Susan Samueli and health heroes are celebrated with record $1.75 million in support

Event benefits research and treatment initiatives that help people achieve optimum health

June 25, 2015
Susan Samueli, founder of the UC Irvine Health Susan Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine, accepts the Hero award at the 2015 UC Irvine Health Heroes gala.
Susan Samueli, founder of the Susan Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine, receives an award at the UC Irvine Health Heroes Gala on June 6 for her visionary role in helping people discover and experience wellness.

More than 500 community and business leaders came together to honor wellness advocate Susan Samueli and other health heroes of the Susan Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine at the UC Irvine Health Heroes Gala, held June 6 at the Disneyland Hotel.

“Viva!,” a celebration of those who help others live well, generated $1.75 million in proceeds, setting a UC Irvine Health Heroes Gala record. The event raised funds to support research and treatment initiatives that help people in Orange County and around the world discover and experience wellness as a path to a longer, healthier life.

“The Susan Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine has produced groundbreaking research that answers the question of whether integrative practices such as acupuncture work,” said Roger Steinert, interim dean of the UC Irvine School of Medicine and director of the Gavin Herbert Eye Institute. “It has also introduced many future physicians to wellness concepts that they adopt in their practices. We are indebted to Susan Samueli for her sustained contributions to healing mind, body and spirit.”

Steinert and event co-host Terry Belmont, UC Irvine Medical Center CEO, paid tribute to Samueli for her visionary guidance of the Samueli Center, which has fostered the growth in integrative medicine and pursuit of wellness observed across UC Irvine Health today.

“With increased interest in prevention and wellness, Susan’s vision for an academic wellness center is proving to be fortuitous for UC Irvine Health and the community,” said Belmont. “It was a privilege to recognize her for launching the Samueli Center, which stands at the forefront of integrative treatment that is supported by evidence.”

Attendees responded enthusiastically to a special appeal to fund expansion of a heart disease prevention program at two new UC Irvine Health locations. The Preventive Cardiology Program, which now is offered only at UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange, is designed to save lives by identifying health risks early and developing personalized plans for lifestyle changes.

Local legends, JT & Friends, led by drummer John Tu, co-founder of Kingston Technology, entertained attendees with their special musical style.

Jim Peterson, CEO of Microsemi, and Sheila Peterson were honorary event co-chairs and major sponsors. Both are long-time friends of UC Irvine. Sheila Peterson serves as chair of the Samueli Center's advisory board. Jim Peterson is a member of the UC Irvine Foundation board of trustees and Chief Executive Roundtable.

Other major sponsors were Abbott Medical Optics, Arbonne International, Joan and Don Beall, FivePoint Communities, Microsemi, Pat and Bill Podlich, the Samueli Foundation, Betty Tu and David Tsoong, and Mary and John Tu.

UC Irvine Health comprises the clinical, medical education and research enterprises of the University of California, Irvine. Patients can access UC Irvine Health at physician offices throughout Orange County and at its main campus, UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange, Calif., a 411-bed acute care hospital that provides tertiary and quaternary care, ambulatory and specialty medical clinics, behavioral health and rehabilitation. U.S. News & World Report has listed it among America’s Best Hospitals for 14 consecutive years. UC Irvine Medical Center is home to Orange County’s only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, high-risk perinatal/neonatal program, Level I trauma center and Level II pediatric trauma center, and is the primary teaching hospital for UC Irvine School of Medicine. UC Irvine Health serves a region of more than 3 million people in Orange County, western Riverside County and southeast Los Angeles County. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

About the University of California, Irvine: Currently celebrating its 50th anniversary, UC Irvine is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. The campus has produced three Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UC Irvine has more than 30,000 students and offers 192 degree programs. It’s located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $4.8 billion annually to the local economy. To learn more about the university, visit

View by Category