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University of California Irvine: New Susan Samueli Integrative Health Institute on UCI campus advances whole-person care

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The Susan Samueli Integrative Health Institute has a sparkling new home on the University of California, Irvine campus that will significantly expand its clinical, teaching and research efforts to advance evidence-informed, whole-person care. An invitation-only ribbon-cutting ceremony at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 13, will mark the official opening of the site.

Embedded within the new Susan & Henry Samueli College of Health Sciences’ 110,000-square-foot complex, on the corner of California Avenue and Michael Drake Drive, the SSIHI offers spaces for innovative student instruction; multidisciplinary, collaborative research; engaging community education; and team-based, whole-person clinical care.

Increasing access to patient services, the flagship clinic encompasses 21,432 square feet. This includes 42 rooms for examination, treatment and consultation; a lab; an infusion suite; a pharmacy; the Mussallem Nutritional Education Center; an intensive cardiac rehabilitation space; and the Palmer Family Research and Conference Room. Patients will also be offered nutrition, exercise, mindfulness, yoga and group medical classes. Local community members will be able to attend yoga, tai chi and nutritional cooking classes, as well as educational lectures and events.

“Patients are increasingly choosing the Samueli Institute to support their individual health journeys because they trust the evidence-informed, whole-health services our expert providers offer. As an academic institution, we are laser-focused on producing scientific evidence that increases understanding of how integrative treatments improve outcomes, who benefits and in what circumstances,” said Dr. Shaista Malik, executive director of the SSIHI.

From its exterior landscaping and interior design to its soothing color schemes, tones and textures, the institute promotes wellness by incorporating natural elements that recognize the instinctive human connection to nature. It features two living-plant walls that produce oxygen and are sustained by built-in self-irrigation systems.

“The new center is the brick-and-mortar realization of our vision to make integrative care the national standard of care for all people,” said Susan Samueli, co-chair of the Samueli Foundation’s board of directors. “Every person should feel hopeful, seen and heard as an individual when they’re engaging with the healthcare system, and the new center’s design and approach to care achieve that goal. We are proud to support UCI as it strives to be the national leader in whole-person health research, education and patient care. Seeing the new clinic open is truly a dream come true, knowing how many people in Orange County will benefit from this world-class care in a world-class facility.”

Student education will be enhanced through participation in multidisciplinary clinical rotations with colleagues from medicine, nursing, pharmacy and public health. The core research space is where scientists and scholars from diverse schools and programs, supported by the institute’s research team, will conduct collaborative, groundbreaking investigations that deepen understanding of whole-person health.

Students arrived at the Susan & Henry Samueli College of Health Sciences for fall-quarter classes in September. The SSIHI’s clinic will begin welcoming patients on Oct. 17, and the core research space is scheduled to open later this year. Community activities will be available throughout 2023.

“Patients recognize that UCI Health is leading the way with innovative, evidence-based care, and their response to our whole-person approach has been outstanding,” said Chad Lefteris, CEO of UCI Health. “This new building, on the Irvine campus, is truly extraordinary. It is the crown jewel of a growing network of community locations available throughout Orange County, making these unique services more easily accessible.”

Samueli family’s enduring support

Susan and Henry Samueli’s abiding interest in health and wellness is reflected in their $5.7 million gift in 2000 to establish UCI’s Susan Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine. Its purpose was to explore the frontiers of complementary and integrative medicine.

In 2017, the Samuelis pledged $200 million to support a first-of-its-kind college of health sciences at UCI focused on interdisciplinary, integrative health. This enabled the center’s expansion to become the Susan Samueli Integrative Health Institute. The far-reaching donation – the seventh-largest to a single public university at the time – positioned UCI to become the preeminent national and international academic institution for pioneering multidisciplinary research, education and healthcare practices for the care of the whole person.