Vice Chancellor of University Relations Barbara J. French:
My name is Barbara French, and I’m vice chancellor for University Relations. I want to welcome you to the chancellor’s first State of the University address in October, and we’re pleased to have you here. And this will be live video-streamed and also be available online about four o’clock this afternoon in an effort to make sure that everybody has access. So with that, I am very proud and pleased to introduce and welcome and hand the podium over to our chancellor, Sue Desmond-Hellmann.
Thank you, Barbara, and thank you, everyone, for being here. I thought, Wow, the crowd is just spectacular! And then I realized there were free flu shots down the hall. So I’m hoping that after the flu shots, some additional folks will come into this room. But I wanted to welcome you all here today, and I particularly want to welcome those folks who are watching this on the video feed or late at night at home on YouTube –all are welcome. I’m really glad you’re here today. And let me just start with the single most important message that I want to give to all of you today, whether you’re in this room or listening, and that single most important message is thank you.
There’s a lot of people in this room, there’s a lot of people across UCSF who make UCSF what it is today, and the thank you is sincerely felt. When I talk about our University, I’m talking about all of our collective hard work. And I particularly want to thank, over this past year, the staff here at UCSF. Everyone contributes to UCSF, but I think this last year, we have asked so much from the UCSF staff. So, for those who are in this room, please join me in a big thank you to the staff here at UCSF.
The second thing I want to do, and it’s with some trepidation – but not that much trepidation – I want to single out one person for a special thank you. And, as a lover of stories, I have to do this thank you as a story. So on September 24, in my hometown of Reno-Sparks, Nevada, there was a terrible murder. And the murder happened in a casino, and it was a murder of the president of the San Jose Hells Angels chapter – so, a big, important guy in the motorcycle area. The next morning, on Saturday morning, this murder was followed by what looked like a retaliation shooting, followed by a declaration of a state of emergency. They cleared out the casino, and, those of you who know Nevada, they never do that.
So this was serious business. The casino cameras identified a suspect, and an all-points bulletin was put out across Nevada and California. So, go forward to September 29, and our own UCSF Sergeant John Gutierrez comes up at 8 o’clock at night to a Chevy Malibu, shines his flashlight in, and, quote, without incident, arrests the suspect. Unbelievable. It’s no wonder that John Gutierrez was named officer of the year when he was an Oakland narcotics policeman. And I also love the description by our own chief, Pam Roskowski: “It’s just good, routine police work.”
Well, it made my heart beat faster. So Pam is here. John’s got a well-deserved day off. So on behalf of the entire UCSF community, Pam, for you and all of your officers, and in particular, John Gutierrez, a giant thank you for everything you do to keep us safe. Well, that was one thing that made the national news, but definitely important as we think about what makes this place special. It’s people like Sergeant Gutierrez that make me proud to be chancellor here.
So, state of the university. Somebody teased me on the way down, “Where are the Democrats and Republicans sitting?” Well, I could make a funny joke, but it wouldn’t be that funny. So what am I up to with this state of the University, anyway? Well, it’s traditional for the chancellor to do an end-of-year letter to sort of summarize the year, and I thought it might be perhaps a way to do the celebration and planning for the next year, with two tweaks. One is to move the timing so it’s now more the start of the school year, the academic year, than end of the year, when I know all of us are scurrying around for end-of-year activities.
So it might be helpful to do this more at the beginning of the academic year. And secondly, not to just pause and reflect on our accomplishments, but to spend the bulk of my time on thinking about the future. And so I hope you’ll give me your feedback. I hope that you agree with me: It’s a great time for us to pause and reflect on accomplishments and, just as importantly, to think about our future. So the agenda for today is reflections on 2010-11 and looking ahead to 2011-12 and beyond.
It is literally impossible for me to fit on one slide or in one short speech all the wonderful accomplishments of UCSF in this past year. But some highlights for me, and I think for many of you, include opening the Teaching and Learning Center, seeing the robotic pharmacy and how it advances patient safety, the groundbreaking for the Mission Bay medical center, translational science receiving a $112 million grant renewal from NIH, and the 10-year educational accreditation for our University, a result of many, many people’s efforts over many years.
