UCSF Officials Join Groundbreaking Ceremony for New San Francisco General Hospital

By Lisa Cisneros

Sue Currin, RN, MS, chief executive officer of San Francisco General Hospital, joins San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and Mitch Katz, MD, director of the San Francisco Department of Public Health at the groundbreaking ceremony for a new SFGH on Oct. 22.

UCSF leaders recently joined San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom for the groundbreaking of a new San Francisco General Hospital (SFGH) to replace the existing public hospital, where more than 1,500 UCSF faculty and staff treat patients and conduct life sciences research.

Designed by Fong & Chan Architects of San Francisco, the new, nine-story, 448,000-square-foot hospital with 284 acute-care beds will be built amid the medical center’s historic red brick buildings on the 24-acre campus along Potrero Avenue. The new hospital, scheduled to open by the 2015 deadline set by the state for hospitals to meet seismic standards, will constructed to allow it to move 30 inches in any direction.

The groundbreaking represents a major milestone in the long partnership between UCSF and SFGH, a public hospital owned by the City and County of San Francisco and operated by the Department of Public Health’s Community Health Network. The partnership with UCSF was first made official in an 1873 affiliation agreement.

Designed by Fong & Chan Architects of San Francisco, the nine-story, 284-bed San Francisco General Hospital is expected to open in 2015.

Sam Hawgood, MBBS, dean of the UCSF School of Medicine and vice chancellor for medical affairs, and Sue Carlisle, MD, associate dean, reflected on the significance of the new hospital and what it means for UCSF.

“The UCSF School of Medicine joins the citizens of San Francisco in celebrating this groundbreaking, which represents the next phase of our long and fruitful collaboration with the San Francisco Department of Public Health,” Hawgood said. “The historic relationship between the school and San Francisco General Hospital is central to our mission of public service. At SFGH, our doctors provide health care to the city’s most vulnerable patients, while the hospital provides a multicultural training ground for the school’s educational programs and a rich research environment.”

Carlisle points out that UCSF’s physicians, respiratory therapists, clinical laboratory workers, biomedical engineers and many researchers and administrative staff at SFGH work side by side with nurses and others to provide compassionate and culturally sensitive care. The hospital will continue to operate during the construction of the new hospital.

“The care of any patient requires cooperation and coordination cutting across many services and this is particularly true for our most vulnerable patients and our trauma patients,” Carlisle said.

Essential to Academic Mission

SFGH is home to a robust research community of UCSF faculty and trainees. The UCSF Strategic Plan, released in June 2007, specifically calls on the University to develop SFGH into a clinical and translational research hub.

“Many of the UCSF personnel here are involved in cutting-edge research that has an immediate impact on the care we deliver,” Carlisle noted. “Their subjects include trauma care, violence prevention, better communication with patients, and improved diagnostic techniques, just to name a few. Plus, we are a world-renowned center of HIV research and care.”

From left, Associate Vice Chancellor of University Relations at UCSF Barbara French, Sue Currin, chief executive officer of San Francisco General Hospital (SFGH), and Sue Carlisle, associate dean of the UCSF School of Medicine, attend the groundbreaking for a new SFGH on Oct. 22.

SFGH also plays a critical role in the training of the next generation of doctors, nurses, and allied health care providers, said Carlisle, adding that the new hospital will provide a better environment for teaching and learning.

SFGH operates the city’s only level I trauma center – an important destination and designation, for it is the only place equipped with specialized imaging and other instruments and staffed with experts trained and available around the clock to treat the most critically injured patients. The level I accreditation requires SFGH to meet specific standards of care, including availability of anesthesiologists, surgeons and nurses specializing in trauma care; other specialists such as cardiac, orthopedic, oral, hand, spine and neurological surgeons; and radiology and respiratory therapists. The designation also requires SFGH to conduct clinical research to advance the care of patients with life-threatening injuries.

“We will attract the best and most dedicated teachers and learners who will continue in the future to fulfill our mission to provide health care and trauma services to all with compassion and respect,” Carlisle said. “We are excited to be a partner in this wonderful endeavor of building a new San Francisco General Hospital.”

Construction of the hospital is projected to cost $887.4 million. These funds were approved by voters in November 2008 when they passed Proposition A by an 84 percent margin. The city will finance the project through general obligation bonds.

Photos by Ray Chavez

Related Links:

San Francisco Department of Public Health

San Francisco General Hospital, UCSF School of Medicine website