For a select few, their lifetime achievements leave an indelible mark in the field of medical advances for humankind. Dr. R. Palmer Beasley, professor and former dean, created such a legacy in the work he accomplished during his life and in the gifts he established to benefit future generations.
Dr. Beasley, epidemiologist and infectious disease expert, died on August 25 in Houston from advanced pancreatic cancer. In establishing the causative link between hepatitis B and liver cancer, Dr. Beasley and his colleagues made the first discovery of a virus that leads to a human cancer. Their work in determining the means of transmission from mothers to infants during childbirth resulted in vaccination programs around the world that have dramatically reduced worldwide suffering. He was 76 at the time of his death.
"Dr. Beasley has saved countless lives from cirrhosis and liver cancer through his work on the epidemiology and prevention of hepatitis B," said Dr. Herbert L. Du Pont, Director of the Center for Infectious Diseases at The University of Texas School of Public Health. "He is a giant in the field of infectious diseases."
Significance during Dr. Beasley's life came not only through his research on the epidemiology and prevention of hepatitis B but also through his 18 years as Dean of the School of Public Health, part of UTHealth.
As a long-standing Dean of the School of Public Health, Dr. Beasley established six regional campuses across Texas designed to meet the public health needs of each community. He also founded the Center for Infectious Diseases and the Center for International Training and Research, which provides international students with advanced public health training. During his career, Dr. Beasley educated a generation of public health researchers who went on to high-ranking roles in international health agencies and schools of public health.
Through thoughtful gift planning, Dr. Beasley's legacy of significant medical contributions continues. Working with his wife, Dr. Lu-Yu Hwang, with his colleague and friend, Dr. Herbert DuPont, and with UTHealth's Director of Gift Planning and the School of Public Health's Director of Development, Dr. Beasley established three endowments using a beneficiary designation of retirement assets.
The three endowments in the School of Public Health are: the R. Palmer Beasley, M.D. Chair in Infectious Diseases or Global Health, the R. Palmer Beasley, M.D. Travel Award in International Research, and the R. Palmer Beasley, M.D. Faculty Award in Innovation in Science and Public Health.
Thanks to these gifts, and others like them, UTHealth can carry on its preventative disease work and transform the world.
To leave your legacy, consider supporting UTHealth with a beneficiary designation of an IRA, other retirement account, or a life insurance policy. A beneficiary designation is one of the easiest and most tangible ways to create a lasting legacy.