There are also, as is typical on our campus, numerous honors and awards, but a few to point out that were recent and really special: the MacArthur Fellow award going to Bill Seeley, Presidential Award to Linda Wilbrecht, and the Warburg Medal to Peter Walter. And again, many, many others, too numerous to count, and a reflection of the excellence of everyone on this campus.
So this is my third year as chancellor, and after two years, I reflected back on what it was like to start as chancellor at UCSF in August of 2009. I didn’t do a great job of picking my timing: furloughs, budget cuts, a deep recession. That was a scary time. And I can tell you, over the last two years, it’s been increasingly clear to me and to my leadership team that UCSF must get out ahead of these challenging times.
A Three-Year Plan for UCSF
I don’t want us as a campus and as a wonderful institution to be back on our heels. I want us to be ahead of the game. And so, to that end, my team and I asked ourselves, Who do we aspire to be in three years, five years, 10 years? What do we want UCSF to be known for? And what are the things that we can do to make sure that UCSF is the place we aspire it to be? And for me, the overriding theme should be, when you’re chancellor, what can I and my leadership team do to make UCSF a place that brings out the best in the faculty, staff and trainees? So I put in front of you this plan with great humility, as just one person in an organization of 23,000 people that wants UCSF to be that place. So I’m going to present to you UCSF’s three-year plan.
So, three-year plan. What’s special about a three-year plan? Well, first of all, I want to honor the 2007 strategic plan. The 2007 strategic plan was a very inclusive, cross-campus plan that did a fantastic job of reflecting our values. And we used that 2007 plan and all of the collective wisdom and input of this campus as the framework for this update. This plan serves as our near-term action plan, reflects our immediate priorities in the current environment. As you can all imagine, a plan that was put together during 2006 feels somewhat distant in the times we’re living in. And yet, when I reread it and looked at the values, those have not changed. We want to directly address our most pressing challenges and, again, focus on what is this environment that we want to create here at UCSF?
So the scope should take us from this academic year through 2014-15. In 2014, UCSF will be in a position to celebrate 150 years of bringing medical care to San Francisco. Toland Medical College, the first medical school that was west of the Mississippi, opened up nearly 150 years ago in 1864, and I think it’s a great opportunity for us to celebrate. But a great institution doesn’t have a party for no good reason, although we could. I’d far rather us have a party celebrating that we’ve put in place an action plan, a plan that can take UCSF during a very difficult time to a place we’re all really proud to celebrate by 2014.
So how did we go about this? This is a tricky thing to do, with some urgency, to update a strategic plan that had such wonderful, broad campus input, and to do that rapidly and yet make sure that there were voices for everyone across the campus. So in order to do that, I turned to the Chancellor’s Executive Committee, which is shown on this slide, and I want to particularly point out that Bob Newcomer and, before him, Elena Fuentes-Afflick was a part of this, representing our campus Academic Senate.
I think you all know the people on this slide. But in case you don’t, let me make sure to introduce, and ask him to stand up, David Vlahov, our dean of the School of Nursing, who joined us this past year. Welcome, David. And I don’t know – is Renee here? – Renee Navarro, in the newly created position vice chancellor of diversity and outreach. There’s Renee. And I believe, as befitting the head of Global Health Sciences, Jaime is either in the air or about to touch down. Is Jaime here? But let me introduce to you, soon to arrive by plane, Jaime Sepulveda, the executive director of Global Health Sciences, who started September 1st. Welcome to Jaime.
So, in putting together this three-year plan, we had to look at the new reality that we’re all operating in. And I don’t need to tell this group that there are a lot of challenges out there. You all read the headlines as I read the headlines, and let me tell you a few things that really stick in my mind. NIH funding, it’s all over the map, and literally week to week and month to month, the expectations for NIH budget change – a little bit up, a little bit down. But the net is that 2012 purchasing power for NIH is expected to be about the same as it was in the year 2000. The most important thing for us to recognize is that’s a significant change from those years of the doubling of the NIH budget, a major decline in purchasing power back to the year 2000.
Over the next five years, 15 to 20 million additional new Medicaid patients will come into the system. That’s an incredible stress on a system. We’re also expecting marked declines in Medicare funding. And the state funding: Again, the net impact on UCSF this year is expected to be a cut of $38 million. That’s one year, $38 million.
