Dear Colleagues:

I am pleased to announce the launch of an exciting new program at UCSF: a $100 million preterm birth initiative of UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals, which will be led by Larry Rand, MD, director of Perinatal Services at the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco Fetal Treatment Center. Dr. Rand will co-direct the initiative with Jaime Sepulveda, MD, MPH, MSc, DrSc, executive director of UCSF Global Health Sciences.

The initiative is jointly funded by Lynne and Marc Benioff and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This 10-year partnership aims to reduce the number of children who are born premature, and protect the health of preterm babies in California and worldwide.

This visionary effort could have a dramatic and sustainable impact on the leading cause of death for newborns across the globe. Every year, 15 million infants are born premature, defined as having a gestational age of less than 37 weeks, and more than 1 million of these infants die within their first 28 days of life. Much of this could be prevented through quality prenatal care.

The new program will focus on the many factors that drive prematurity and ways to encourage communities to adopt proven interventions. It also will develop new technologies, which we will freely share with partners throughout the world.

We also plan to collaborate with organizations such as the March of Dimes, Global Alliance to Prevent Prematurity and Stillbirths, National Institutes of Health and World Health Organization, to make this effort a reality. For more information, see: http://www.ucsf.edu/news/2014/04/113646/ucsf-receive-100-million-gates-f...

The generosity of Lynne and Marc Benioff is well known to us. They previously have provided $200 million to UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals in San Francisco and Oakland to support construction of a new hospital at Mission Bay and strengthen the existing talent, patient care, and basic and clinical research at both sites.

I know you share my gratitude for their exceptional vision and generosity, as well as that of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, in working toward reducing preterm births on both a local and global level.

Sincerely,

Sam Hawgood, MBBS Interim Chancellor, UCSF
Dean, UCSF School of Medicine