UCSF Chancellor Delivers First Anniversary Message

Sue Desmond-Hellmann

Delivering her one-year anniversary message to the UCSF community, Chancellor Sue Desmond-Hellmann, MD, MPH, recaps some key accomplishments over the past 12 months and provides an update on the program called Operational Excellence.

Desmond-Hellmann, who also holds an appointment as Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock Distinguished Professor at UCSF, took the helm of the University on Aug. 3, 2009 becoming UCSF’s first woman chancellor.

“The last 12 months have been a time of opportunity, learning and advancement for UCSF,” Desmond-Hellmann said. “And while we have also had challenges, UCSF is greeting the upcoming academic year from a position of strength – the collective strength that is derived from the passion and unwavering commitment of our faculty, students and staff, as well as our extended family of donors, alumni, patients and supporters.”

One of the best pieces of news, she said in the video, is that employee furloughs will end as of August 31.  Watch the video.

“The one-year furlough plan was adopted by the UC Regents to cope with state budget cuts. While the furlough plan saved money in the short term, I strongly believe that furloughs deter UCSF from attracting and retaining the best employees,” Desmond-Hellmann said.

Desmond-Hellmann also recapped some highlights of her first year as chancellor. Among them:

  • Next month, when David Julius – professor and chair of the UCSF Department of Physiology – receives the prestigious Shaw Prize, UCSF will become the only institution to claim faculty who have earned the Nobel, Lasker and Shaw prizes within a single academic year. Julius, PhD, who also won the Passano prize and Asturias award this year, has made seminal discoveries of molecular mechanisms by which the skin senses painful stimuli and temperature and produces pain hypersensitivity.

  • Elizabeth Blackburn, PhD, Morris Herztein Professor of Biology and Physiology in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, last fall was named to receive the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, becoming the fourth UCSF scientist to win this honor. Blackburn helped to discover an enzyme called telomerase that plays a key role in normal cell function, as well as in cell aging and most cancers.

  • Shinya Yamanaka, MD, PhD, a UCSF professor of anatomy and senior investigator at the UCSF-affiliated Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease and Kyoto University, was recognized for a revolutionary achievement in the field of stem cell science with a prestigious Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award.

  • UCSF once again received more research funding from the National Institutes of Health than any other public institution.

  • An economic impact report revealed that UCSF benefits the entire San Francisco Bay Area, generating more than 39,000 jobs and producing an estimated $6.2 billion economic impact when including operations, construction, salaries, and employee spending.

  • Marc and Lynne Benioff contributed $100 million to our children’s hospital – now named the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital – moving us even closer to accomplishing our goal of raising $600 million for our new children’s, women’s and cancer hospitals at Mission Bay. UC Regents will vote on the final financing plan for this project next month.

  • UCSF Medical Center was named one of the 10 best hospitals in the country for the 10th consecutive year, and the children’s hospital was cited as one of the top-ranked facilities in the state.

The chancellor also commended all those involved with the Operational Excellence program. Faced with ongoing cuts in our state funding, the chancellor formed a committee to rethink how UCSF does business and to identify ways to realize significant savings.

“The committee embraced its task and, with the help of nearly 400 individuals across campus – including representation from all four schools – presented campus leadership with a thoughtful approach to improving our operational and administrative excellence while reducing operational expenses,” she said.

The committee’s recommendations were central to UCSF’s fiscal year 2010-2011 budgeting process, allowing UCSF to achieve some $18 million in savings without major hits to the schools or UCSF’s key priorities – patient care and health, discovery and education.

Photo by Elisabeth Fall/fallfoto.com

Related Links:


Chancellor’s website

UCSF Budget website