Campus Messages

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

April 9, 2014

Dear Members of the UCSF Community:

On April 28, you will receive a message from Gallup to participate in the third UCSF Staff Engagement Survey, which will be administered April 28 through May 16. UCSF leadership strives to build a work environment that supports staff engagement, one that is conducive to achieving our collective mission of advancing health worldwide. Gallup, known nationally for its excellence in data-driven research, will administer the 2014 survey.

One of the primary ways we gauge our success in building a supportive work environment is by periodically gathering the opinions of our staff. The Staff Engagement Survey provides staff members with an opportunity to express their voices candidly and confidentially. The 2013 survey results showed progress on staff engagement, and units across the campus and medical center have created and implemented quality action plans to continue this improvement. The 2014 Staff Engagement Survey will provide greater insight into the impact of these efforts, and help us plan future engagement activities that contribute to making UCSF a great place to work.

The survey should take 5 to 10 minutes to complete, and Gallup will hold your responses in complete confidence. Responses will be reported anonymously without reference to identity of any respondents. We will provide an assessment of outcomes of the 2014 survey once it is closed and analysis of results completed.

Please take time to reflect on your employment experience at UCSF and share your feedback through this important survey.


Sam Hawgood, MBBS
Interim Chancellor

April 7, 2014
UCSF Health

Dear Colleagues:

As you know, UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital has affiliated with Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland (CHO). Together, the two partners will become even stronger advocates for young patients on both sides of the San Francisco Bay.

Now, thanks to another generous $100 million gift from Lynne and Marc Benioff, we will strengthen the existing talent and programs in basic and clinical research and patient care offered by these two premier institutions – to read more about UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals, please visit – This funding also will enable us to attract world-renowned researchers and clinicians to accelerate the development of innovative solutions for children’s health care throughout the Bay Area, as well as nationally and globally.

BCH Logos

You will notice a few changes to our name – and our look – starting with the colorful emblem on this page. The adoption of the Oakland location’s logo, which we are truly excited about, visibly places children at the heart of our mission and symbolizes our united efforts.

In addition, our San Francisco hospital will be called UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital...

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March 31, 2014

Dear Colleagues,

I’m pleased to be writing to you today in my new role as Interim Chancellor of UCSF.

UCSF is at an exciting point in its evolution, and I look forward to working with many of you in the coming months to continue to advance excellence across our mission areas of research, education, patient care, and community service.

I know I speak on behalf of the entire UCSF community in thanking Sue Desmond-Hellmann for her leadership over the last four-and-a-half years and in wishing her the very best in her role as chief executive officer of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

UCSF made great progress under Sue’s leadership. Her legacy includes the strong leadership team she built, the financial strength she fostered and the scale of the projects this campus has undertaken in such a short time. The Chancellor’s Executive Cabinet is fully committed to partnering with me to ensure the current transition is a seamless one.

The coming months promise to be rewarding. Later this month, UCSF is planning to launch a yearlong celebration of the 150th anniversary of the founding of Toland Medical College, a celebration that in February 2015 will include the opening of three new hospitals at UCSF’s Mission Bay Campus. We also will continue advancing key initiatives, including UCSF 2.0, which is focused on charting a future vision for the entire institution, and the UCSF Health System, a clinical enterprise strategy to ensure we are well positioned as the healthcare landscape continues to evolve.

The breadth of what we do at UCSF is unsurpassed, from fundamental, curiosity-driven science to the application of those discoveries to patient care and...

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March 27, 2014

Dear Friends,

I am pleased to share with you that 2014 marks the 150th anniversary of the founding of UC San Francisco. This milestone presents a unique opportunity for all of us to reflect on UCSF’s rich and innovative history, integral role in San Francisco and leadership in the transformation of health worldwide.

Throughout the year, we will host a number of events to celebrate the anniversary, launching with the Founders Day Dinner on April 10, 2014 and culminating in the opening of the new UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay on February 1, 2015. Other cornerstone events will take place around UCSF Alumni Weekend, also held in the spring, and the completion of Mission Hall in October 2014.

I am pleased to announce that Mary Anne Koda-Kimble, PharmD ’69, dean emerita of the School of Pharmacy, agreed to chair the 150th Anniversary Celebration Committee, a group comprising faculty, alumni and volunteers who will oversee the planning process. A staff work group already has laid a solid foundation, and I am grateful for their commitment of time and energy.

Dean Koda-Kimble and I invite you to offer ideas for this occasion that both explore our campus’ history and consider its future. To ensure that the celebration period is reflective of the entire UCSF community, we have created a short survey to collect your suggestions. Please visit to share your thoughts.

In the coming weeks, Dean Koda-Kimble will be in touch with additional information about the sesquicentennial celebration. As vital members of our campus community, your participation in this extraordinary celebration...

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March 27, 2014

Dear Colleagues:

As members of the UCSF community, I invite you to read recently published stories about UCSF's multi-year financial planning and projections along with a snapshot of some of the numerous efforts across the enterprise to meet the challenges of our dynamic and competitive marketplace.

The stories are posted at:


John E. Plotts
Senior Vice Chancellor – Finance and Administration

March 27, 2014

Dear Colleagues,

I am extremely pleased to announce that Alan Ashworth, PhD, FRS, an acclaimed cancer scientist, will become the new director for the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. His appointment will officially begin January 1, 2015.

Dr. Ashworth currently is professor of molecular biology, leader of the Gene Function Team in the Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research Centre and chief executive officer of the Institute of Cancer Research in London. Together with its partner hospital, The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, the ICR is one of the top cancer centers globally.

