Dear Members of the UCSF Community:
The severe budget cuts to federal funding for scientific research proposed by the new administration, particularly a 19 percent reduction in support for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), are deeply concerning. UCSF is fortunate to have been a top recipient of NIH funds for many years and, as a public institution, it has been our privilege to fulfill our pact with taxpayers by conducting research that has improved the health of all Americans.
Be assured that our leadership team continues to work, in concert with the UC Office of the President, to stay apprised of federal actions and issues that have a significant impact on our university. We are strongly committed to keeping UCSF community members informed and taking appropriate actions to address these concerns and defend the values that are core to the University of California.
UCSF is advocating in our nation’s capital. Vice Chancellor for Science Policy and Strategy Keith Yamamoto is in Washington, DC working with Associate Director Natalie Alpert, our federal government relations lead, to actively represent UCSF. We remain aligned and in partnership with others who share our deep concerns, including our peer academic research institutions and national organizations such as the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC). It is by working with our peers and colleagues that we can truly represent the breadth of support that exists for maintaining what has been consistent and long-standing bipartisan backing for the federal funding of biomedical research.
Related to these advocacy efforts, I want to acknowledge that many in our community have asked about UCSF participation in the April 22 March for Science. Activities at UCSF are being planned, and details will be available in the coming week.
We know that the debate about the future of the Affordable Care Act is also causing great concern within our campus community. UC Health, which represents the system’s five nationally acclaimed health campuses, including UCSF, this week issued a statement emphasizing that health reform efforts “must maintain at least the same level of coverage, care and consumer protections for patients that are currently available.” The statement also expressed concern that the proposed American Health Care Act, as currently drafted, “could adversely impact our medical centers and the patients we serve.” A letter expressing these views was sent to all members of the California Congressional delegation, signed by John Stobo, MD, executive vice president of the UC Health system.
While the future of the current GOP health proposal remains uncertain, the five UC medical centers are working together, with UC Health, to educate policymakers about the potential impact of policy proposals on our institutions and our patients. For our part, UCSF leadership and our federal government relations team have personally met with Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and other key members of the California delegation, as well as health policy leaders in the Senate, about the importance of maintaining a health care system that allows us to meet our mission of providing care to our community while conducting world class research and training the next generation of health care practitioners. In addition, we continue to collaborate with state and national organizations, including the AAMC, the American Hospital Association, California Association of Public Hospitals and the California Hospital Association, among others.
As regards continued developments in our nation’s immigration policy and its impact on the UCSF community, the best sources for updated information are the UCSF International Students & Scholars Office website as well as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Frequently Asked Questions web page.
In closing, I want to stress that we will do everything in our power to ensure that Congress will maintain the great legacy of publicly funded science, which has safeguarded Americans’ health and that of others around the globe, and has made the U.S. research enterprise world-renowned. And we will continue to advocate strongly for the provision of affordable healthcare to the members of a diverse and inclusive society.
Sam Hawgood, MBBS
Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock Distinguished Professor