Western University of Health Sciences will raise money for student scholarships and honor pioneers in health care at its annual fundraising gala, “A Tribute to Caring,” Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014 at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, California.

WesternU will present the Elie Wiesel Humanism in Healing Award to Astrid H. Heger, MD, FAAP, executive director of the Violence Intervention Program at Los Angeles County-University of Southern California Medical Center and a professor of clinical pediatrics at USC’s Keck School of Medicine. She founded the Center for the Vulnerable Child (CVC) in 1984 for the evaluation of child abuse, the first medically-based child advocacy center in the world. CVC evaluates more than 15,000 child abuse and child sexual assault victims every year.

“Dr. Heger has dedicated her life to protecting and empowering our most vulnerable and precious population – our children – and her tireless efforts continue to impact thousands of lives,” said WesternU President Philip Pumerantz, PhD. “We are honored to bestow upon her WesternU’s highest honor, the Elie Wiesel Humanism in Healing Award, for expressing compassion and understanding for the human condition.”

Dr. Heger is the preeminent expert in the field of child sexual abuse and assault, and is the author of numerous articles in this field , as well as a definitive textbook, “Evaluation of the Sexually Abused Child,” now in its second edition.

In 1995, Dr. Heger established the first “one-stop shop” community Family Advocacy Center, offering medical, mental health, protective, legal and social services to victims of family violence and sexual assault throughout Los Angeles County. Dr. Heger continues to be a powerful advocate for the rights of children and families impacted by violence.

Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP) will receive WesternU’s Access to Caring Award for making a difference in advancing health care access and availability to underserved people. IEHP is a not-for-profit, rapidly growing Medi-Cal and Medicare health plan in California. With a provider network of more than 4,000 physicians and more than 1,200 employees, IEHP serves more than 900,000 residents of Riverside and San Bernardino counties who are enrolled in Medi-Cal, Cal MediConnect (Medicare), IEHP’s Medicare Special Needs Plan, or the Healthy Kids Program.

IEHP was voted by Los Angeles News Group readers as “Favorite Overall Company to Work For,” “Favorite Training Program” and “Favorite Workplace Culture” in the 2014 Winning Workplaces survey. IEHP is the first health plan in California to earn NCQA Accreditation for Medi-Cal.

“IEHP is improving health outcomes for children in foster care and has implemented a wide range of services for members with disabilities, leading to the establishment of the nationally-recognized initiative The Inland Empire Disabilities Collaborative,” Dr. Pumerantz said. “WesternU shares IEHP’s commitment to meeting the health care needs of families, children, adults, seniors and people with disabilities in the Inland Empire and beyond.”

A Tribute to Caring raises money for student scholarships. For more information, please visit the ATC website: http://www.westernu.edu/tribute/index.html.