Former WellPoint Inc. chief executive Leonard Schaeffer is giving $25 million toward a USC health policy research center he helped launch three years ago, university officials announced.

The $25 million gift from Leonard and Pamela Schaeffer will bolster the USC Leonard Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics that was established in 2009 with an initial $1.2 million gift from the Schaeffers. The additional money will be used to further research into controlling health care costs and improving patient outcomes in the United States and worldwide.

University officials were scheduled to announce the gift on Tuesday.

“I support this center because its rigorous independent and interdisciplinary research provides the foundation for designing effective policies to address these issues in both the public and private sectors,” Schaeffer said in a statement.

Schaeffer is the founding chairman and former chief executive of Wellpoint Health Networks Inc. He was recruited as chief executive in 1986 to guide the transformation of the not-for-profit Blue Cross of California into a for-profit health maintenance organization. He resigned in 2005, a year after WellPoint Inc. merged with Anthem.

Currently, Schaeffer is a senior adviser to private equity firm TPG Capital and he holds a professor post at USC.

The Schaeffer Center is jointly housed in the USC Price School of Public Policy and the USC School of Pharmacy and is headed by health economist Dana Goldman. The center has more than $45 million in external research funding, including from the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

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