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Schaeffer donates leadership gift of $25 million

USC President C. L. Max Nikias has announced a $25 million gift from Leonard D. Schaeffer, the Judge Robert Maclay Widney Chair and Professor at USC, that will endow and support the USC Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics. The gift bolsters the university’s commitment to using rigorous research to develop policy solutions, including controlling health care costs and improving patient outcomes in the United States and worldwide.

“As health care assumes an increasingly prominent place in public policy discussions, the USC Schaeffer Center will play an even more central role, while offering a uniquely interdisciplinary perspective,” Nikias said. “The center brings together USC’s schools of public policy and pharmacy, drawing on collaborative scholarship to address the most complex questions facing health care today.”

Trustee Leonard Schaeffer

The USC Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics was established in 2009 with a gift from Leonard and Pamela Schaeffer. (Photo/Rex Gelert)

Of his gift, Schaeffer said: “Our nation faces grave health and fiscal challenges. I support this center because its rigorous, independent and interdisciplinary research provides the foundation for designing effective policies to address these issues in both the public and private sectors.”

Established in 2009 with a gift from Schaeffer and his wife, Pamela, the Schaeffer Center is jointly housed at the USC Price School of Public Policy and the USC School of Pharmacy. The center is led by renowned health economist Dana Goldman and other distinguished faculty, including economic Nobel laureate Daniel McFadden.

With a reputation for timely, evidence-based analysis of health care issues, the Schaeffer Center has developed into one of the nation’s premier policy institutions, with more than $45 million in external research funding, including research grants from the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

“We are deeply grateful for Leonard Schaeffer’s vision and support of this remarkable research center,” said Jack H. Knott, dean of USC Price. “The prolific and groundbreaking research of the USC Schaeffer Center is a tremendous source of pride for the USC Price School, and we look forward to this exciting new chapter in the center’s legacy.”

Added R. Pete Vanderveen, dean of the School of Pharmacy: “The endowment of the USC Schaeffer Center promises continuing efforts to find answers to today’s most pressing health care challenges. The center is an integral part of the work at the USC School of Pharmacy with research to identify best practices for medication therapy that efficiently produces optimal health outcomes.”

Research from the Schaeffer Center has provided critical policy guidance and inventive solutions with the potential to transform health care systems. Research results — including novel analyses of preventive care, insurance competition, the fiscal future of Social Security and Medicare, co-payments and prescription drug adherence, and which medical specialties are most likely to face malpractice claims — are routinely published in top peer-reviewed journals and featured in leading media outlets, such as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Politico and NPR. Schaeffer Center faculty members also deliver their research directly to policymakers through congressional and legislative testimony.

“Leonard Schaeffer has demonstrated a lifelong commitment to relevant, evidence-based health policy research,” said Goldman, director of the Schaeffer Center and holder of the Norman Topping Chair in Medicine and Public Policy. “With this additional gift, he ensures that our mission of providing independent, innovative solutions to today’s health policy challenges will endure beyond the current era of health care reform.”

This leadership gift from Schaeffer represents significant support for The Campaign for the University of Southern California, a multiyear effort to secure $6 billion or more in private philanthropy to advance USC’s academic priorities and expand the university’s positive impact on the community and world.

Schaeffer is the founding chairman and past CEO of WellPoint, one of the nation’s largest health insurance companies. In 1986, Schaeffer was recruited as CEO of Blue Cross of California, overseeing the turnaround of the predecessor to WellPoint, and completing 17 acquisitions. During his tenure, the value of the company grew from
$11 million to more than $49 billion.

Schaeffer has had an illustrious government career, which included service as administrator of the Health Care Financing Administration, now the CMS, and as assistant secretary for management and budget at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Currently, he serves as a senior adviser to TPG Capital, a private equity firm, in addition to holding a Judge Widney Professorship at USC, a select executive-in-residence position named for one of USC’s founders. He is also a member of the Board of Councilors at USC Price, and serves on the boards of the Brookings Institution, Harvard Medical School, RAND, Quintiles and Amgen. Schaeffer lectures and writes widely on health policy issues.

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