Dr. Ashworth is renowned for his research on genes that determine cancer risk, especially for his key role in the discovery of BRCA2 in 1995. His is also known for his innovative approaches to exploiting genetic weaknesses in cancer cells as a way to generate new therapies and for his passion for the development of precision cancer medicine, translating laboratory studies into improvements in patient care.

Dr. Ashworth is an elected member of EMBO and the Academy of Medical Sciences and a Fellow of the Royal Society. He is the recipient of a number of scientific prizes and awards including The European Society of Medical Oncology Lifetime Achievement Award, the David T. Workman Memorial Award of the Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation and the Meyenburg Foundation’s Cancer Research Award.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the search committee who so ably assisted me in Dr. Ashworth’s recruitment.

Dr. Ashworth will succeed Dr. Frank McCormick as director of the Cancer Center at USCF. Dr. McCormick joined UCSF in 1997, launched our cancer center and...

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December 16, 2012

Dear Colleagues:

Over the last few days, we have learned more fully the extent of the devastation caused by the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School. UCSF extends our condolences to the community of Newtown, Connecticut, especially to those who are grieving the loss of their children, friends, teachers, school administrators, and neighbors.

An incident like this could raise concerns about our own community and preparedness at UCSF. I want to assure you that the UCSF Police Department continues to enhance the equipment, training, and exercises for our police officers to respond to threats, including an active-shooter incident. For example, we are installing warning devices in classrooms and high-traffic campus locations.

We also have strengthened our ability to warn affiliates, faculty, postdocs, staff, students, and trainees, using the WarnMe mass notification system. If an imminent threat to life and safety were to occur, the UCSF police would activate the WarnMe system and alert members of the UCSF community on their individual cell phone and other registered phone numbers.

I encourage every one of us to take a few minutes right now to register with the WarnMe system if you have not done so already.

For more information about how we are preparing for emergencies, please visit the UCSF Police Department website at

Advice for Speaking with Children

Many of us also may want advice in regard to helping children cope with what they hear...

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October 7, 2012
Honors and Awards

Dear Colleagues:

We are delighted and honored to share the news that Shinya Yamanaka, MD, PhD, Gladstone senior investigator and UCSF professor of anatomy, has been named to receive the 2012 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. He shares the prize with John B. Gurdon, Kt, DPhil DSc, FRS, of the Gurdon Institute in Cambridge, England.

This award acknowledges the scientists’ work in cellular reprogramming. Shinya made the stunning discovery that changing the expression of a few carefully selected genes can convert adult cells, such as those of the skin, into induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS cells, capable of developing into any cell in the human body.

Shinya’s discovery has altered the fields of cell biology and stem cell research, opening promising new prospects for the future of both personalized and regenerative medicine.

For more information about Shinya and his Nobel-winning work, please visit the UCSF and Gladstone websites, and join us in congratulating Shinya on this well-deserved prize.


Sue and Sandy 

Susan Desmond-Hellmann, MD, MPH
Arthur and  Toni Rembe Rock Distinguished Professor

R. Sanders Williams, MD
Gladstone Institutes

September 10, 2012
Honors and Awards

Dear Colleagues:

We are delighted to announce that Ron Vale, PhD, has been honored with the 2012 Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research. This prestigious award is sometimes referred to as the “American Nobel”, since many recipients have subsequently won a Nobel Prize, including UCSF’s J. Michael Bishop, Harold Varmus, Stanley Prusiner and Elizabeth Blackburn.

Ron Vale, who joined UCSF in 1987, is a professor and vice chair in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology, and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. He shares the award with Michael Sheetz, PhD, of Columbia University and James Spudich, PhD, of Stanford University.

The important discoveries for which Dr. Vale and his colleagues are being recognized have illuminated critical aspects of cellular motion – how cells regulate transportation. Among their discoveries was the protein kinesin, a “machine” that moves “cargo” through the living cell. Understanding the mechanisms of motion is a vital step toward investigating new areas of drug development for diseases such as cardiomyopathies and neuropathies that are linked to problems with motor proteins.

Additional information will be available at shortly.

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Vale and his team on this exceptional honor!



Susan Desmond-Hellmann, MD, MPH
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August 14, 2012

Dear Colleagues:

I am pleased to announce that John B. Ford, a longtime leader in fundraising for top universities, has been named Vice Chancellor—University Development and Alumni Relations at UCSF. John’s appointment has been approved by The UC Regents. Reporting to me, he will begin his post as vice chancellor on September 17.

Bringing more than forty years of experience to the position, John has a career that includes 30 years at Stanford University, beginning at the medical center and eventually leading development for the School of Medicine and Stanford University Hospital. He also directed the capital campaign to build Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital. Additionally, John helped organize and successfully implement three campaigns with goals of more than $1 billion, including the first billion dollar campaign in support of undergraduate education in the United States.

With deep knowledge and extensive experience in philanthropy, John has a proven capacity to design and direct a comprehensive and dynamic development program for a world-renowned health sciences university and medical center.

John is arriving at a fiscally challenging and exciting time in the history of UCSF. Philanthropy plays an increasingly critical role in supporting our faculty and students and in strengthening the excellence of our world-class programs. I am confident that he has the ability to ensure that our mission is broadly understood and widely supported.

I am extremely grateful to Jennifer Arnett for her leadership this past year in helping the development and alumni relations team advance several important UCSF initiatives. John and I are pleased that she will partner with him...

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