Friday, January 5, 2024

Anonymous gift establishes UTSA public health scholarships honoring local pandemic leaders

Anonymous gift establishes UTSA public health scholarships honoring local pandemic leaders

JANUARY 3, 2024 — The UTSA College for Health, Community and Policy (HCAP) has received a $50,000 gift from an anonymous donor in honor of Dr. Anita Kurian and Dr. Junda Woo, local physicians whose work was crucial to the public health needs of San Antonio’s residents during the COVID-19 pandemic. The gift will create an endowment that establishes two scholarship funds: The Dr. Anita Kurian Endowed Scholarship and The Dr. Junda Woo Endowed Scholarship.

The scholarship funds will be the college’s first for public health students. Both funds will begin to award scholarships in perpetuity, beginning in fall 2024.

“We are incredibly grateful to our anonymous donor for honoring their colleagues with these two generous gifts,” said Lynne Cossman, dean of the college. “These will be the first endowed scholarships created in HCAP and in our standalone Department of Public Health, in concert with our collaborative UT School of Public Health San Antonio.”

The Dr. Anita Kurian Endowed Scholarship will provide one or more scholarships to a public health student each year. Kurian serves as the deputy director of the Communicable Disease Division for the City of San Antonio Metropolitan Health District.


“By supporting the education of talented and motivated students, these endowed scholarships will contribute to the development of future leaders.”



Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Kurian appeared at every press conference and briefing to inform the public about the disease’s progress and steps being taken to prevent the spread of the virus. She held countless public forums and launched outreach and engagement programs to help combat COVID-19 as it swept through the city. One example was door-to-door testing, an innovative program that had such support and response that it ended in less than a week, much sooner than anticipated.

“This recognition serves as a validation of the collective efforts of the dedicated people I have had the privilege to work with and fuels my passion for making a positive impact in our community,” said Kurian. “I look forward to being a part of a legacy that promotes learning, growth and opportunities for aspiring public health students at UTSA.”

Dr. Junda Woo

The Dr. Junda Woo Endowed Scholarship will also provide scholarships to one or more students studying public health. Woo is the medical director and local health authority for the City of San Antonio Metropolitan Health District.

Like Kurian, Woo was a vital asset to San Antonio throughout the pandemic. She appeared in interviews and panels, sharing her expertise as a preventive medicine physician, and guided the public on the ins and outs of treatment of the virus. By analyzing COVID-19 data, Woo and her team worked with area hospitals to ensure they had proper equipment and capacity. She also paid close attention to marginalized communities and was an advocate for free COVID testing sites throughout Bexar County.

The endowments honoring Kurian and Woo support Be Bold: A Campaign for Our Future, the largest fundraising effort in UTSA’s history. The campaign, which supports all facets of the university, is directly aligned with UTSA’s strategic plan, A Vision for UTSA.

UTSA’s students come from diverse backgrounds. Seventy percent are eligible for financial aid and 45% will be the first in their families to earn a college degree.


EXPLORE FURTHER
⇒ Learn more about the UTSA Department of Public Health.

While UTSA strives to keep its tuition and fees as affordable as possible, endowed scholarships reduce the financial burden for deserving students and expand access to education for those who otherwise might not have the opportunity.

“By supporting the education of talented and motivated students, these endowed scholarships will contribute to the development of future leaders, who in turn will use their talents to give back to their communities,” said Cossman.

Amanda Cerreto



UTSA Today is produced by University Strategic Communications,
the official news source
of The University of Texas at San Antonio.

Send your feedback to news@utsa.edu.


UTSA Today is produced by University Communications and Marketing, the official news source of The University of Texas at San Antonio. Send your feedback to news@utsa.edu. Keep up-to-date on UTSA news by visiting UTSA Today. Connect with UTSA online at Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Instagram.


Events


Spotlight

Spotlight

dtc-utsa-sign_680.png
University of Texas at San Antonio receives ‘transformational’ $40M gift

UTSA’s Mission

The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.

UTSA’s Vision

To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.

UTSA’s Core Values

We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.

UTSA’S Destinations

UTSA is a proud Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) as designated by the U.S. Department of Education .

Our Commitment to Inclusivity

The University of Texas at San Antonio, a Hispanic Serving Institution situated in a global city that has been a crossroads of peoples and cultures for centuries, values diversity and inclusion in all aspects of university life. As an institution expressly founded to advance the education of Mexican Americans and other underserved communities, our university is committed to promoting access for all. UTSA, a premier public research university, fosters academic excellence through a community of dialogue, discovery and innovation that embraces the uniqueness of each voice.