It’s tough out there. It’s a big, challenging time, and unlike some other times for us here, we don’t have good news on one front and challenges on the other. There are challenges everywhere we look. But there are many opportunities, and I would point out that as we look at the opportunities, we’re in a great place in terms of what we do. Our mission continues to resonate, and people are looking to places like UCSF for answers to some of the questions – health care costs, innovation. Fastest-growing industries – health care, Silicon Valley – healthy and thriving. So we’re in an environment that’s actually prospering right now.
So, for those of you who say, “How can you feel optimistic at such a challenging time?” I would point out something I’ve always taken some comfort in. In the mid-’70s, when some of the people in this room were growing up and some of them were probably not born, it was a terrible economic time in the United States. Remember, it was just before Jimmy Carter came into office. There was a lot of oil issues, inflation. It was a very difficult time in the economy.
In 1976, two companies were founded – Apple and Genentech. It’s really interesting to think about the environment that those innovators brought to life, two of the great companies that I’ve known. So, what is it that was done? How did people operate to have such success at such a terrible time? I would submit: We need to ask ourselves that question.
So, when we think about our strategy and what to do over the next three years, I start with all our assets, and we have many. Our stature and our reputation remain at the top – the best schools, the best faculty, the best staff on many lists, our medical center. We have a lot to be proud of, and our stature and our reputation are a great asset, something not to take lightly. Our capital investments. Now people often say to me, “Chancellor, we’ve put so much money in bricks and mortar, it’s time to put money in people and programs,” and I hear that. I also would say, we have these wonderful assets, these capital investments we’ve made over the last decade, and how do we make sure that the campus and our mission take great advantage of those assets?
Our donor and alumni community. We have enormous support in our community, in our state and in our nation, and growing internationally, and our alumni are a great resource for us.
The most important resource here at UCSF are the people of UCSF, and if I ever have a bad day, I try and interact with somebody from UCSF. It always makes me feel better. It is amazing, the intellect, the passion, the drive, the commitment, the hard work and the inspiration I always derive from the people of UCSF, our most important asset.
Five Goals for UCSF
So here’s the three-year plan, and this is a very top-level view of the three-year plan. Vision, mission and three-year goals. My vision for UCSF is that we are the world’s preeminent health sciences innovator. You’ll recognize this. The tagline doesn’t change. Advancing health worldwide speaks to everyone across the campus. UCSF advances health worldwide through innovative health sciences education, discovery and patient care. That is meaningful, no matter what you do at UCSF, be it something locally, something aspirational to change the future, teaching to provide health care providers and leaders for the future, or in global health sciences.
So a good plan fits on one page, no matter how small the font needs to be to accomplish that. So here’s the one-pager. In order to be considered the world’s preeminent health sciences innovator, there’s five goals set down here. For those of you who are paying attention, and I hope you are, you’ll note that these five goals map to the five priorities I’ve talked about since I arrived on the campus. And I’m going to go through each of these goals. Each of them has an underlying set of strategies and, behind that, a set of tactics, and anyone who’s dealt with smart goals knows that a good goal has to be measurable and have outcomes with a timeline and an owner.
So I can tell you that we’re on our way to do that, and I’ll have more to say about that in a few minutes. Goal number one is to provide unparalleled care to our patients across all sites. So what will we do to achieve that? Hire and retain the top health care providers, accelerate the translation of groundbreaking science into therapies for our patients, and provide a world-class patient experience. So, just to give you a sense of the kind of initiatives under this, for A, there, it includes making sure that we have market- and performance-based compensation, that we have retention initiatives and succession planning.
How will we accelerate translation? Well, I told you about CTSI, the Clinical and Translational Science Institute. We need to make sure we’re effective at collaborating, both with other academic institutions and with industry. And in terms of the world-class patient experience, well, we’re going to have a new hospital. And that will allow us to do upgrades here. We also have to improve access for all patients, no matter where they come from, and execute the culture of excellence plan in the medical center. The second is to improve health through innovative science, by maintaining our commitment to excellence in basic science and collaboration efforts within the UCSF research community, by investing in infrastructure that enables UCSF to excel at basic clinical and population research, and by leading and influencing biomedical research policy at a national level.
So again, under each of these are specifics that will enable us, and I want to point out a couple of them. Under this infrastructure, one of the initiatives is to develop a strong core in bioinformatics. Again, something that will have broad, important impact across the institution. In terms of policy, we need to increase our presence in Washington, DC. The third is to attract and support the most talented and diverse trainees in the health sciences. First is to increase professional and graduate student financial support.
