SFGH Foundation Honors Chief of Surgery

The San Francisco General Hospital Foundation recently presented its 2007 Special Hero Award to William P. Schecter, MD, chief of surgery at San Francisco General Hospital Medical Center (SFGHMC). The award, which honors an individual who has made extraordinary contributions to SFGHMC or the foundation, was presented at the 2007 Heroes & Hearts Luncheon in San Francisco's Union Square on Feb. 14. The event itself drew more than 800 guests, including former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, George Schultz and Paul Pelosi, and raised more than $1 million for the foundation. Schecter's long history with SFGHMC began in 1972, when he completed a rotating internship at the hospital. In addition to his duties as SFGHMC's chief of surgery, a position he's held since 1992, Schecter is professor of clinical surgery and vice chair of surgery at UCSF. He serves or has served on the boards of many professional organizations, including the Pacific Coast Surgical Association, American College of Surgeons and American Board of Surgery, of which he currently is a director. His medical career has included stints in American Samoa, South Africa and Israel, where as recently as the summer of 2006, Schecter volunteered in a hospital in Safed, Israel, performing trauma surgery on war victims. A tireless advocate of accessible, quality health care, Schecter is a co-founder of Operation Access (OA) and was awarded the Pride in the Profession Award by the American Medical Association in 2006. Created in 1993, OA is a nonprofit organization that mobilizes a network of more than 300 medical volunteers, 17 hospitals and 60 referring community clinics to provide donated surgeries and procedures to the uninsured.
 Stella Hsu

San Francisco General Hospital Foundation board member Pam Baer and Noah Gray-Cabey, star of NBC's hit show Heroes, congratulate 2007 Special Hero Award recipient William Schecter.

Through OA and its network of providers, uninsured individuals are not only able to significantly improve their health, but improve their ability to work and their quality of life as well. According to Schecter, prior to the establishment of OA, "It was easier for doctors to go to Guatemala or Southeast Asia to provide free surgical services to the needy than in their own communities." Created in 1994, the San Francisco General Hospital Foundation's sole purpose is to fund projects that enhance patient care and comfort at the UCSF-affiliated SFGHMC. SFGHMC provides a full complement of inpatient, outpatient, emergency, skilled nursing, diagnostic, mental health and rehabilitation services for adults and children, regardless of their ability to pay. It is the largest acute inpatient and rehabilitation hospital for psychiatric patients in the city. In addition, it is the only acute care hospital in San Francisco that provides 24-hour psychiatric emergency services and operates the only level I trauma center for all residents in San Francisco and northern San Mateo County. More than 160 physicians and PhD scientists with faculty appointments at UCSF conduct research through programs based at SFGHMC, with an annual budget of more than $83 million. Photo/Thomas J. Gibbons Related Links: AMA Foundation Honors Chief Surgeon at SFGH
UCSF Today, Feb. 14, 2006 Operation Access website