Governor Brown yesterday released his May budget revision, which serves as a mid-year update to his January budget proposal and is based on the state’s actual revenue to date.
Although his update contained a glimmer of good news – state revenue is more than $6 billion above January’s projections – the future of the state’s budget remains uncertain. One reason for the uncertainty is that the governor’s budget proposal assumes that Californians will vote for extending certain temporary taxes. Even with these taxes, the state is ready to reduce its funding of the UC system by $500 million. If the tax extensions are not approved, the governor is proposing the cuts to UC double to $1 billion.
In spite of the uncertainty and the dire projections, the leadership of UCSF is focused on ensuring that whatever else happens, UCSF does not compromise its excellence in patient care, discovery and education. This is a challenging time for all of us, but I am optimistic. My optimism is grounded in the knowledge that for nearly 150 years, UCSF has been at the forefront in pioneering achievements across the health sciences.
Safeguarding UCSF’s excellence is a responsibility that each one of us at UCSF must own and accept. Over the last 15 months, several hundred people representing all segments of the campus have been collaborating to create and deliver just such an effort to the UCSF community. The program, called Operational Excellence, is focused on improvements in our operations and administrative functions.
Operational Excellence represents an expectation of continuous improvement in administrative and operational efficiency. It is being designed to provide excellent service delivery, embrace the highest standards of professional development and reduce our overall administrative costs. A Phase One initiative, modeling a shared service team for pre-award research administration, is set to launch this summer. A new model for delivering shared human resources across the campus is also well underway. Efforts to improve the critical functions that support day-to-day finance administration continue to be refined. In addition, UCSF is working with UC Berkeley, the Office of the President and others to leverage our joint purchasing power and reduce non-salary costs. I am thankful for the contributions of everyone working on Operational Excellence and for the departments and units across campus that are initially at the forefront of these changes.
Looking down the road, I know other challenges await us. I also know that that despite these obstacles, UCSF can – and will – remain firm in its commitment to find and implement solutions that empower us to pursue excellence. I am confident because it is my experience that all of us – faculty, staff and students – care deeply about UCSF’s mission. I believe this collective commitment to excellence will fuel our success and ensure that, even during periods of challenge and uncertainty, UCSF will remain at the forefront of patient care, discovery and education.
Susan Desmond-Hellmann, MD, MPH
Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock Distinguished Professor