And I want to tell you a little story to tell you how I know this is so important – trainee support. So last night, I went home and I was eating dinner. It was about 8:30, and my phone rang. And I actually thought it was my husband calling from Tanzania, but it wasn’t. It was a UCSF student. By the way, this is an entirely true story.
So I pick up the phone, and when I realized it wasn’t Nick, I got my voice of, like, I’m going to hang up on you, but I’m too polite to do it without talking first. So the incredibly wonderful UCSF student said, “I just want to talk to you about UCSF and what we’re doing to raise money for the students.” And I said, well, I’m actually the chancellor at UCSF. And she said, “Well, I have you down as UCSF faculty. That is correct, isn’t it?”
And I said, yes, actually, that is correct. I am UCSF faculty. And she said, “Well, we have you down as, a few years ago, you and your husband gave $5,000, and I’m just calling to see if you . . . if you might, you know, give another gift.” And I said, well, we actually have given a gift, larger than the $5,000, for scholarships for students, and we’re really committed to that, and we’re excited about that.
And she said, “Well, you know, we’re trying to get new technology into the classrooms,” and she was absolutely on message. It was so impressive. And we ended the call cordially, with me making sure that she understood that, in fact, she did have the correct phone number and address for me. And I tell that story because it was so amazing for me to just hear the passion in her voice and the commitment and how seriously she took her task of calling people to say, “Can you help us fund the infrastructure we need for our students?” So, good job. And I’m hoping she actually Googles “chancellor” to find out what that is after the call, because it was pretty fun.
So, back to the goals. We do need to develop infrastructure for the way we want to teach our trainees and to create a learning environment in which our trainees thrive. And again, one example of this is the intention to create a multicultural resource center, so that all our students from an incredible variety of diverse backgrounds feel welcome on our campus. Number four, to be the workplace of choice for diverse, top-tier talent. All about people. Under this is clear goals and direction. Everybody needs to know what they’re signed up to do.
Enhanced development opportunities for faculty and staff. Compensate based on performance and at market levels. And again, an environment where people can thrive. So there’s a lot to this – job, family, and career pathing, development plan, succession plans, and making sure that we have a plan for endowed chairs for our faculty. There’s a lot under this, and we’ve really, really got to get this right. Fifth is to create a financially sustainable, enterprise-wide business model. Now, some of you may be saying, “Gee, that sounds very businessy, and I knew when you had this number five as business that – what does this mean, enterprise-wide? What does it mean, financially sustainable?”
Well, let me go right to A and tell you something I’m passionate about. So, collaborate with our local community on educational and economic opportunities, health enhancement. UCSF is a public university. We have a public mission, which all of us collectively love. We cannot have community engagement and honor our public mission if we can’t afford it. So part of having a business plan that sustains us and gives us a line of sight to future funds is making sure we execute our public mission. The other feedback I get on number five is, “Well, look, why are you talking about the business plan last? How will the other four things be possible?”
Well, I strongly believe that you have to set out where you’re going, and then you make a plan because you’re excited about where you’re going and you execute that. But I would submit, and I agree with those who have given me the feedback, the first four things I told you about will not be possible if we can’t pay for it. So we have to have a healthy future when it comes to the money. Part of this is designing and implementing transparent and effective budgeting and planning processes. And C is very important to me.
We need to succeed in operational excellence. We need to see those funds come back so we can spend those funds on people and programs. But we can’t cut our way out of this issue. We have to generate new revenue streams, and we have to maximize existing ones. So there’s, again, a lot under all of this, but I’ll just say in terms of the local community, our Science and Education Partnership, Glide, our dental clinics, San Francisco General, and everything we do in our community and, really, throughout the globe that enhances health, are very important to our public mission and to me.
So that was a whirlwind tour of the three-year plan. What do we do next? What happens from here? Well, between this month and the end of the year, we need to finalize with a lot of input across our campus the tactics, the metrics and the owners for each of these. What does this mean for UCSF? Is there new news here?
Well, the intention here is to better position UCSF to implement our goals, deliver on our mission and make our vision a reality. What I think is the most important, and what you can expect from me and my leadership team, is listening, flexibility, continuous learning. We won’t get everything right. But we need to move as a campus. And already, the listening that I’ve had the opportunity to do has been incredibly helpful.
