Former Santa Monica Outlook Reporter Erwin Dies
November 11, 2016
In memoriam: Kimberly Irwin, UCLA media relations representative and former newsopaper reporter.
She brought attention to the work of physicians and researchers across a broad range of specialties
Kimberly "Kim" Dawn Irwin, a media relations representative at UCLA's medical enterprise and a former reporter at the Santa Monica Outlook died Oct. 7 in Los Angeles following a brief illness. She was 55.
Over the course of her 18-year career at UCLA, Irwin attracted attention to the work of physicians and researchers across a broad range of specialties, including urology, cancer, neurology and organ transplantation.
Born in Covina, California, and raised in West Covina, she was the first of four children of longtime public school educators Harry and Josephine Mary Irwin. After graduating from Edgewood high school and California State University-Fullerton with a bachelor's degree in communications, she worked as a reporter at a series of suburban newspapers in Southern California and Joliet, Illinois.
As a staff writer for the now defunct Outlook Irwin covered health issues, Westside politics and the community of Venice Beach before becoming assistant city editor, assigning late-breaking stories and editing copy for a staff of 10 reporters.
In 1998 Irwin joined UCLA as the media relations director of the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center and later served in that same role for the UCLA Broad Stem Cell Research Center. She eventually joined the UCLA Health Sciences media relations team, helping instigate news coverage for the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.
Her achievements at UCLA included coordinating and supervising a nine-month project with CBS' "60 Minutes" that followed patients through an experimental trial for breast cancer. In 2005, she shared an award from the Public Relations Society of America for drawing attention to the launch of the stem cell center. Irwin had the ability to translate intricate scientific discoveries into terms that could be easily understood by the general public, colleagues said.
An Alhambra homeowner, she enjoyed fine wine, ethnic restaurants, theater, movies, travel, classical and rock music, and felines, both wild and domestic. Preceded in death in 2013 by her mother, she is survived by her father and stepmother, Carolyn Irwin, both of Rancho Cucamonga; siblings, Allison Irwin of Covina, Kristi Ann Seal of Walnut and Patrick Irwin of Rancho Cucamonga; two nephews, Kristian Wyatt and Kollin Jeffrey Seal of Walnut; and her beloved cat, Sawyer.
In Irwin's honor, UCLA's main flag near Pauley Pavilion will fly at half-staff on Dec. 1.