Campus Messages

An archive of email messages sent to the entire UCSF community by the Chancellor and members of the Chancellor's Cabinet.

UCSF’s Anti-racism Initiative

Dear UCSF Community,

As a leading university committed to the health sciences, we must confront the way racism perpetuates a system of inequities for people of color. False hierarchies based on race rationalize laws, public policy, and customs that have built bias and discrimination into society’s institutional practices.

Racism expressed through our social systems is often subtle and sometimes unconscious. But its impact is clearly visible across housing, education, employment, criminal justice, and health care. Nowhere are the effects of racism more obvious than in the Black community where it has led to worse health and health care outcomes, causing unnecessary suffering and shortened lives. Anti-Black racism remains the most virulent form of bias and discrimination to be overcome in this country.

In all of its forms, racism is contrary to the core values of professionalism, respect, integrity, diversity, and excellence that drive UCSF’s mission of health research, education, care delivery, and public service. To achieve a community truly defined by these values, we must take an anti-racist stance challenging systems, practices, and attitudes that maintain structural inequities against all people of color. 

The events of the past few months prompt us, as a community, to act with greater urgency. Over the past weeks, Chancellor Sam Hawgood and senior leaders have listened to faculty, learners, and staff, and have met with the Black Caucus to seek their guidance. The Chancellor’s Cabinet—led by the Chancellor and guided by Vice Chancellor Renee Navarro—has accelerated its work of reexamining UCSF’s own institutional structures and practices. We write to you today, sharing one voice, to provide an update on this effort.

At the Chancellor’s request, Vice Chancellor Renee Navarro will lead UCSF’s Anti-racism Initiative, partnering with leaders across the campus and UCSF Health. The list below represents the first of the efforts underway. We will add to this initiative in the coming months, including important work addressing racism in health care and research, as well as in the recruitment practices of faculty and management.

UCSF Anti-racism Initiative

UCSF Safety Task Force

  • Chancellor Hawgood has charged this task force to: “Recommend ways to ensure that UCSF’s policing and security protocols serve our community without discrimination, bias, or unnecessary use of force, and create a safe and welcoming environment for all.”
  • Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Dan Lowenstein and Vice Chancellor Renee Navarro are co-chairing the task force.
  • The Safety Task Force held its inaugural meeting on July 27, 2020.

UCSF-wide Education and Training

  • This fall, UCSF will implement mandatory Foundational Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Training for all faculty, staff, and learners.
  • The successful Differences Matter Champion Training has been expanded to include faculty and staff from across campus and UCSF Health.
  • The Chancellor’s Cabinet is committed to its own ongoing education in anti-racism and is developing its own development and training plan.

Anti-racism Curriculum

  • The School of Dentistry, the School of Medicine, the Department of Physical Therapy, the School of Nursing, the School of Pharmacy, the Graduate Division, and the Institute for Global Health Sciences are all in the process of adding required coursework that ranges from anti-racism and its consequences in science and health care to the social determinants of health to DEI (diversity, equity, inclusion) leadership and beyond.

Advancing Excellence in Staff Recruitment

  • UCSF Human Resources, in partnership with the Office of Diversity and Outreach, will implement a UCSF-wide process improvement to disrupt the unconscious bias present in our hiring and promotions processes. This includes data-driven practices and standard work for senior staff and leadership positions (M3 and above). This is analogous to the Faculty Equity Advisor Program, incorporating Staff Equity Advisors and the requirement for Contributions to Diversity statements in recruitment.
  • UCSF leadership has formalized the guideline that all committees appointed by the Chancellor or members of the Chancellor’s Cabinet should be comprised of 50% women and underrepresented minorities (URM). 

Anti-racism Communication and Accountability

  • Beginning in August, UCSF leaders will hold a series of quarterly town halls that will describe the next steps that will be implemented as part of the UCSF plan to dismantle systemic racism and combat anti-Blackness across the enterprise. In addition, these forums will provide an opportunity to learn from the perspectives of members of the UCSF community.
  • A UCSF Anti-racism webpage, which is under construction and will be hosted on the Office of Diversity and Outreach website, will provide regular updates to related projects and workstream.

As we broaden UCSF’s Anti-racism Initiative, we will develop measurable goals and key metrics to evaluate our progress and impact across all of our mission areas. We will involve experts and stakeholders as we examine our own biases, identify problems, and seek new solutions and paradigms. The actions listed above add to the anti-racism work being launched in our schools, programs and administrative units.

Racism’s double standard is deeply ingrained in our society and undoing it will be difficult. However, the national reckoning on race that has been reignited by the loss of yet more Black lives asks us to shoulder a responsibility to draw change from tragedy. In the words of the late civil rights leader and Congressman from Georgia, John Lewis, “You must do something. Democracy is not a state. It is an act, and each generation must do its part to help build what we called the Beloved Community, a nation and world society at peace with itself.”

We have a long history at UCSF of advancing equity, for the patients and communities we have the privilege to serve, and for each other. But we have more work to do. As we continue to engage in dialogue and take actions to dismantle systemic racism’s multifaceted challenges, we dedicate ourselves to achieving these vital changes because we know that diversity, equity, and inclusion are critical to our success.


Sam Hawgood, MBBS

J. Renee Navarro, PharmD, MD
Vice Chancellor, Office of Diversity and Outreach

Daniel H. Lowenstein, MD
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost

Mark R. Laret
President and Chief Executive Officer, UCSF Health

Catherine L. Gilliss, PhD, RN, FAAN
Dean, School of Nursing

B. Joseph Guglielmo, PharmD
Dean, School of Pharmacy

Talmadge E. King, Jr., MD
Dean, School of Medicine
Vice Chancellor, Medical Affairs

Michael Reddy, DMD, DMSC
Dean, School of Dentistry

Elizabeth Watkins, PhD
Dean, Graduate Division
Vice Chancellor, Student Academic Affairs

Jennifer Arnett
Vice Chancellor, University Development and Alumni Relations

Michael Clune, PhD
Senior Associate Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer

Lindsey A. Criswell, MD, MPH, DSc
Vice Chancellor, Research

Won Ha
Vice Chancellor, Communications

Corey Jackson
Chief Human Resources Officer

Paul Jenny
Senior Vice Chancellor, Finance and Administration

Sharmila Majumdar, PhD
Chair, Academic Senate

Theresa O’Brien, PhD
Associate Chancellor

Greta Schnetzler
Chief Campus Counsel
Associate General Counsel

Jaime Sepύlveda, MD, MPH, MSc, DrSc
Executive Director, Global Health Sciences

Chris Shaffer
Assistant Vice Chancellor for Academic Information Management

Brian Smith
Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer
Senior Associate Vice Chancellor, ​​Research

Francesca Vega
Vice Chancellor, Community and Government Relations

Keith Yamamoto, PhD
Special Advisor to the Chancellor for Science Policy and Strategy