Dan Bernal | Vice Chancellor, Community and Government Relations

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Dan Bernal is Vice Chancellor for Community and Government Relations at UCSF.


Dan Bernal

Dan Bernal was appointed UCSF’s Vice Chancellor for Community and Government Relations in 2023. In this role, he builds relationships between UCSF and local, state, and federal entities on issues affecting higher education, research, and health care. Bernal and his team engage and collaborate with the diverse communities that UCSF serves with the goal of achieving UCSF’s mission to advance health worldwide.

Prior to joining UCSF, Bernal served as chief of staff in Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco district office, working to help constituents access federal benefits and ensure federal funding and resources for San Francisco. He has been a resource to the California Democratic Congressional Delegation in advancing national legislative priorities such as the Affordable Care Act, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, DREAM Act, CHIPS and Science Act, and the CARES Act and American Rescue Plan COVID relief packages.

From 2017 to 2023, Bernal served as President of the San Francisco Health Commission which oversaw one of the nation’s most effective and inclusive responses to COVID-19. His work on the Commission included advancing the Getting to Zero initiative to reduce HIV deaths, infections, and stigma, and addressing persistent health disparities among vulnerable populations in San Francisco.

Over the last three decades, Bernal has dedicated his career to public service. Before joining Pelosi’s staff in 2002, he served at the White House under President Bill Clinton and with U.S. Secretary of Education Richard Riley in Washington, D.C.

As a person living openly with HIV for more than 30 years, Bernal has a long history of advocacy and activism in the fight against HIV/AIDS. He served as Board President of AIDS Emergency Fund and on the Boards of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the National AIDS Memorial and has been a top fundraiser for AIDS/LifeCycle – an annual 7-day, 545-mile bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles. In 2019, he was instrumental in returning the AIDS Memorial Quilt to its permanent home in the Bay Area where it was originally conceived in 1985.

Bernal currently serves as the HIV/AIDS patient advocate on the Independent Citizen’s Oversight Committee (ICOC) of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), an organization created by California voters to accelerate stem cell and gene therapy research to address unmet medical needs. His work on the ICOC focuses on enhancing the accessibility and affordability of treatments and cures arising from CIRM-funded research.

Bernal holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Northeastern University in Boston, where he was student body president, and an executive certificate in public leadership from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.