Campus Messages

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

UCSF Health Leadership

Dear UCSF Community,

After more than four decades of exceptional leadership locally, statewide, and nationally, Mark Laret has informed me of his intention to retire from the University of California at the end of this calendar year.

Mark’s decision caps an incredible tenure at UC, and at UCSF. In 1980, he began his UC career at the UCLA Medical Center where he built the external relations and managed care functions, led the acquisition of Santa Monica Hospital, and positioned UCLA as a leading regional provider of care. In 1995, Mark was appointed CEO at UC Irvine Medical Center in the wake of significant challenges at their fertility center. In that role, he strengthened the management team and built an enduring values-based culture focused on always doing the right thing for patients and the community.

In 2000, we recruited Mark to become CEO of UCSF Medical Center. He joined us as a three-year merger with Stanford Hospital was ending, leaving UCSF in difficult financial and operational circumstances with a depleted management team.

Mark recruited a new leadership team and developed the medical center’s mission, vision, and PRIDE (Professionalism, Respect, Integrity, Diversity and Excellence) values system, all of which endure to this day. With the support of then Chancellor J. Michael Bishop, and in partnership with then School of Medicine Dean Haile Debas and the clinical department chairs, Mark and the team developed and executed a strategic plan to make UCSF larger, stronger, and better able to serve our diverse community.

The fundamentals — quality of patient care, safety, positive patient experiences, health equity, employee engagement, and operational efficiency — were and remain his focus. UCSF Medical Center not only recovered from the difficult period of the merger but became a leading performer on many of these metrics. UCSF Medical Center has been recognized as among the top ten hospitals in the nation by U.S. News & World Report for more than 20 years. Growing in prominence, UCSF Medical Center evolved into UCSF Health, a health system known for its regional and national leadership.

UCSF Health’s growth during Mark’s tenure has been dramatic, now serving twice as many inpatients and nearly five times as many outpatients as in 2000. The workforce of UCSF Health has increased from fewer than 5,000 to more than15,000 people. Financially, revenues have grown from $600 million per year to over $5 billion per year, enabling UCSF to reinvest billions in facilities, IT, infrastructure, and support for academic programs and new patient care services.

A major milestone in Mark’s career at UCSF was the acquisition of the land, planning, building, and ultimately occupying of the 289-bed UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay (UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco, Bakar Cancer Hospital, Betty Irene Moore Women’s Hospital, as well as the Ron Conway Family Gateway Medical Building). Mark oversaw the $1.6 billion Mission Bay expansion, which included a capital plan that successfully borrowed $700 million. He also played a crucial role in raising $600 million from UCSF’s generous donor community.

In recent years, Mark has led UCSF Health’s regional strategy to ensure UCSF’s ability to serve patients across the entire Bay Area by bringing Children's Hospital Oakland into the UCSF family, and by partnering with other high-quality hospital systems and physician groups. Together, they founded Canopy Health, a health care network — for which Mark serves as board chair — that will be key to UCSF’s long-term role in population health.

Throughout his tenure, Mark has focused on strengthening UCSF’s voice in academic medicine and health care policy at UC, and across the state of California and the nation. During his UCSF tenure, Mark served on the board of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, chaired the National Council of Teaching Hospitals, and served on the board of, and chaired, the Association of American Medical Colleges. In California, Mark chaired the Hospital Council of Northern and Central California, and served on the board of, and chaired, the California Hospital Association.

At home, Mark has been a phenomenal partner to a series of deans at UCSF, including myself when I was dean of the School of Medicine. He has been a stalwart supporter of UCSF’s academic enterprise, and a strong voice here and across the UC system for extending our reach to the underserved in our state.

For more than two decades, I have greatly enjoyed my friendship, and partnership, with Mark. I had the privilege of serving on the search committee that recruited Mark in 2000, and I will begin a search for his successor in the next few weeks. Mark’s timetable of retiring on December 31, 2021, allows us to do a thorough job of finding the right person to build on the exceptional foundation that he has established, which includes a stellar leadership team at UCSF Health.

I know that many of you share my respect, admiration, and appreciation for Mark, what he has done for UCSF and, more importantly, how he has done it — with optimism, respect, principles, humility, and humor. During the past year, I have relied on Mark’s compassionate leadership to help steer UCSF through the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and will continue to do so in 2021. We have all benefited from his wisdom and guidance through these challenging times.

You may read more about Mark’s illustrious career online.

While we will have opportunities to thank Mark in person throughout this year, please join me now in congratulating Mark and thanking him for his many contributions to UCSF, UC, and our patients, whom, as he often reminds us, we are privileged to serve.


Sam Hawgood, MBBS
Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock Distinguished Professor