Blog

Campus Messages

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

September 9, 2021
Advocacy
Community
Partnerships
People

Dear UCSF Community,

As the humanitarian crisis worsens in Afghanistan, UCSF is working to bring Afghan scholars to our campus to support their education in the health sciences. I am pleased to share with you that we have identified two scholars and are now coordinating with other groups to secure their safe passage out of Afghanistan. 

Two Afghan Scholars Admitted to UCSF Programs

The first scholar is a physician with a master’s degree in public health who has earned one of the competitive slots in the PhD program in Global Health Sciences. Their research interests involve strengthening health systems and improving health for women and minority populations. The second scholar has been admitted to the master’s degree program in Global Health Sciences. This scholar graduated from a medical university in Afghanistan and has a research focus on reproductive health for women in Afghanistan.

We are hopeful that we will be successful in helping these scholars safely leave Afghanistan and arrive at UCSF. As we launch this program, we are coordinating with the national Scholars at Risk Network, including the UC-wide chapter, to identify other Afghan scholars whose skills and academic interests may be served by UCSF’s unique focus on the health sciences.

How to Support the Afghan Scholars Program

I am proud of the efforts of so many at UCSF working to bring over Afghan scholars at risk. The UCSF Institute for Global Health Sciences and the UCSF Health and Human Rights Initiative have made preparations to accommodate Afghan scholars at UCSF, train them, and support their time with us. UCSF also is working with local and legal organizations to provide additional...

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June 10, 2021
Partnerships
Philanthropy

Dear UCSF Community,

I want to share some exciting news about a new initiative we are launching that will bring together UCSF’s significant scientific and clinical expertise to help transform therapies for patients with the most challenging diagnoses.

The UCSF Living Therapeutics Initiative (LTI) will serve as a catalyst for developing innovative new therapies based on living cells. This is akin to selecting or programming living cells to perform specific tasks that will help patients overcome debilitating or deadly diseases and conditions. The initiative aims to advance both the science and the treatments available to our patients and others around the world. I have asked Alan Ashworth, PhD, FRS, president of the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, to direct this effort.

UCSF is a world leader in the basic science behind cellular therapies and we have already begun to use them in our clinical practices, including exciting work in treatments for some cancers and sickle cell disease. This initiative will expand upon these and other therapies to treat a wide range of diseases and conditions, such as brain tumors, Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease, immune disorders ranging from asthma to multiple sclerosis, and diabetes, offering new hope for patients.

Over the past few years, we have raised philanthropic gifts and made institutional investments totaling more than $250 million to support these efforts across the University. And just last month, we...

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January 21, 2021
Community
Partnerships
UCSF Health

Dear UCSF Community,

We are pleased to announce that this afternoon the UC Board of Regents unanimously approved key provisions that clear the way for us to modernize our historic Parnassus Heights campus.

The Regents vote today caps a years-long effort by hundreds of stakeholders both inside and outside UCSF who provided their input and support to develop the Comprehensive Parnassus Heights Plan. This milestone marks the beginning of a bold 30-year vision to transform our oldest and largest campus into a welcoming destination for our patients and employees, and improve the daily experience of living in the neighborhood.

The Parnassus Heights plan expands the possibilities for our interconnected research, educational, and clinical enterprise. New facilities designed to 21st century standards will allow us to continue attracting the best and brightest learners, researchers, physician-scientists, and clinicians. In so doing, we will ensure UCSF’s ability to drive the innovations that have improved lives for decades and have established our place among the world’s leading academic medical centers.

Among the first projects to start will be the cornerstone of the plan, a new state-of-the-art hospital at UCSF Helen Diller Medical Center that will help us meet the current and growing demand for complex health care. Additional projects that will begin in the first ten years include the new Research and Academic Building, new affordable housing at Aldea for employees and trainees, and a renewed arrival experience on Irving Street. We invite you to...

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January 21, 2021
Community
Partnerships
UCSF Health

Dear UCSF Community,

I am writing to provide you with an update on our COVID-19 vaccine rollout and address some questions on the unpredictability of vaccine availability.

