Ruth M. Heifetz, M.D., M.P.H.,(UCSD School of Medicine), physician and humanitarian, was a founding member of both the San Diego Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility and the San Diego Environmental Health Coalition (1980). Heifetz is a trailblazer of environmental justice, and, as such, fought tirelessly for the health of women and children exposed to toxic materials in their communities and workplace. She exemplifies outstanding leadership, makes significant contributions to our community's health, and is highly committed to occupational and environmental health and safety. In addition, she teaches these issues to generations of medical students.
Her humanitarian accomplishments encompass three main themes: protection of workers, protection of the environment and the prevention of nuclear war. Dr. Heifetz was founding member of the Environmental Health Coalition, served on the Lead Prevention Task Force for San Diego, and is the main scientific advisor responding to numerous problems of toxic exposure in our community. Her career reflects a lifetime commitment to preventive health, and she is on call to help prevent impending environmental disasters. She does so with a gentle, informed and persistent approach. Ruth Heifetz provides a superb role model for others wanting to devote their careers to protecting the lives of workers and the population from occupational and environmental causes of disease. She continues her work today and believes that we, as individuals and together, make a difference.