Optimistic About 2010, UCSF Chancellor Cites 2009 Successes

January 22, 2010

Sue Desmond-Hellmann

Recognizing the accomplishments of 2009, Chancellor Sue Desmond-Hellmann, MD, MPH, recently thanked the University community for all it has done collectively to “make UCSF the outstanding institution that it is today.”

“We had many successes to celebrate in 2009 and have much to look forward to in 2010,” she wrote in a Jan. 19 letter to the UCSF community. “I am proud of our efforts to be the best and take this opportunity to share some of our achievements.”

Desmond-Hellmann, who took the helm as chancellor in October 2009, recapped major achievements in several different categories, including honors and awards, progress made to improve health and serve patients, the expansion of research efforts and the changes in campus leadership.

“During my brief tenure as chancellor, it has been suggested to me that I assumed this position during a time of unprecedented challenges,” Desmond-Hellmann wrote. “While there undoubtedly will be many demands for all of us to face this year, this also is a time of tremendous opportunity. I find many reasons for optimism given the passion and the talent on our campus. I remain inspired about our collective ability to innovate and contribute to delivering on our mission of advancing health worldwide.™

“It is a privilege to serve as your chancellor, and I am confident that working together we will achieve amazing things in the coming year. Best wishes to all of you for a happy and healthy 2010.”

Desmond-Hellmann’s entire letter is posted below.


January 19, 2010

Dear Colleagues:

We had many successes to celebrate in 2009 and have much to look forward to in 2010.  I am proud of our efforts to be the best and take this opportunity to share some of our achievements.  I also would like to thank each one of you for all that you have done to make UCSF the outstanding institution that it is today.

Excellence

U.S. News & World Report’s 2009 rankings once again affirmed UCSF’s excellence in patient care and education:

       
  • UCSF Medical Center ranked among the nation’s top hospitals, retaining its place as seventh best hospital in the country and the best in Northern California.  We have been in the top ten for nine consecutive years.
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  • UCSF Children’s Hospital ranked among the best children’s hospitals in nine of the ten pediatric specialties that were rated.
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  • UCSF School of Medicine ranked fifth among all medical schools in the nation.  It also placed among the top ten in all of its clinical specialty programs that were ranked in the new survey.
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  • U.S. News surveys nursing and pharmacy school programs, but not on an annual basis, and does not conduct a survey of dental schools.  In the most recent surveys, the UCSF School of Nursing ranked second and our School of Pharmacy ranked first.  I echo former Chancellor Bishop’s assessment of the School of Dentistry—ours would be number one if it were ranked.
  •    

According to figures released by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 2009, UCSF was the second largest recipient of research support in 2008, up from third in 2007.  We ranked first among public institutions.  UCSF Schools of Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy all received the greatest total NIH dollars in their fields, as they have consistently in recent years.  Our School of Medicine ranked second in nation and first in California.  This marks the 29th year that the School of Pharmacy has ranked first and the 17th year that the School of Dentistry has held the top position.  This is the sixth year that the School of Nursing has ranked first.

According to National Science Foundation data, UCSF ranked second among all U.S. universities—and first among public universities—in total research and development expenditures.

UCSF and the UCSF-affiliated J. David Gladstone Institutes were named among the top ten “Best Places to Work” in U.S. academia, according to The Scientist magazine’s 2009 ratings.

Our exceptional faculty members continue to receive national and international acknowledgement for their impact on the health sciences.  With far too many accomplishments to list, here are a few:

       
  • Elizabeth Blackburn won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
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  • Shinya Yamanaka won the Lasker Award for stem cell research.  Dr. Yamanaka divides his time between the J. David Gladstone Institute, where he is a member of the UCSF faculty, and Kyoto University.
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  • Douglas Hanahan, John Sedat, Kevan Shokat, Michael Stryker and Jonathan Weissman were elected to the National Academy of Sciences.
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  • Deborah Grady, Lawrence Green, Michael Harrison, Sam Hawgood and Roger Nicoll were elected to the Institute of Medicine.
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  • Abul Abbas, Nancy Adler, David Agard, and Patrick O’Farrell were elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.
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  • Peter Walter was one of only five recipients of the prestigious Gairdner International Award for 2009, which recognizes researchers who have made significant achievements in medical sciences.
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  • Kathy Dracup received the Marguerite Rodgers Kinney Award for a Distinguished Career, one of the highest honors conferred by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, for her four decades of outstanding contributions to critical care.
  •    

Patients/Health

Progress continued at full speed during 2009 toward creating a world class, integrated clinical and research campus at Mission Bay to complement our existing facilities and patient care sites.

       
  • UCSF received a $125 million gift for our campaign to build a children’s, women’s specialty and cancer hospital complex at the Mission Bay campus.
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  • The San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved a resolution that allows for the operation of a helipad at the new medical center.
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  • The UCSF Orthopaedic Institute, our first clinical service at Mission Bay, opened in October.
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In addition to the exemplary U.S. News & World Report rankings that I have already mentioned, recognition of the quality of our patient-centric care continues to come in many forms.  Here are just a few examples:

       
  • UCSF Medical Center was named the winner of the 2009-10 “Consumer Choice Award” for hospitals in San Francisco by the National Research Corporation, a major health care performance research firm.  For the fifth time, local consumers rated us as the number one choice for quality health care among all hospitals.
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  • UCSF Medical Center received a perfect score in the 2009 Healthcare Equality Index, which rates health care facilities and practices related to the LGBT community.
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  • Decision Services, a program at UCSF’s Carol Franc Buck Breast Care Center at Mount Zion that helps patients navigate through difficult treatment decisions, was selected as a national model of care by the Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation.

