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Campus Messages

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

August 22, 2017
Administrative
UC System

Dear Colleagues,

The California State Auditor yesterday released its audit findings on the University of California (UC) contracting practices. The review was conducted at the request of the state legislature.

UC President Janet Napolitano has expressed appreciation for the auditor’s recommendations, which recognized the strengths of UC’s contracting practices while also identifying areas for improvement. UCSF supports President Napolitano’s position and is fully committed to working with her office towards continuous improvement and establishment of effective best practices.

The full report, which includes President Napolitano’s comments, can be read here https://www.auditor.ca.gov/pdfs/reports/2016-125.1.pdf.

The audit included a review of several UCSF service contracts, including a contract to outsource a portion of our IT services. The conclusion was that, overall, our contracts are substantially in compliance with UC policy and guidelines and followed UC’s collective bargaining agreements.

In regard to the IT contract, the audit report found that, per UC guidelines, we appropriately conducted a cost analysis “to justify the business and financial necessity” for the contracting decision, but that we did not provide a formal, written notification to the Office of the President (OP) justifying the outsourcing decision. The report noted that both UCSF and OP believed that an in-person presentation to OP by UCSF had met that particular guideline. Finally, the audit report found that all personnel policies had been satisfied.

In those limited instances where the audit found that a UCSF...

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August 20, 2017
Leadership

Dear Colleagues,

I am very pleased to announce the appointment of Catherine L. Gilliss, PhD, RN, FAAN, as our new dean for the UCSF School of Nursing and associate vice chancellor for nursing affairs, effective September 25, 2017.

Catherine has extensive leadership experience from serving as dean of the schools of nursing at both Duke University and Yale University. Her background is in psychiatric and primary care, and her research focus is examining the impact of behavior on the recognition and management of illness.

Catherine’s foremost priorities as dean of the UCSF School of Nursing are development of a sustainable business model and further integration of its people and programs within the overall UCSF Health enterprise. Her responsibilities include advancing the School’s commitment to combining research and scholarship with high quality clinical education at the graduate level, developing new ways to maintain the school’s growth, enhancing the school’s strong dedication to diversity, and being a key thought leader in the national and international nursing community.

This is a homecoming for Catherine after a twenty-year absence. She served as chair of the Department of Family Healthcare Nursing from 1993–1998.

I extend my deep gratitude to Dr. Sandra Weiss, RN, PhD, FAAN, professor and Robert C. and Delphine Wentland Eschbach Chair in Mental Health, co-director of the UCSF Depression Center, and professor in the school’s Department of Community Health Systems, who served as interim dean, once again, and who will return to her many research and professional commitments as a member of the faculty. Sandra guided the School of Nursing for the last year, keeping...

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August 16, 2017
People

Dear Members of the UCSF Community,

We are writing to pay tribute to two of our most highly regarded faculty members, Drs. Jeffrey Pearl and Art Ablin, who passed away in recent days.

An outstanding surgeon

Dr. Pearl is most remembered for his indefatigable dedication to UCSF Medical Center at Mount Zion, where he served as associate dean and associate medical director and was a tireless advocate for its patients and their care. Jeff held the Fishbon Endowed Chair in Ambulatory Surgery and was a committed teacher to students and trainees. He also was an enthusiastic participant at our annual UCSF Founders Day luncheon where he presented the UCSF at Mount Zion Milton and Helen Pearl Award for Outstanding Service. The recipients were selected based on their exceptional willingness to render additional service of distinction to others.

A world-renowned pediatric oncologist

Dr. Ablin was a role model and mentor, advancing the careers of countless students, trainees, and junior faculty. Not only will we remember his kindness, integrity, and tenacious spirit, we are eternally grateful for his generosity. With his visionary commitment to patients and their families, he founded Family House, which provides a place for families to stay during a child’s medical treatment. He also was the impetus for several philanthropic gifts that resulted in the Roma and Marvin Auerback Distinguished Professorship; Deborah and Arthur Ablin, MD, Endowed Chair in Pediatric Molecular Oncology; and Mildred V. Strouss Endowed Chair in Translational Research in Pediatric Oncology.

Both Drs. Pearl and Ablin were steadfast professionals with an unwavering...

