UCSF in the Community

Throughout our history, UCSF has played an important role in San Francisco’s welfare. Since 1873, our doctors have provided care at the public hospital, now called Zuckerberg San Francisco General. When the 1906 earthquake destroyed local medical facilities, we provided treatment to those seeking refuge in Golden Gate Park. And in the 1980’s, when the AIDS crisis gripped the city, UCSF opened the nation’s first dedicated HIV clinic and treated those who were suffering with compassion. Our mission of advancing health worldwide starts here, in the city we call home.

Today, UCSF’s people-focused patient care, boundary-pushing research, and top-ranked schools deliver breakthroughs that provide healing both here and around the world. Our excellence in health science puts us in a unique position to contribute to the well-being of the community where we live and work, and our passion to serve society drives many locally focused programs and partnerships.

Caring for All

UCSF embraces diversity and the knowledge that different backgrounds, genetics and environments means each of us has unique health concerns. Advancing health means solving health challenges in ways that benefit everyone.

Frank Molina standing on the street
School of Nursing student Frank Molina, a first-generation college graduate and San Francisco native from the Excelsior District, is dedicated to serving the homeless and under-represented populations of the city. He regularly volunteers at a student-run Homeless Clinic at the St. Vincent de Paul shelter. Photo by Steve Babuljak

The vast variety of needs requires multiple approaches to our outreach. One of the longest and most successful partnerships is with the 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. Our expertise benefits the community beyond the walls of our facilities, whether it’s partnering to provide care and research with the San Francisco VA Medical Center, volunteering at the city’s largest homeless shelter, providing free dental clinics, or taking psychiatric care to the streets.

Our efforts can be large scale, like providing hundreds of millions' worth of subsidized and charity care locally, or targeted, like helping to install hydration stations to help curb obesity. UCSF’s work in the community combines leading-edge skills with a passion to help.

Providing Opportunity

A robust community requires more than physical health to flourish. As the second-largest employer in San Francisco, UCSF is also an economic engine for the region.

UCSF students teaching a classroom of young children
As part of UCSF's Science & Health Education Partnership (SEP), UCSF graduate students teach first-graders at Diane Feinstein Elementary School in San Francisco. Photo by Noah Berger

As an institute of learning, we also want to inspire and open doors in science education for our neighbors. Our Science and Health Education Partnership (SEP) provides resources and volunteers that reach more than 90 percent of K-12 public schools in San Francisco. The group also organizes the Bay Area Science Festival, where more than 50,000 future scientists get hands-on science experiences.

Building Relationships

UCSF actively engages with key stakeholders from across the city. The UCSF Community Advisory Group (CAG) connects neighborhood, civic, ethnic, labor and business groups to UCSF for campus planning, land use and other topics. The UCSF Center for Community Engagement manages partnerships with community-based groups and organizations.

Our Community and Government Relations team facilitates open and ongoing dialogue with the community and elected officials to support our commitment to our neighbors, the city and the Bay Area.

See our latest community activities