A Tustin-based foundation has donated $25,000 to UC Irvine to help prevent crippling and fatal diseases among busy professionals who frequently ignore their health until it is too late.
The Lawrence D. Ornitz Memorial Foundation is providing the funds without strings to the UCI Executive Health Program, a multidisciplinary preventive health maintenance program. The foundation was established in memory of Ornitz, a partner in the successful Orange County sportswear company, Ocean Pacific Sunwear Ltd.
Ornitz died of heart disease in 1988 at the age of 53.
Elaine Ornitz, his widow and executive director of the foundation, said she wanted the donation "to be used to inform people that they can't burn the candle at both ends and get away with it. . . .
"If I can get people who are very busy and stressed to pay more attention to their health, my gift will have served its purpose," she said.
The grant is the first private contribution to the Executive Health Program, which provides a comprehensive assessment of an individual's health risks, based on family history, lifestyle and physical diagnosis, UCI officials said.
"A downside to Orange County's fast-paced lifestyle is that most people, either for lack of time or concern, don't consider their health until it becomes a problem," said Dr. James Lindberg, program director.
The program started on a fee-for-service basis at the campus medical facility in September, 1989, and is an example of the kind of services the university hopes will attract upscale, paying patients.