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August 14, 2017
Advocacy
Emergency

Dear Members of the UCSF Community,

The incident in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend has once again focused our country on the reckless actions of those who seek to inflict hatred, intolerance, and violence in our communities and on our college campuses. UCSF absolutely and unequivocally condemns these actions and stands firmly in support of the values that are deeply ingrained within the University of California – diversity, respect, and inclusion.

UC President Janet Napolitano, speaking on behalf of the entire UC community yesterday, publicly condemned the hateful actions of the white supremacists, and voiced strong solidarity with our colleagues at the University of Virginia (UVA) who denounced the abhorrent display and “stood up to a crowd bent on violence.” We applaud President Napolitano’s leadership.

We also applaud the efforts of student leaders across this country – including the leadership of UCSF’s Graduate and Professional Student Association – in voicing support for the students of UVA and reaffirming their commitment to speak up in the face of injustice.

In the wake of the events in Virginia, School of Medicine Executive Vice Dean Catherine Lucey sent an email to the school’s faculty, students, and staff yesterday reminding them to stay strong. “We, on the side of equality, justice, liberty, and inclusion, are powerful as a community,” she wrote.

As a community, we do have power. We urge all of us to continue to come together and build on our collective strengths to ensure that everyone – no matter who they are – is...

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August 10, 2017
Administrative

Dear Members of the UCSF Community:

This past spring, the television show 60 Minutes ran a story critical of the federal H-1B visa program, which allows U.S. companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations. The story referenced UCSF’s decision to contract out a portion of its IT services. 60 Minutes has notified us that it intends to air again the original story this Sunday, August 13, as part of its normal rerun schedule during the summer months.

As background, the decision to outsource a portion of our IT services was the result of a comprehensive, two-year review of all of our IT services and requirements. This change will help reduce rapidly rising IT costs and give us the ability to continue investing in increasingly sophisticated IT services and capabilities critical to our education, research, and patient care missions. UCSF is projected to save $30 million over five years as a result of the outsourcing.

UCSF retains 80 percent of its IT work in-house and continues to grow IT jobs, especially in specialty areas supporting research and clinical care.

The change also involved the layoff or termination of the employment of 49 career UCSF employees. All impacted career employees were given six months’ advance notice and were eligible for severance packages. We provided job placement assistance and helped employees find other employment opportunities at UCSF, other UC campuses, and outside organizations. Of the 49 affected career employees, more than 30 have secured other employment or chose to retire.

Among the workers impacted by this decision, some questioned our decision to ask them to train employees from HCL America, the firm...

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August 7, 2017
Honors and Awards
UCSF Health

Dear Colleagues,

This morning, U.S. News & World Report released its annual rankings of best hospitals in the United States. I am very pleased to share the results: UCSF Medical Center is the fifth best hospital in the nation, the best hospital in California and the best hospital in the West.

Further, of the 16 specialties that U.S. News evaluates, UCSF ranks in the top 25 for 15 specialties and in the top ten for 13. The entire rankings can be viewed here.

While we acknowledge that all ranking systems are imperfect and can change from year to year, I truly believe that these scores accurately reflect the intense work that has taken place at UCSF over the past several years. That work includes an unrelenting focus on quality and safety, increasing access, investing in our people, lowering costs and improving our patients’ experience.

But more than anything else, these scores placing UCSF Medical Center among the top handful of hospitals in the United States reflect the quality of our faculty physicians. Their scientific innovation and creativity coupled with the exceptional care they provide to every patient, 24/7, drive our national and international standing.

Credit for the quality of UCSF’s faculty is shared by many, but it starts at the top, with Chancellor (and former School of Medicine Dean) Sam Hawgood and current Dean Talmadge King. They have jointly recruited and supported a stellar group of clinical and basic science department chairs, each of whom has recruited division chiefs and faculty whose impact advances these rankings directly or indirectly. Please take time to acknowledge our...

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June 26, 2017
Administrative
UC System

Dear Colleagues,

The following is effective immediately throughout UCSF:

California state employees as well as employees of the University of California are prohibited from using state funds to travel to eight states that have enacted laws limiting the rights of LGBT people.

Last week, California’s Attorney General added four states to the travel ban – Alabama, Kentucky, South Dakota, and Texas. State employees were already prohibited from traveling on official business to the states of Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina and Tennessee under a law adopted by the State Legislature last year. The law, AB 1887, bars state-funded travel to states that allow discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The use of state funds to travel to these eight states is prohibited unless certain required circumstances apply. The ban does not affect travel that is paid for or reimbursed using non-state funds.