Discovery

Major building projects completed in 2009, and those continuing into 2010, will provide the necessary space and resources to enable increased collaboration between our world-class researchers and clinicians.

       
  • UCSF officially opened the Helen Diller Family Cancer Research Building on the Mission Bay campus in June.
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  • Construction of the cardiovascular research building at Mission Bay is on schedule for completion in late 2010.
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  • The building behind the Health Sciences towers that will be the headquarters for The Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regeneration Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCSF is on schedule for completion in 2010.
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  • At the January Regents meeting, the campus will seek approval of the funding and financial plans for the Neurosciences Laboratory and Clinical Research Building.  It will be the sixth research building at Mission Bay and will accommodate wet lab space and a clinical research facility.

Education

UCSF’s reputation for academic excellence is linked to our ability to attract and retain quality students, trainees and faculty.  Rising student fees remain a serious concern.  To address this issue, we:

       
  • Increased student financial support by 20 percent from $96 million in 2007-08 to $115 million in 2008-09.  Grant/fellowship funds increased from $46 million to $53 million.
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  • Assisted professional students with the mid-year fee increase by providing additional financial support for the 1,408 students who currently receive financial aid.  The Schools of Medicine and Nursing paid for the entire $579 fee increase and the Schools of Dentistry and Pharmacy provided $200.  Those dentistry and pharmacy students who have difficulty paying the $379 balance have access to loans.
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  • Continued systemwide collaboration to institute a UC-wide student health insurance program to enhance benefits and stabilize rates.
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In addition, I am working with Vice Chancellor Carol Moss and Vice Provost Joe Castro on a fundraising initiative for student aid.

People

We have made significant progress on building the senior leadership team.  I look forward to completing the remaining open recruitments necessary to fill key leadership positions in 2010.

Appointments made to the leadership in 2009 included: Vice Chancellor of Development and Alumni Relations Carol Moss, Dean of the School of Medicine and Vice Chancellor for Medical Affairs Sam Hawgood and Senior Vice Chancellor of Finance and Administration John Plotts.  In addition, Vice Provost of Academic Affairs Sally Marshall agreed to serve as interim executive vice chancellor and provost (EVCP) while I search for a permanent successor to EVCP Washington.

The search committee for the EVCP, which I will chair, will begin reviewing applications and nominations this month.  The search committee for the dean of the School of Nursing, which Dean Sam Hawgood is leading, will select a search firm by the end of this month and then begin the recruitment process in February.  Links to the membership of the respective committees are available here.  Questions about either recruitment may be directed to Assistant Chancellor Deborah Brennan.

I also am pleased to report that Vice Provost of Student Academic Affairs Joe Castro has agreed to assume additional responsibilities effective this month.  He will lead a number of initiatives that support campus priorities related to education (including infrastructure, student financial support and inter-professional education), outreach and diversity, and community engagement.  For these initiatives, he will report directly to me.

Finally, the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on Academic Diversity has established an important new subcommittee, co-chaired by Vice Provost Joe Castro and Director of Academic Diversity Renee Navarro, to analyze the many recent reports that call for the establishment of various offices to enhance outreach and diversity.  The subcommittee will develop a single, consolidated proposal by this spring.

Business

The Chancellor’s Administrative and Operating Efficiencies Work Group, co-chaired by Interim Vice Chancellor Randy Lopez and School of Medicine Vice Dean Michael Hindery, has set a target of the end of March to present its recommendations on how to realize cost reductions in the range of $28 to $40 million beginning in fiscal year 2010-11.  The membership of the work group is available here.

I will seek input on the work group’s recommendations from the Executive Budget Committee and a small steering committee of external business advisors, led by David Ebersman, Facebook CFO and former Genentech CFO.  We are fortunate to be able to tap into such external talent.

Recent events

I feel compelled to comment on the recent events in Haiti.  The disaster there has many of us asking how we can help, so please be sure to see the information available here.  I am grateful for the efforts of the UCSF community to assist in the international response to this crisis.

Conclusion

During my brief tenure as Chancellor, it has been suggested to me that I assumed this position during a time of unprecedented challenges.  While there undoubtedly will be many demands for all of us to face this year, this also is a time of tremendous opportunity.  I find many reasons for optimism given the passion and the talent on our campus.  I remain inspired about our collective ability to innovate and contribute to delivering on our mission of advancing health worldwide.

It is a privilege to serve as your Chancellor, and I am confident that working together we will achieve amazing things in the coming year.  Best wishes to all of you for a happy and healthy 2010.

Sincerely,

Susan Desmond-Hellmann, M.D., M.P.H.
Chancellor
Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock Distinguished Professor