Campus Messages

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

August 28, 2020

Dear UCSF Community,

We write to you, once again, to share our grief over the shooting of a Black man under circumstances that are difficult to grasp. As our society confronts itself with the pandemic of racism, there are few words that adequately reflect our sorrow over this latest tragedy. The human toll of this incident is amplified by the fact that Jacob Blake was shot seven times in the back, in the presence of his three young children.

To our fellow UCSF community members, we want you to know we are grieving with you. More than ever, we must bear witness to these tragedies and remain strong allies to those who live under the yoke of structural racism. We must continue calling for systemic change. We cannot allow ourselves to become desensitized. Remaining silent is not an option.

As we gain a broader view of how endemic racism is in our society and in our own community, let us not become demoralized by events like what took place in Kenosha, Wisconsin. We must help one another recognize the scale of the challenge before us. And we must reinforce our resolve to change ourselves as we work to change our society.


Sam Hawgood, MBBS
Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock Distinguished Professor

J. Renee Navarro, PharmD, MD
Vice Chancellor – Office of Diversity and Outreach
Chief Diversity Officer
Professor of Clinical Anesthesiology and Perioperative Care

August 20, 2020

Dear School of Medicine Community,

As the Chancellor stated in his July 30th campus message, “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.”

I write today to share updates on initiatives the School of Medicine has undertaken to confront these issues and to reiterate our commitment to the expansive anti-racism work that lies ahead.

These are tumultuous times, as we face two pandemics. The first, COVID-19, has catalyzed biomedical, public health, and social scientists to race for a vaccine and a strategy that will protect our communities and our health care workforce. The second, more insidious pandemic, is the one that has endured since the beginning of American Medicine. It is one that does not attract as much attention, but has been highlighted because of COVID-19 – that of health and health care disparities.

Unlike COVID-19, there is no vaccine being developed to combat healthcare disparities. There is, however, prevention and treatment. For the last five years, a School of Medicine priority has been to make UCSF the most diverse, equitable, and inclusive academic medical system in the country. We have advanced this goal through Differences Matter, a multi-year, multi-faceted School of Medicine initiative, and have been successful in a number of areas, including...

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August 20, 2020
UCSF Health

Dear Colleagues,

Chancellor Sam Hawgood and his Cabinet recently announced an Anti-racism Initiative aimed at dismantling structural racism across UCSF. I want to reiterate my personal commitment, and that of UCSF Health, to this important work. I also want to share additional ways UCSF Health is addressing racism - in particular health care disparities - and how you can help.

It is well documented that health care disparities are rooted in factors such as race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status, among others.  The disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on people of color here and across the country is yet one more example. 

Health care disparities also are preventable. Identifying and eliminating disparities is an essential part of health care quality, critical to our mission and a reflection of our PRIDE values.  There have been solid efforts underway, some of which are listed below, but there is much more work to be done. We acknowledge, and are addressing, for example, the fact that race is a social and political construct that is problematic in how it is used in our medical algorithms, decision-making tools, and patient care communications. For all of these reasons, health equity is an integral theme across Vision 2025, our strategic plan.

UCSF Health Equity Council (HEC)

The HEC was established, stimulated in part by the School of Medicine’s Differences Matter initiative, with the understanding that to make meaningful changes throughout our organization, health equity must be an operational and strategic priority - central to all of our work. The Council focuses...

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August 14, 2020

Dear UCSF Community,

For many members of our community who have children, elderly parents, and other dependents, the pandemic has created a crisis of magnified proportions. Those with caregiving responsibilities at home are making sacrifices in their work and careers, as well as the care they provide to their children and dependents. These challenges are not only personal—they threaten our community’s welfare and our collective ability to serve our mission.

All parents and caregivers have felt this amplified impact of COVID-19, but its effects have been especially pronounced on women who disproportionately hold caregiving responsibilities.

To address this challenge, the UCSF Child and Dependent Care Task Force is implementing strategies as part of its ongoing work to develop solutions for working families. I encourage parents and other caregivers to fill out this brief survey, which the task force will use to refine potential solutions that best serve our community’s diverse needs. The survey will be open through August 25.

The task force, which comprises representatives and subject matter experts from across campus and UCSF Health, has implemented the following actions and is continuing its work on short- and long-term charges:

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August 6, 2020

Dear Members of the UCSF Community:

We are proud to announce that after more than 35 years of distinguished service to UCSF, Lindsey Criswell, MD, MPH, DSc, has been selected to serve as the next director of the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS). Dr. Criswell will remain with UCSF through early 2021, at which time she will assume her new role as NIAMS director and begin serving the nation as a member of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) leadership team.

Dr. Criswell has been a part of the UCSF community since 1982, and it’s been an honor to work alongside her over the years as she has distinguished herself as one of UCSF’s most admired physicians, scientists, educators, and administrators. Though we are certainly sad to see a close friend and long-time colleague depart, we are delighted that it is because Dr. Criswell is being recognized for her outstanding leadership and contributions to science and medicine.

As vice chancellor of research, Dr. Criswell has helped define the University’s research enterprise over the past three years, and the efforts she has set into motion will continue to shape our research agenda well into the future. Prior to her appointment as vice chancellor, she served as chief of the Division of Rheumatology and the Jean S. Engleman Distinguished Professor of Rheumatology in the Department of Medicine. Dr. Criswell is renowned for her insightful research into the causes of human autoimmune disorders, and she is much admired for her devotion to the many students, residents, fellows, and faculty she has mentored over the years. We can think of no one who is better prepared to serve as NIAMS director than Dr...

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