For specifics on the travel ban, please review this list of Frequently Asked Questions prepared by the UC Office of the President. If you have additional questions, please contact the UCSF Controller’s Office at (415) 476-2126 and [email protected].

Sincerely,

Paul Jenny
Senior Vice Chancellor
Finance and Administration

June 20, 2017
Leadership

Dear Colleagues,

I am writing to inform you about several upcoming changes within the leadership of the University Development and Alumni Relations (UDAR) organization.

First, Vice Chancellor John Ford has informed me that he will retire at the end of 2017, as was his plan when he joined UCSF in September of 2012. John brought forty years of development experience to UCSF, including twenty years as vice president at Stanford. With that background, John has made significant contributions to our university, both as the leader of UDAR and as a member of my leadership team. I am grateful for John’s service to UCSF. He has helped my team and many members of the faculty understand how development can be integrated into the fabric of the university and support the overarching goals of the university while helping individual faculty members advance their programs. John has encouraged many of us to think boldly about the future and has helped shape the ideas that have inspired some very big gifts to UCSF.

Second, I am pleased to announce that Associate Vice Chancellor Jennifer Arnett will be John’s successor. Jennifer is well positioned to lead the UDAR organization, having served as second-in-command since November 2012.

Together John and Jennifer have built a strong team at UDAR while growing private gifts and grants dramatically. Cash receipts totaled $595 million this past fiscal year, placing UCSF among the top five universities in gifts received for the second consecutive year. UCSF was the only public university among the top ten institutions in fundraising results.

In partnership with Bill Oberndorf, chair of the UCSF Board of Overseers, they have helped reorganize...

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June 8, 2017
Advocacy

Dear Colleagues,

I am happy to report that NIH announced today that it will not implement the Grant Support Index (GSI) plan first made public at the beginning of May (see my June 1 email). This decision was in response to substantial feedback and concerns received from the community; UCSF was very active in that discussion, and many will be pleased with this outcome.

Also announced following yesterday’s Advisory Committee to the [NIH] Director meeting is a new effort, the Next Generation Researchers Initiative, which seeks to “increase the number of NIH-funded early-stage and mid-career investigators and to stabilize the career trajectory of scientists” (https://grants.nih.gov/ngri.htm). This plan will extend the payline for early-stage and mid-career scientists, at an estimated cost of $210 million in the first year, ramping up to $1.1 billion in year five, using funds obtained from “rearranging priorities in other categories.” Greater emphasis also will be placed on existing NIH programs that serve scientists in these career stages.

While NIH will not move forward with GSI, they intend to pursue “the development and testing of metrics that can be used to assess the impact of NIH grant support on scientific progress.” We will track those plans closely, with the expectation that stakeholders will have the opportunity to provide input in the process similar to what occurred with the GSI concept.

Sincerely,

Keith R. Yamamoto, PhD
Vice Chancellor for Science Policy and Strategy

May 31, 2017
Advocacy

Dear Colleagues,

Many in the UCSF community are aware that NIH has been seeking ways to assess the value of NIH grant support, and in particular wants to determine “whether it might be possible to fund more investigators with a fixed sum of money without hurting overall productivity.” [1, 2] On the premise that there are diminishing returns after achieving a given level of total support, NIH Director Francis Collins announced on May 2, 2017 a plan [3] to limit the number of grants held by any one investigator. In that scheme, a Grant Support Index (GSI) would assign point values to various grant mechanisms (e.g., an R01 grant is valued at 7 points), and any applicant who would exceed a GSI of 21 would be expected to adjust his/her grant portfolio if the new application were to be funded. Based on an initial analysis carried out by our Office of Sponsored Research, at least 42 UCSF investigators currently exceed 21 points, and at least an additional 18 are at 21 points precisely.

Not surprisingly, there has been much concern within the research community about the GSI policy as initially announced. I have been in active discussion with NIH leadership about these issues, as have many others across the nation. Direct communications to me, as well as a recent press article [4], suggest that substantial changes are being made. Unofficially, I have been told that GSI point assignments will be limited to R-mechanism grants, and that T, P and U mechanisms will no longer be included. I also have been assured informally that the 21-point line will not serve as a formulaic cap, but rather will flag an application and applicant for consideration of whether exceeding 21 points is merited by...

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