Dr. Joyce C. Lashof, who fought for well being fairness and broke boundaries as the primary lady to move a state public well being division and the primary to function dean of the School of Public Health on the University of California, Berkeley, died on June 4 at an assisted dwelling neighborhood in Berkeley. She was 96.
Her daughter, Carol Lashof, mentioned the trigger was coronary heart failure.
Over a protracted and various profession, family and friends members mentioned, Dr. Lashof at all times prioritized the struggle for social justice. In the Sixties, she based a neighborhood well being middle to offer medical care in a low-income part of Chicago. After her appointment as director of the Illinois Department of Public Health in 1973, the yr of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade choice codifying the constitutional proper to abortion, Dr. Lashof established protocols to offer girls entry to protected abortion within the state, Carol Lashof mentioned.
In the Eighties, Dr. Lashof leveraged her powers as a high college administrator to arrange initiatives to struggle discrimination towards individuals with AIDS and to protest Apartheid in South Africa.
She championed social justice outdoors of her skilled life as properly, taking her household on so many marches for peace and civil rights within the Sixties that they got here to view mass protests as “a family outing,” her son, Dan, recalled. Joan Baez as soon as carried out of their lounge in Chicago, the household mentioned, for a fund-raiser for the anti-segregation Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee.
“From the start, her work in medicine and public health was deeply animated by a profound commitment to issues of social justice in our society,” mentioned Nancy Krieger, a professor of social epidemiology at Harvard who labored on AIDS coverage with Dr. Lashof as a Berkeley graduate scholar within the Eighties. “That included issues around racism, that included issues around social class, that included issues around gender.”
After a short tenure as a deputy assistant secretary on the federal Department of Health, Education and Welfare and an extended tenure as assistant director of the Office of Technology Assessment, she was appointed to run Berkeley’s School of Public Health in 1981. In that publish, Dr. Krieger mentioned, she was not content material to restrict her scope to administrative duties.
At the peak of the AIDS epidemic in 1986, for instance, she set her sights on defeating Proposition 64, a California poll initiative spearheaded by the far-right political agitator Lyndon LaRouche that might have mandated mass testing for AIDS and, critics feared, mass quarantines.
Dr. Lashof secured the cooperation of all 4 public well being colleges within the California college system to arrange a coverage evaluation on the initiative, which Dr. Krieger mentioned was their first such joint venture. The evaluation, introduced to the California State Assembly, demonstrated the doubtless dangerous results of the measure and, Dr. Krieger mentioned, contributed to its defeat.
Dr. Lashof’s pals mentioned she approached activism with the thoughts of a scientist. “It was about always wanting to bring the evidence to bear on what the problems were that were causing health inequities,” Dr. Krieger mentioned.
Those efforts usually began on the neighborhood degree. In 1967, Dr. Lashof, then on the school of the University of Illinois College of Medicine, opened the Mile Square Health Center in Chicago, a neighborhood well being clinic financed by the federal Office of Equal Opportunity that supplied medical care to an impoverished space of town.
“She was one of the key people in helping get community health centers federally funded and viable in this country,” Dr. Krieger mentioned.
The Mile Square middle, the second such neighborhood well being middle within the nation, by no means achieved the identical degree of renown as the primary, in Mound Bayou, Miss., which made Dr. H. Jack Geiger, one if its founders, nationally recognized.
“Joyce often was overshadowed, in particular by men who were more charismatic at a time when sexism was more common,” mentioned Meredith Minkler, a professor emerita of well being and social conduct at Berkeley who labored with Dr. Lashof on social justice points through the years. “But she wasn’t concerned about being in the limelight. She was concerned about creating change.”
Joyce Ruth Cohen was born on March 27, 1926, in Philadelphia, the daughter of Harry Cohen, an authorized public accountant whose mother and father had been Jewish immigrants from Ukraine, and Rose (Brodsky) Cohen, a homemaker who was born in Ukraine and served as a volunteer with the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, serving to settle German Jewish refugees within the United States throughout and after World War II.
“Her mother clearly instilled in her an ambition to take a full role in society,” Dan Lashof mentioned. “She had been interested in medicine from an early age, and at some point said she wanted to be a nurse. Her mother said, ‘Well, if you’re going to be a nurse and do all that work, you might as well be a doctor and be in charge.’”
But after graduating from Duke University with honors in 1946, she discovered her path to high graduate medical packages blocked. Many then restricted the variety of Jewish candidates they accepted and, because the battle ended, had been giving admissions precedence to males getting back from the armed providers, in accordance with the National Library of Medicine. She lastly earned a spot on the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
She married Richard Okay. Lashof, a theoretical mathematician, in 1950. By the mid-Fifties, each she and her husband had been junior college members on the University of Chicago. In 1960, she as soon as once more confronted gender discrimination when the division chairman denied her a promotion.
“The chair informed me that he could not recommend a woman for a tenure-track appointment, especially a married woman, because she undoubtedly would follow her husband wherever he would go,” Dr. Lashof mentioned at a well being convention in 1990. “C’est la vie.”
Undeterred, she joined the school on the University of Illinois College of Medicine. There she was appointed to direct a examine of well being wants, a venture that led to her work creating neighborhood well being facilities.
In addition to her kids, Dr. Lashof is survived by six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Her husband died in 2010. Their eldest daughter, Judith Lashof, died of breast most cancers in 2018.
In the early Eighties, Dr. Lashof donned a cap and robe to march in a protest urging the University of California to divest from South Africa. She was, Dr. Minkler mentioned, the one campus dean to take action.
“She would stick her neck out,” Dr. Minkler mentioned. “It didn’t matter who she needed to cross.”
When she was 91, Dr. Lashof carried an indication that learn “End the Muslim Ban Now” at a protest in Alameda, Calif., towards the Trump administration’s ban on journey to the United States by residents of 5 predominantly Muslim nations.
Toward the tip of her life, Dr. Lashof was heartened by the numerous advances in social justice that had been made through the years, Carol Lashof mentioned. But in current months, she was aghast to listen to that the Supreme Court was contemplating overturning Roe v. Wade.
“She was absolutely baffled,” Carol Lashof mentioned. “She just looked at me and said, ‘How could that have happened?’”
Dr. Lashof’s many accomplishments had been all of the extra important as a result of she was a lady.
“Breaking numerous glass ceilings was critical in her career,” Dr. Minkler mentioned, “and it was one of her most important legacies.”