San Francisco Business Times Recognizes Health Care Heroes

The San Francisco Business Times recognized several members of the UCSF and San Francisco General Hospital(SFGH) communities and a diabetes outreach clinic in its inaugural "Health Care Heroes" edition.  

Introducing the special section, publisher Mary Huss said it is meant to give “credit where it is due - to the men and women in the health care profession who dedicate their lives and careers to saving people, curing illness, and providing comfort and quality care to patients and their loved ones.”

"Our goal in creating these awards was to recognize exceptional professionals who go above and beyond their job descriptions, to discover inspiring individuals working to improve the health care system and the lives of patients in the Bay Area," Huss writes. "Importantly, we wanted to shine the spotlight on the unsung heroes whose work behind the scenes makes a profound difference in the experience and outcomes of those receiving care."

Among those recognized is Anthony Luke, MD, an associate professor of clinical medicine at UCSF who is the coordinator of the PlaySafe Sports Medicine program that offers free care for student athletes; Lynne Benioff for giving $100 million to UCSF for a children's hospital at Mission Bay and for her ongoing dedication to UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital; and Helen Kao, MD, an assistant professor in the Division of Geriatrics at UCSF who works to improve care given to elderly and dying patients.

Kao, the founder of the Geriatric Transitions, Consultation and Comprehensive Care at UCSF Medical Center, graduated from the UCSF School of Medicine in 2003. She then served her residencies at UCSF Medical Center and the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center and earned a fellowship at UCSF Medical Center in geriatrics in 2007.

More than 100 candidates from across the San Francisco Bay Area were nominated by peers and colleagues as "Health Care Heroes." The selection panel consisted of health care leaders in the Bay Area as well as the Business Times editors.

These winners were announced on July 27 during a morning ceremony:

Community Impact, Individual

  • Anthony Luke, MD, associate professor, UCSF School of Medicine – Finalist 
  • Ed O'Neil, PhD, MPA, professor, Department of Family and Community Medicine, UCSF School of Nursing, and director of the UCSF Center for Health Professions - Finalist

Community Impact, Organization

  • Operation Access, a nonprofit organization co-founded by William Schecter, MD, a UCSF professor of clinical surgery at SFGH, that provides specialty medical care to the uninsured and underinsured


  • Lynne Benioff, UCSF Foundation board member and donor – Winner

Nursing Finalist

  • Hildy Schell-Chaple, RN, MS, FAAN, a clinical nurse specialist in the Adult Critical Care at UCSF Medical Center


  • Richard Fine, MD, clinical professor of medicine and director of Quality Assurance, Department of Medicine at SFGH – Finalist
  • Helen Kao, MD, an assistant professor in the Division of Geriatrics at UCSF – Winner 


  • Iman Nazeeri-Simmons, chief quality officer for SFGH – Winner 

Technical Innovation

  • UCSF Diabetes Training Center, directed by Martha Nolte Kennedy, MD -  Finalist

Unsung Hero

  • Vilma Zarate, an administrative analyst in fetal surgery at UCSF Medical Center - Winner