, effective March 1, 1999. In that capacity, he will continue consulting activities and involvement with many local and national organizations associated with the Fund's work.

The faculty member who holds the Hallen Chair will pursue avenues of teaching and research that include the recognition and study of human diversity; the critical examination of both the causes of and the cures for racism, bigotry and prejudice; and the formulation and testing of programs designed to prevent discrimination and to reverse its debilitating effects. A portion of the income generated by the endowment will be used to support conferences, symposia, films, videos or other forms of outreach organized by the Hallen Chair holder and designed to further understandings of community health and social justice.

In expressing the University's appreciation for the endowment, Pitt Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg cited two of the defining features of the professorship. "The first is its reflection of Phil Hallen's commitment to racial justice, particularly as played out historically in Falk grants to many areas in the University of Pittsburgh," he said. "The second is the ground breaking action by the Fund's trustees in naming this chair in honor of their CEO. The University's relationship with the Falk philanthropies is seen in dozens of facilities, programs, professorships and fellowships bearing the Falk name. This innovative departure honors the Fund's long time president in a way that we at the University find particularly satisfying because of Phil Hallen's long personal relationship with dozens of our administrators, faculty and students."

One of the oldest and largest schools of its kind in the country, Pitt's School of Social Work is celebrating its 60th anniversary. With its exceptional faculty and innovative curriculum, the school ranks in the top 20 in the US News & World Report rankings of more than 150 graduate social work programs in the country. Among the programs operated by the School of Social Work are the Child Welfare Education for Leadership Project, considered a national model; the University-Community Career Development Partnership, which has successfully opened pathways to employment for black welfare-dependent women; the Human Services Executive Academy; and the Center for Mental Health Services Research. In addition, the school sponsors more than

2,000 continuing education programs annually.

Celebrating its 50th year, Pitt's Graduate School of Public Health (GSPH) is world-renowned for contributions that have influenced public health practices and medical care for millions of people. These accomplishments include the Salk polio vaccine and, more recently, the use of highly sensitive assays to detect AIDS and a broad research program to better understand and treat HIV infection. Basic research balanced with practically applied science at the GSPH continues to foster fundamental contributions to understanding the genetic bases of many diseases; the development of new statistical tools to evaluate the interaction of multiple risk factors contributing to diseases such as atherosclerosis and diabetes; advances in understanding occupational and life-style exposures and how they lead to diseases such as cancer and heart disease; research on health care practices resulting in health care policies with national influence; impressive contributions to the field of women's health; and the design and implementation of effective community-based health care programs.

The Falk Medical Fund is a small grantmaking foundation incorporated in 1960 as an outgrowth of The Maurice and Laura Falk Foundation which had been established in 1929. For more than 30 years, the Fund's focus has been social policy related to mental health, community health, civil rights and minorities. Since 1960, the Fund has awarded more than $15 million targeted to the elimination of racism and the creation of programs which combined research in psychiatry and mental health with issues of racism, prejudice, violence and bigotry.