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David Geffen School of Medicine

Samuel Steinberg: Celebrating a Life of Compassion




Family members and close friends of the late Samuel Steinberg gathered for the dedication of the Samuel Steinberg Grand Stair Lobby, located on the B Level of Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, on March 14, 2016. A generous gift from the Samuel Steinberg Family Foundation made the naming possible and established three funds focused on compassionate care in pediatrics, geriatrics and psychiatry, supporting the Children's Pain and Comfort Care Program, the Geriatric Inpatient Care Companion Program and the Palliative Care Clinical Research Program, respectively. In his opening remarks, Dr. John C. Mazziotta (RES '81, FEL '83), vice chancellor for UCLA Health Sciences and CEO of UCLA Health, expressed his deep gratitude to the Steinberg Foundation for helping UCLA to expand this area. "Palliative care is a growing field, with many possibilities for improving quality of life," he said at the dedication. "This gift will help UCLA advance those possibilities."

 Attendees also included Johnese Spisso, MPA, president of UCLA Health and CEO of the UCLA Hospital System; and UCLA faculty. Dr. Thomas B. Strouse (RES '91), medical director of the Stewart and Lynda Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital at UCLA and the Maddie Katz Chair in Palliative Care Research and Education, shared that Steinberg was dedicated to relieving suffering wherever he saw it.

The event included a moving tribute to Steinberg's life. Born in Poland in 1928, Steinberg was 11 years old when the Nazis invaded. He endured incarceration in multiple concentration camps and was the only surviving member of his family. When the camps were liberated, Steinberg was 17 and gained sponsorship from an American family to come to Los Angeles. He later married Selma, the daughter of his sponsors. Together, they had four children, and he built a successful business as an electrician. He was characterized as a man of kindness and peace. The Samuel Steinberg Funds address issues he cared deeply about, such as providing companionship for elderly patients, comfort for critically ill children and grief support for their families.

Rabbi Baruch Kupfer, executive director of Gindi Maimonides Academy, spoke and said that the Japanese art of kintsugi, which repairs broken ceramics by filling them with gold, making the repairs the most valuable and beautiful element of the piece, provided an apt metaphor for Steinberg's life - when he was broken by the Nazis, he did not let his experience destroy him. Steinberg rebuilt his life around love and compassion, and he left an inspiring legacy, part of which will touch the lives of UCLA patients, from the youngest to the most elderly.

For more information, contact Alan Han at: (310) 825-1546


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