It is with a heavy heart that we share with our Bruin community the passing of Dr. Beatriz Solis on March 20. A passionate advocate, a change-maker, and a True Bruin, Dr. Beatriz Solis received her undergraduate degree from the College of Letters and Science and both her master’s and doctorate degrees from the Fielding School of Public Health at UCLA.
Dr. Solis was the Program Director of Healthy Communities South Region at The California Endowment. Her entire career was dedicated to building healthy communities. She infused public health policies with a much-needed racial justice lens. Her catalog of work in the field of public health has yielded tangible progress, especially within disadvantaged and underserved communities. Dr. Solis always considered our most vulnerable populations in California. She believed that an exclusionary health system can never truly provide equitable and quality care to all who need it.
“My older sister understood the importance of giving back to the community, especially in immigrant communities,” said Anna Solis ’90, UCLA Samueli School of Engineering alumna. “She came from an immigrant family and knew first-hand of the health injustices experienced by these vulnerable communities.”
Her connection to our UCLA community runs both long and deep. Dr. Solis was a research associate with the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, and eventually went on to serve as the president of the Fielding School of Public Health Alumni Association, mentoring and inspiring countless students. She also served on the advisory committee for the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health.
“My older sister recognized how giving back to the community can empower and galvanize young people,” said Leticia Solis ’90, UCLA Samueli School of Engineering alumna. This is what motivated Bea throughout her career. She instilled the same philosophy in me and the rest of my family.”
She was well-known for her pioneering work in the fields of public health and nonprofit philanthropy. Dr. Solis worked with First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” initiative to advocate for more nutritious meals in local schools. Organizations such as Homeboy Industries, Inner City Struggle, Hispanics in Philanthropy and many more all know her as a fierce ally. Her mark on the people whose lives she touched is indelible.
With a distinguished career in serving public health needs, Dr. Solis never lost sight of what really matters. She always let her work speak for itself. Throughout her life, and even during her last days, Dr. Solis never strived for fame nor applause. She understood the power of community.
“My little sister was a giant. She dedicated her life to the health and well-being of communities,” said Los Angeles County 1st District Supervisor Hilda Solis. “She only ever wanted to do good work and help people. She had a fierce belief that no matter where you live, you have the right to a healthy, happy life. She fought for immigrant and undocumented families, illustrating how exclusionary policies lead to worse health outcomes. She believed that a system that excludes anyone hurts everyone. She was a trailblazer and became a role model for underserved students to pursue careers in healthcare. Our family will always remember Bea with enormous pride.”
“With Bea’s many accomplishments in her educational and professional career, her most profound legacy in life was that of being a mother to two loving boys,” Irma Solis Rincon said. “She instilled in them the importance of education, curiosity in life, and being open to learn the customs and norms of others.”
Her legacy will continue to live on in our Bruin family. The absence of her presence is felt widely. To her family, we are grieving with you and we thank you for sharing the gift that was Beatriz Solis with us all these years. May she rest in power and peace!
She is survived by her husband, Mohammad Pasebani, and her two children, Aydin and Avrin.
In lieu of flowers, Dr. Solis asked for donations to the UCLA G.O. Discovery Lab at www.godiscoverylab.com.