UCSF Chancellor Recaps Highlights of 2010

UCSF Chancellor Sue Desmond-Hellmann, MD, MPH, cited highlights and accomplishments in advancing the University’s top three priorities – patient care, discovery and education – in a year-end message to the campus community.

The video is posted on YouTube.


Desmond-Hellmann pointed out progress made across the University and thanked members of the campus community for jobs well done.

“I want the entire campus community to know that I deeply appreciate your hard work and dedication, and that I am extremely grateful for all that you do,” she said.

In particular, the chancellor thanked:

  • The medical center, which operates around the clock providing high-quality patient care even during the holidays;
  • UCSF Police Department for its ongoing commitment and professionalism and for balancing people’s right to freedom of speech against its duty of ensuring order and safety for all; and
  • The Information Technology Services unit under the direction of Vice Chancellor Elazar Harel for improving cell phone reception at the Parnassus campus and simplifying of the campus’ password policy. 

Photo by Elisabeth fall/fallfoto.com

Transcript of speech:

It’s become a tradition here at UCSF to pause and reflect on our accomplishments and I am really happy to be with all of you today to do that. 

One of the best parts of being the chancellor is the capability to seeing many parts of UCSF.  And what I see, no matter where I go on our campus, is that the people of UCSF make us so special.

So I want to say to all of you today, to the entire campus community, how much I appreciate all your hard work and dedication. I am extremely grateful for everything all of you do. 

Now it’s impossible for me to personally thank 22,000 people on campus or acknowledge your contributions, but if you will allow me, I’d like to point out some contributions that you might not have stopped to consider.

And let me start by acknowledging the folks who work in our medical center here at UCSF. Taking care of patients is a 24/7 operation and so our colleagues in the medical center often have to leave their friends and family to care for those patients over the holidays.  So to those who serve our patients, thank you.

For our UCSF police, they’ve got a tough job. I see every time I attend the Regents’ meetings over at Mission Bay that combination of commitment and professionalism, balancing freedom of speech with a need to keep order and safety.  And so to all of the members of the UCSF police, thank you.

Now I want to recognize a group that you might not think about unless you have trouble. But this is a positive recognition. Our Information Technology unit, newly under the leadership of [Vice Chancellor] Elazar Harel, have done some really great things on our campus recently. So for all of us whose cell phones now connect or who have a single password, I want to point out that it’s the small things that sometimes make our lives much easier and enable the big things to happen at UCSF. So to everyone in our IT group, thank you.

Operational Excellence is something on our campus that is a vision and a concept that I think is going to add great value here at UCSF. Some 150 people in our campus community were engaged over the summer and fall. Now John Plotts, [Senior Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration], will update the entire campus on the details on Operational Excellence and all the great progress we’ve made come next January, but I want to say to the people who have really been engaged in all the work it takes to make Operational Excellence real, thank you.

We know that Operational Excellence in actually making a difference. In 2011 alone, our target is $21 million in savings and we have already achieved over $15 million in savings to date. What’s more important is that by 2013, Operational Excellence will allow us to save about $50 million a year. And this program is going to let us here at UCSF take that money and make strategic investments in our future. So I am grateful not only to those 150 people who are toiling over the details of Operational Excellence, but for all of you who are changing the way you work to make this possible, thank you.

As I look back on 2010, I am impressed by UCSF’s accomplishments in advancing our top three priorities – patients and health, discovery and education.  And I want to share with you some of the highlights of this past year.

  • In patient care, it’s been an exciting time for UCSF Medical Center.
    • Starting with a $100 million gift that Marc and Lynne Benioff gave to UCSF for our UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital. To Marc and Lynne, thank you.
    • Based on this kind of generosity and an amazing fundraising effort, the UC Regents unanimously approved moving forward with our medical center project at Mission Bay. 
    • And in October, we held a ceremonial groundbreaking. The highlight for me was watching 11-year-old Paddy O’Brien recite his poem called “Needles,” talking about the amazing experience that he had going through cancer therapy here at UCSF. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

Now turning to discovery, our faculty continue to receive worldwide recognition and prestigious honors. There are a lot of different honors that I could share with you and I selected two that I really think are recent and outstanding:

Our own Nobel laureate Stanley Prusiner received the National Medal of Science from President Obama. This is the nation’s highest honor for science and technology.

And David Julius received the Shaw Prize, sometimes called the Asian Nobel. Now the Shaw Prize in Life Sciences and Medicine was awarded to him for his seminal discoveries on pain.

Now turning to education, I want to highlight accomplishments in each of our schools.

  • But, first, I want to share my excitement about how much we have advanced interprofessional education in 2010. Among many highlights, we’ve now established at UCSF a Center of Excellence in Interprofessional Education that will help us move this even further forward.
  • The School of Nursing was singled out for excellence by the National Research Council for our research doctoral program. It is one of the best programs in the nation.
  • Our School of Dentistry celebrated a real milestone in October with the opening of the Craniofacial and Mesenchymal Biology Lab in [Health Sciences East 15.]  This partnership with the School of Medicine enables our scientists to do research and make a big difference for patients with facial anomalies. It’s a great program.
  • In the School of Pharmacy, our own Dean [Mary Anne] Koda-Kimble, received pharmacy’s highest award – the Remington Honor Medal. Now she received this award having chaired the deanship in the School of Pharmacy for now more than a decade. And Dean Koda-Kimble was recognized for her own commitment to education, the profession of pharmacy and the public good. Congratulations, Mary Anne.
  • In the School of Medicine, this year’s U.S. News and World Report pointed out “Amerca’s Best Graduate Schools,” but there was only one school in the nation that was in the top five for both primary care and research. I think that really says a lot about our School of Medicine. Both primary care and research and you can see that and feel that in the school. So congratulations to Dean Hawgood and the entire team in the School of Medicine.

Now finally, let me tell you about some additions that you may have read about on ucsf.edu. Some great additions to our already strong leadership team.

  • Starting with a new dean of our School of Nursing. Come April of 2011, David Vlahov will join us as our seventh dean of the School of Nursing.  David is a real leader in public health and in research. And he’ll come to the helm of a very strong School of Nursing and I think he and the faculty will take that school to even the next level. I am so excited about David Vlahov joining us.
  • In a newly created position, Vice Chancellor for Diversity and [Outreach], Renee Navarro steps into a position that is so important for our campus and I know Renee is going to outstanding. She’s already had an illustrative career in our School of Medicine and Department of Anesthesiology, largely at San Francisco General Hospital. But Renee has made a difference across our campus already with her efforts in academic diversity. So please make it a point to welcome Renee.
  • And finally, Joe Castro has been promoted to Vice Chancellor in recognition of his efforts in Student Affairs not only here at UCSF but across UC and making an important difference in the community of San Francisco. So congratulations Joe for this well-deserved recognition.

Now in closing, I want to tell everyone on our campus how much I appreciate all of your contributions to making 2010 a terrific year for UCSF. In a challenging time, the work that each and everyone of you do makes a big difference. So let me wish you and your families a very happy holiday season and a here’s to a great 2011.  I can’t wait to see UCSF next year. 

Thanks a lot.