Community Overview

SEP intern working in the lab with a mentor
High school student Selina Li, a Science & Health Education Partnership (SEP) intern, works with mentor Christine Windsor in the UCSF lab of Donna Ferriero, MD. Learn more about the SEP program's involvement in 90 percent of San Francisco public schools. Photo by Martin Klimek

Serving the community has been ingrained in the ethos of UC San Francisco since the early days of treating neighbors in need after the great 1906 earthquake in San Francisco.

For nearly 150 years, UCSF has been an integral and important member of the community as a public university, health care provider and leader in life sciences research. UCSF forges many fruitful partnerships in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond creating new models for partnering with leading innovators in academia, science, technology and industry in pursuit of its advancing health worldwide™ mission.

In fact, UCSF serves the community through numerous activities such as:

  • Providing high-quality patient care at local hospitals and neighborhood clinics;
  • Conducting life sciences research in cooperation with partners across the city and around the globe;
  • Reaching out to students at all educational levels to advance knowledge and promote higher education;
  • Partnering with institutions and organizations of all kinds to promote health, wellness and quality of life;
  • Sponsoring social, recreational, cultural and educational activities that are open to the public.

One of the longest and most successful partnerships is with the Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center, a public safety-net hospital where more than 2,000 UCSF physicians and staff work side-by-side with the dedicated employees of the San Francisco Department of Public Health.

Teams at Zuckerberg San Francisco General deliver around-the-clock trauma, psychiatric and emergency care, outpatient treatment and a wide range of other important medical services to everyone in San Francisco, regardless of their ability to pay. Zuckerberg San Francisco General is also an essential training ground for future health care professionals and researchers. 

Eric Goosby speaks to a patient at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital
UCSF physicians provide care to the city's most vulnerable populations at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital. Eric Goosby, MD, has worked at the hospital's Ward 86, the nation's first dedicated HIV clinic, since the early days of the AIDS epidemic. Photo by Steve Babuljak 

One of the educational programs with the broadest impact in the community is the Science & Health Education Partnership (SEP),  a collaboration with the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD). Initiated in 1987, SEP enables UCSF scientists and educators to work with the SFUSD to support quality science education. Each year, more than 300 UCSF participants contribute about 10,000 hours of service, and work with 200 SFUSD teachers representing more than 90 percent of the K-12 public schools in San Francisco.

The San Francisco Health Improvement Partnerships (SF HIP) is a collaboration between community, civic, academic, and other public and private stakeholders to jointly plan, implement, and evaluate interventions that make a measurable impact on health and reduce health disparities. SF HIP is currently developing programs focused on Hepatitis-B, children’s oral health, physical activity and nutrition, and alcohol abuse that target more than 20,000 San Franciscans. Support for the planning and implementation of SF HIP is provided by UCSF's Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI).

Importantly, UCSF welcomes input from the community and provides opportunities for ongoing dialogue and collaboration in two major ways:

  • The UCSF Center for Community Engagement coordinates the many existing partnerships between UCSF-affiliated individuals or groups and San Francisco-based community organizations, and supports new partnerships.  
  • The UCSF Community Advisory Group (CAG), originally formed in 1992 as a program of Community and Government Relations is a conduit for direct dialogue with UCSF representatives. The CAG is made up of representatives from a wide range of neighborhood, civic, ethnic, labor and business groups who provide UCSF with their views regarding campus planning, land use and other issues.