UCSF has received one of the largest gifts in its 145-year history – $125 million – as the lead funding for a state-of-the-art medical center at the Mission Bay campus.
The transformative donation injects a shot of adrenaline into an ambitious project that will not only improve patient care and enhance the environment in which UCSF students, faculty and staff work and learn, but also will set a new global standard among academic medical centers.
“The new medical center at Mission Bay is critical to the future of UCSF as a world-class health sciences institution, as well as to the health care professionals and scientists we train and the patients we serve,” said UCSF Chancellor J. Michael Bishop, MD.
The gift comes from longtime UCSF supporter Charles F. Feeney through the foundation he created, The Atlantic Philanthropies. It is the largest grant Feeney or the foundation has ever given, and brings the foundation’s total commitment to the Mission Bay campus to $270 million.
With its innovative design and world-class staff, the UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay will help the University realize its vision of a fully integrated health sciences campus where clinicians, scientists and industry professionals interact and collaborate on a daily basis.
This environment is aimed at promoting the successful and swift translation of scientific discoveries into medical therapies – a top priority of UCSF’s first-ever strategic plan, unveiled in June 2007.
Although Mission Bay is already home to several thriving UCSF research institutions – such as the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (QB3) and the UCSF-affiliated J. David Gladstone Institutes – and is located in close proximity to major players in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, the addition of the medical center is essential to achieving that goal, University officials say.
“To be a modern academic health center, Mission Bay needs to be a place where life sciences companies are adjacent not just to academic researchers, but to a hospital,” said Regis Kelly, PhD, director of QB3. “Mission Bay lacks a hospital, and The Atlantic Philanthropies recognized that the vision was still incomplete.”
The 289-bed medical center at Mission Bay, slated for completion in 2014, will consist of specialty hospitals for children, women and cancer patients.
The Atlantic Philanthropies gift brings the total capital raised so far to just over $205 million – roughly 12 percent of the project’s estimated $1.68 billion cost. By requiring a 100 percent match, the gift aims to encourage support from other philanthropists.
“We’re hopeful this is a gift that inspires others to give as well,” said Mark Laret, chief executive officer of UCSF Medical Center. “Our current [hospital facilities] have saved and improved the lives of thousands of people, and Chuck’s gift is really a statement that even in hard times, it’s worth giving to something truly important.”
What Feeney believes – and what Laret hopes other potential donors will realize – is that investing in the University means contributing to a force for positive change on a global scale, he said.
“Chuck believes in investing in big things – big things that advance the health of people around the world,” Laret said. “With the clinical facilities and the research [at Mission Bay], we’ll do things that benefit mankind. That’s nothing new for UCSF.”
The eventual transfer of faculty, staff and services to the new medical center will allow for expansion and modernization throughout UCSF’s other campuses and affiliated sites, Laret said. That, in turn, will benefit all four of the UCSF health sciences schools – dentistry, medicine, nursing and pharmacy – for which those sites serve as a training ground.
UCSF Children’s Hospital often operates at full capacity, but has no room to grow at its current location at the medical center at Parnassus Heights, Laret said. What’s more, he said, the current facility was “never designed to meet the needs of today’s medicine,” including the now-common practice of parents’ staying overnight with their children in the hospital.
In addition, shifting some of UCSF’s cancer research and patient care to Mission Bay will allow for seismic retrofitting and other upgrades at the Mount Zion campus, where the University’s cancer research program is currently housed, Laret said. The new cancer hospital at Mission Bay will be strategically located in close proximity to the Helen Diller Family Cancer Research Building, scheduled to open in mid-2009.
A less quantifiable but equally important byproduct of the new medical center and the changes it will set in motion at UCSF is the inspiration it will offer other academic, research and health care institutions, Kelly said.
“We have a vision of where we want to go with the University – and it’s different; it’s novel,” he said. “And if this vision succeeds, it’s something that should be replicated around the world.”
UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay
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UCSF to Build World-Class Medical Center at Mission Bay
UCSF Today, July 11, 2007
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UCSF Today, June 28, 2007
California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (QB3)
UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center