Vaccine Rollout Status Update

Our vaccinations have continued at a rapid pace. In the past month, we have provided more than 23,600 vaccines, and more than 80 percent of our frontline employees and learners have scheduled or received their inoculations. As we continue to schedule vaccinations for the remainder of our patient-facing workforce, we have begun inviting additional employees and our patients, by age groups, in alignment with state guidance.

Vaccine Doses Remain in Short Supply

Federal guidance states that those aged 65 and above are eligible to receive the vaccine, but unpredictable vaccine availability nationwide has hampered the distribution of vaccine doses to such a large group.

Like other health care institutions, UCSF is receiving limited vaccine shipments. The timeline below is based on current assumptions about vaccine availability and may shift as supplies change.

Vaccinating now:

  • Health care workers at highest risk of exposure through their work
  • Patients and employees aged 75 and older

Within the next few weeks:

  • Patients and employees aged 65 and over
  • Employees and learners whose work has required them to be on site at least once a week over the past three months

Expected later next month:

  • Patients, employees and learners in lower age tiers.

We expect to roll out a new scheduling platform for employees and patients in the coming weeks, to make this process...

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January 4, 2021
Advocacy
Community
Partnerships
UCSF Health

Dear UCSF Community,

With the start of the new year, we are pleased to share with you that UCSF has reached an agreement in principle on a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the City and County of San Francisco on our plans to modernize our Parnassus Heights campus.

Over the past several months, UCSF worked closely with San Francisco on the MOU to align the community investment opportunities that UCSF and the City will collaborate on as part of the Comprehensive Parnassus Height Plan (CPHP).

The MOU includes investments in housing, transportation, and open space, which were among the priority investment areas we identified in dozens of meetings with our neighbors and the UCSF community during our extensive community engagement process over the past two years. It also includes our commitment to expand our long-standing partnerships with the City on community workforce development, education and equity opportunities, and behavioral health services, all in line with our Anchor Institution work.

Read this UCSF.edu story to learn more about the MOU, which UCSF and the City and County of San Francisco announced in a joint statement this morning.

City Commissioners and elected officials will be hearing updates on the MOU in the next week. We look forward to finalizing the MOU as we seek approval from the Regents of the University of California on...

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November 9, 2020
Advocacy
Partnerships

Dear UCSF Community,

This morning, President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris announced the establishment of the Biden-Harris Transition COVID-19 Advisory Board, the first step in their commitment to develop a national strategy aimed at bringing the COVID-19 pandemic under control. UCSF applauds the Biden-Harris team’s quick action to assemble a group of top public health advisors on this national and global public health crisis as Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris prepare to assume office on Inauguration Day, January 20, 2021.

The Advisory Board will be co-chaired by Vivek Murthy, MD, the surgeon general under former President Barack Obama; Marcella Nunez-Smith, MD, associate professor of internal medicine, public health, and management at Yale School of Medicine; and UCSF’s David Kessler, MD, JD, professor of pediatrics and of epidemiology and biostatistics, former dean of the School of Medicine and vice chancellor, and former commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Dr. Kessler led the FDA under the administrations of Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

Two other members of the UCSF faculty have also been named to the 13-person Advisory Board: Eric Goosby, MD and Robert M. Rodriguez, MD.

Dr. Goosby, professor of medicine, served as the interim Director of the White House’s Office of National AIDS Policy in the Clinton Administration and implemented the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in the Obama administration, among other senior leadership roles.

Dr. Rodriguez, professor of emergency medicine, works in the Emergency Department of Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center and in...

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July 1, 2020
Community
Partnerships

Dear UCSF Community,

For the first time in 30 years, the bi-annual International AIDS Conference, known this year as AIDS 2020, will be held, albeit virtually, in San Francisco and Oakland, July 6-10, 2020.

Dr. Monica Gandhi, medical director of the pioneering Ward 86 at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center (ZSFG), will co-chair the conference with Cynthia Carey-Grant, an advocate for women, communities of color, and justice in Oakland.

