UCSF Deepens Relationship with City Leaders

By Juliana Bunim

Supervisor Carmen Chu and UCSF Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellmann

District 4 Supervisor Carmen Chu enjoys a moment with UCSF Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellmann at a recent breakfast at UCSF's Faculty Alumni House.

As part of UCSF’s ongoing commitment to serving San Francisco, Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellmann, MD, MPH, recently hosted a series of gatherings to give newly elected and returning members to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors an opportunity to hear firsthand the many ways in which UCSF affects the City and its residents.

“UCSF is the second-largest employer in San Francisco, after the City and County of San Francisco, with workforce numbers about 22,800,” Desmond-Hellmann told the crowd. “Our share of San Francisco’s employment is approximately 5.6 percent - more than the City’s entire financial service industry – and we generated about $4.9 million in direct revenues for the City and County of San Francisco’s general fund in 2009. So we have a major impact on the City.”

In addition to being a powerful economic driver in San Francisco, UCSF physicians fully staff the City's safety-net public hospital, San Francisco General Hospital, which treats approximately 100,000 patients per year and provides 20 percent of inpatient care and 30 percent of all ambulance traffic in San Francisco.

The first breakfast gathering at the UCSF Faculty Alumni House was attended by newly elected supervisor Scott Wiener, along with second-term supervisors Sean Elsbernd and Carmen Chu. “The work you do here helps the community and saves lives, and I want to express extreme gratitude,” said Chu.

David Vlahov, Paul Volberding and Susan Desmond-Hellmann

From left, David Vlahov, dean of the UCSF School of Nursing, joins Paul Volberding, chief of the Medical Service at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center and professor and vice chair of the Department of Medicine at UCSF and Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellmann at a recent breakfast gathering.

The second event, hosted by the chancellor in conjunction with Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, was in honor of newly elected supervisors Malia Cohen and Jane Kim.

Board members talked with UCSF leaders including the Chancellor, Mark Laret, chief executive officer of UCSF Medical Center; Joseph Castro, PhD, vice chancellor of Student Academic Affairs; Sue Carlisle, MD, PhD, associate dean at SFGH for the UCSF School of Medicine; Paul Volberding, MD, chief of the Medical Service at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center and professor and vice chair of the Department of Medicine; and members of the UCSF Foundation Board of Directors, including chair of the government relations committee, Carmen Policy.

Serving the People of San Francisco

“These kinds of gatherings are very important because they enable the University to learn more about what’s happening in the community, and for the community to know what we’re doing,” said Castro. “It leaves the lines of communication open with elected leaders to better serve the people of San Francisco.”  

A hot topic of conversation was the new medical center currently under construction at Mission Bay: a 289-bed, 878,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art and sustainable complex that promises to transform care for women, children and cancer patients.  

“We are right now trying to build a 21stcentury San Francisco, and I want to thank you for building a 21stcentury medical and educational center,” said Chiu. “Our fortunes ride together and if you are wildly successful, we are wildly successful as a City and our mutual successes will make us a beacon across the world.”

District 6 Supervisor Jane Kim answers questions from the audience as UCSF Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellmann looks on.

During a question-and-answer period, members of the audience, including faculty and staff, expressed concerns over City issues such as housing and education. Cohen, who represents District 10 which contains part of the Mission Bay medical center site, said she hopes UCSF will continue its relationship with the San Francisco Unified School District to open a school at Mission Bay.

"I'm committed to helping the Mission Bay hospital project along and am excited about all it has to offer," said Cohen. "It will inspire our young students to become young scientists who can say they got their start at Mission Bay."

First two photos by Susan Merrell