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Providing People with Disability the Ability to Thrive

Boy in wheelchair with doctor wearing scrubs and stethoscope by his side
Thanks to the Shapiro family’s generosity, UCLA will continue to lead the way in improving care for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families.

UCLA and its donors never shy away from a challenge. One example is how they are leading the way in improving care for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families.

“People with disabilities have a variety of health issues throughout their lives that are more serious and complex than those of the general population,” says Linda Sarna, dean of UCLA School of Nursing. Yet providers, programs, and policymakers often lack the resources to help all people thrive — a situation the Shapiros are committed to changing.

Leading the Way in Nursing

Their recent gift to UCLA Nursing creates the Shapiro Family Endowed Chair in Developmental Disability Studies, the first such chair at the school. The position will provide national and international nursing leadership in the area of disability, empowering graduates to serve the most vulnerable. The Shapiros previously provided program and scholarship assistance: The Dr. Mary Ann Lewis Endowment in Developmental Disability recognizes Professor Lewis’s role in creating guidelines for nurse-managed care for the developmentally disabled, and the Deborah Rasmussen Scholarship in Nursing, which the Shapiros funded through United Cerebral Palsy of Los Angeles, supports nursing students interested in working with people with disabilities.

Commitment Across Campus

In the department of orthopaedic surgery, Eileen Fowler, PhD ’90 holds the Peter William Shapiro Chair for the Center for Cerebral Palsy (CP) and highlights the need for increased awareness, education, support, and advocacy to improve maternal and infant health in the CP community. Fowler also leads Camp Leg Power, a summer camp designed to make physical therapy fun for CP patients while evaluating the brain’s response.

Elsewhere on campus, the Shapiros have helped make UCLA School of Dentistry the only higher learning facility in Southern California accepting new patients with special needs and providing services they often require for complex procedures. In pediatrics, the Shirley and Ralph Shapiro Fellowship Fund supports scholars in developmental-behavioral pediatrics, a field focused on enhancing quality of life for children with developmental and behavioral conditions.

Loyal advocates of UCLA, Ralph Shapiro ’53, JD ’58; his wife, Shirley ’59; and their children Alison and Peter put their money where their mouths are — and where it will improve lives.

Published June 2018

Ralph, Shirley, and Peter Shapiro pose in front of bookshelves.

Ralph Shapiro ’53, JD ’58; his wife, Shirley ’59; and their son, Peter

More Stories: Research, David Geffen School of Medicine / Health Sciences, Health & behavior, Nation, world, & society, UCLA & community, School of Dentistry, School of Nursing

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