AIDS 2020 will feature presentations, including plenary sessions and press conferences, by or including UCSF infectious disease experts, as well as national leaders, including Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci and White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Ambassador Deborah Birx. Information about tuning into AIDS 2020: Virtual is available online.

The final two days of the conference will focus on the COVID-19 pandemic – an area in which many of our HIV researchers are now working – including its impact on HIV/AIDS research and patient care. Dr. Diane Havlir, chief of the UCSF Division of HIV, Infectious Diseases and Global Medicine at ZSFG, will talk about the dramatic progress against the HIV epidemic and what this means in the age of COVID-19.

For nearly 40 years, UCSF’s scientists and health care providers have worked with the community and public health partners to fight the effects of HIV/AIDS and to discover a cure. This conference serves as a reminder of the seminal role they have played, both at home and abroad –...

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January 28, 2020
Partnerships
UC System
UCSF Health

Dear Colleagues,

The UC Office of the President posted today a report by the chair of the systemwide Working Group on Comprehensive Access (WGCA), which has worked since August 2019 to develop recommendations on the critically important issue of UC’s affiliations with faith-based health systems.

The WGCA chair’s report was presented to UC President Janet Napolitano earlier this month and is now available for public viewing at ucal.us/wgca, along with comment letters from some of the individuals who served on the WGCA. The report will be presented to the UC Regents at their meeting in May.

We encourage you to read the report and share your perspectives via an online tool, which is available at the url above. The public comment period will run through February 21, 2020.

Sincerely,

Sam Hawgood, MBBS
Chancellor
Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock Distinguished Professor

Mark R. Laret
President and CEO
UCSF Health

November 20, 2019
Partnerships
UC System
UCSF Health

Dear UCSF Colleagues:

I am writing to share with you a development in an important discussion taking place at the six UC campuses with medical centers and the Office of the President about UC’s affiliations with other health care systems.

After we shared with you last week the progress the University is making on amending our agreements with other health systems, UCSF received a letter from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) asking UC to terminate its contracts with all Catholic health care organizations, and not enter into any new ones. The ACLU’s request cited the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, which prohibit certain types of care—a set of policies that is at odds with UC values.

The unintended consequences of the ACLU’s request

The ACLU has made numerous contributions that have made our communities stronger, for which we should all be very thankful. However, the request to terminate all UC relationships with any Catholic health care organization may have consequences for access the ACLU does not intend. It would also weaken some of the University of California’s educational programs that rely on access to training rotations in a variety of health care settings and geographies across the state.

In straightforward terms, UC’s affiliations with other health systems enable us to train more students, advance our research mission, and serve the health care needs of more patients than we can alone.

Terminating all of our existing affiliations with Dignity Health and other Catholic health...

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November 15, 2019
Community
Partnerships
UC System
UCSF Health

Dear Members of the UCSF Community:

UCSF’s mission to advance health includes a responsibility to address disparities in care, with special attention to underserved populations. Increasing access to comprehensive health care – for groups such as the economically disadvantaged, the LGBTQI community, and women – is and will remain a fundamental part of the work we do.

As you know, across UC Health and at UCSF Health, access to beds and clinic appointments are limited by capacity and geography. Because of this, UC Health entities have been forging relationships with other health systems in our geographies or in more remote locations.

Affiliations with other health systems help UC broaden access to care and leverage our high-quality research-backed care by:

  • Expanding UC health care’s geographic reach through health systems that have facilities where we don’t have a presence, including in many underserved communities
  • Providing UC patients with access to specialized services not available at our own facilities, and in turn providing patients at other systems access to UC services they could not otherwise receive—including women’s reproductive health services, LGBTQI-related care, and end-of-life care
  • Providing access to inpatient services when UC hospitals are full
  • Sharing UC’s expertise to help other organizations improve care and patient outcomes
  • Maintaining training opportunities for the next generation of UC health care professionals

Our goal is to broaden access to UC’s high-quality care services and broaden the influence of UC care standards in other health systems while guiding our work with the values of our...

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