FSPH Professor Emeritus Linda B. Bourque

Printer-friendly version

We are very sad to announce that Linda Bourque, a dear colleague, mentor and friend of the public health and disaster community, passed away on March 20, 2019, after a brief illness.  Linda was many things to us at the UCLA Center for Public Health and Disasters. She was one of my (David) first mentors in disaster research. She co -taught our departmental core course with me (Deborah) for five years straight and I became a better teacher from that experience.  She co-led the launch of the Center for Public Health and Disasters, was very active in the field of earthquake preparedness and response, and was universally considered one of the field’s preeminent survey researchers. Friends and colleagues at UCLA remember her as “feisty”, “brave”, “principled”, “steadfast”, “never afraid to speak her mind”, and “a stalwart soul and true supporter of all that we do”. She is also remembered as “kind”, “compassionate”, “soft-hearted”, “full of life” and “funny”.  An announcement by the Dean of the Fielding School of Public Health is provided below. We will be sure to post here the announcement for a memorial service at UCLA, now planned for Fall of 2019.


David Eisenman

Deborah Glik



Dear Colleagues,


It is with deep sadness that I share the news that Linda B. Bourque, professor emeritus in the Fielding School’s Department of Community Health Sciences, passed away yesterday. Linda was known to her colleagues and students as a leading researcher, teacher, and profoundly supportive mentor and friend.


A survey research methodologist, Linda worked extensively in disaster and emergency preparedness. At the Fielding School, she co-led the launch of the Center for Public Health and Disasters, one of the first academic centers of its kind in the nation and is still in existence today. Linda’s publications in disaster and emergency preparedness include assessments she led of preparedness efforts, community responses and hazard mitigation efforts in the wake of the Northridge, Loma Prieta and Whittier Narrows earthquakes. At the first International Conference on Urban Disaster Reduction, Linda presented on and raised awareness about school emergency preparedness. 


Linda authored and co-authored numerous scientific articles and books about processing data and conducting surveys in the context of public health, ophthalmic clinical trials, intentional and unintentional injury, and community perceptions of and responses to disasters. And her work to address rape and sexual violence includes the noted book she authored in 1989, Defining Rape.


Dedication and service to our school and university were hallmarks of Linda’s career. She joined UCLA’s School of Public Health in 1972 and after only one year was named co-head of the Division of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education. She went on to later serve as head of the Division of Population and Family Health, and in 1991 was named vice chair of the Department of Community Health Sciences. In addition to the role of associate director of the Center for Public Health and Disasters – a position she held for fourteen years – she served as associate director of the Southern California Injury Prevention Research Center for seven years. Linda began working with UCLA’s Academic Senate in 1974 and continued until her passing. Over the course of her service, she held numerous positions including chair of the Committee on Rules and Jurisdiction, chair of the Survey Research Center Advisory Committee, and chair of the Reserve Council on Academic Personnel.


In addition to her leadership in research and service, Linda was a devoted educator who had high standards for her students and whose deep belief in their ability to succeed served as a foundation for many future successes. With colleagues, Linda was known for her fierce loyalty and generosity. I had the good fortune to meet Linda shortly after I joined the UCLA Fielding School faculty and benefited from her wise counsel and kind support over the years. Linda’s contributions to our school and to our discipline are many, and the spirit with which she moved through life touched us all.As Mike Prelip, professor and chair of the Department of Community Health Sciences, shared, “I’m so thankful for Linda; I am a better professor and a better colleague because of her. The moment I walked in the door of her office for the first time, she was completely supportive of me and that support was unwavering. Her memory will live on in the many students she mentored, trained and supported in countless ways.”


Notes of condolence and remembrance to be shared with Linda’s loved ones can be directed to the Fielding School’s Department of Community Health Sciences, chsmemories [at] ph.ucla.edu.


With an illustrious career spanning more than 50 years, Linda leaves behind a legacy of exceptional commitment to our Fielding School community through teaching, research, service, and friendship. An extraordinary faculty member of the highest integrity, Linda was an indispensable force at our school and will be profoundly missed.




Ron Brookmeyer, PhD

Interim Dean and Professor

UCLA Fielding School of Public Health