Robert and Barbara Gold launch public health innovation competition
The founding dean of the School of Public Health and his wife have given $100,000 to establish the Robert S. and Barbara A. Gold Public Health Innovation Award Endowment. The Gold Award is intended to spark public health innovation, design thinking and solutions in public health.
It is the first award competition at the University of Maryland given to an individual for a creative solution to the world’s most complex public health issues. A panel of five health entrepreneurs and/or thought leaders will decide which project to fund on an annual basis. Undergraduate and graduate students in the SPH are eligible to apply. The first award will be for approximately $5000.
“As we got a little older, Barbara and I talked about what we wanted to do as a legacy for the time that we were here,” Dr. Gold said. He served as the dean of the SPH from 2007-2012 and the predecessor College of Health and Human Performance from 2002-2007. He was the driving force and visionary behind the creation of the School of Public Health, which officially launched in 2007. Dr. Gold’s university career and previous work in the computer industry, has always been focused on innovative tech solutions to public health problems. Yet, when they discussed their gift to the SPH, “It was Barbara who suggested focusing on technology,” Dr. Gold said. They want to encourage thinking about “how to take technology and make it into something worthwhile.”
Successful nominations for the award will describe new approaches to public health problems that are cutting-edge, such as apps for digital health, therapeutics, wearable components, augmented virtual reality, interoperability between health systems, artificial intelligence, web platforms, prosthetic advances, medical adherence, sensors technology, facial recognition software, robotic nurse assistants, remote patient monitoring and other firsts within the public health field.
Dr. and Mrs. Gold made 133 individual gifts since 2002, the year that Dr. Gold became dean of the College of Health and Human Performance. “We wanted to determine a larger goal to support something bigger,” Dr. Gold said.
“More than just a saying, ‘Giving begets giving’ is a way of life for truly enlightened individuals. Establishing this award stimulates potential supporters to reflect on their own meaningful connection to the university and the School of Public Health, to the welfare of future generations, and to their own personal legacies,” Dean Boris D. Lushniak wrote in a thank you letter to the Golds. “By leading as you’ve done, others will follow because we give to what matters most to us.”
The first Gold Award was presented on March 28th from 12 - 2 p.m. in the Friedgen Family Student Lounge (SPH 2236).