What this means for you is that you could expect the institution to help you achieve your goals and your dreams – that the institution allows you to do your best work. And I point out a few things. I mention safety. Everyone on our campus needs to have a safe environment to work in.
Information technology. Everyone on our campus needs information technology that helps them achieve their goals. Human resources, payroll, things that tie us all together that we need to have work well, and not detract from our ability to execute our day-to-day job.
So what do I need from all of you? I actually think the story I’m telling you today and the plan and the strategy are all about having something called UCSF that we all care about and contribute to and benefit from. So what I’m asking all of you is to be a great citizen of UCSF, to know that a healthy future for all of us involves change. And change is hard, and it rattles all of us.
So engage, participate in the change, be an active participant and be part of the process. I welcome your being a part of the process, and I hope that all of you agree with me that we could create a UCSF that is greater than the sum of its parts. So I like this quote. Forgive me that I’m repetitive, but it’s still my favorite quote from Thomas Edison: “If we did all the things we’re capable of, we would literally astound ourselves.”
I think UCSF, after watching and listening and being your chancellor for two years, is an astounding place, an amazing place filled with talented people. And I do think if we did the things we’re capable of, we would not just astound ourselves, we would astound everyone. So thank you very much for listening. And I’m happy to take questions.
Question and Answer Period
There’s microphones that are being passed around for people who have questions. A question here.
Thank you. I’m Kathy Lee, the School of Nursing associate dean for research. It’s a great vision. I think the School of Nursing would share that, embrace it full-heartedly. I just wonder: You were a little vague at the end about what we could do for you. What could the School of Nursing specifically do with our four departments and our institute?
Thank you very much for that question, Kathy. So the question is, “What can the School of Nursing – what can Kathy do for me?” Thank you. So a couple things that I think are really important, and I probably should have mentioned them in my comments. So this is meant to be a plan that’s kind of a 30,000-foot view. And it is a plan for our entire institution.
So it is not a plan for the School of Nursing. It’s not a plan for the med center or for Global Health Sciences. But it’s meant to provide a framework so that when you and Dean Vlahov and the rest of the School of Nursing think, “Okay, where are we going over the next three years, five years, 10 years?” it provides you something that can be some guideposts for thinking about how does a School of Nursing fit in with this umbrella, so to speak, so that the intention is to provide a framework that can float everyone’s boat.
But the specific thing that I think is really important in terms of the School of Nursing is, in terms of how – what your part is of that vision and mission, what are the best ways to execute on that, to think, how do we spend money, and how does money come into the School of Nursing? What are our hopes and dreams and ambitions? And what’s in our way, and can we collaborate effectively across the silos that often make up UCSF to execute that vision?
So, thinking not just about the School of Nursing, but broadly about the entire enterprise of UCSF is the most important thing I need from you. Thank you for asking. Question here?
My question, Sue – it’s Kathy Balestreri from the medical center – was much the same thing. The medical center already has a set of goals that seem to align really well with these overall UCSF goals. But what can we do to support you in this effort? I think you answered it very well. But what are the other things that we might be thinking about?
So all the Kathys in the audience, please raise your hand. We’re going to have a “Kathy Committee” of helpful people. Thanks for that question, Kathy. I actually think, for the medical center, I would say a little bit different version than what I just told Kathy in terms of the School of Nursing.
So the medical center, in terms of UCSF – there are two things that I think are particularly important about the medical center. Think enterprise-wide. Think about the institution, not only the medical center. One is something that I know you’re particularly involved in, which is, it’s not uncommon for the face of UCSF to be the medical center and the caregivers.
So I would only reinforce what I know is already in your heart and soul, which is, every single interaction that our medical center has with the outside world is either the best evidence someone has that UCSF is a great place, or the opposite. And so I would only reinforce all you’re doing to be patient-centric, and to have those numbers come back on how people think about us – would they refer us to a friend?
So I love that the medical center is doing that. So do more of that because the best ambassador of UCSF is someone who had a wonderful experience themselves or their family. So more of that.
And the other thing is because the medical center is actually a nonprofit business, the medical center has many – a lot of business knowledge that can be tapped into by others across our campus. So I often refer to the medical center people who are looking for a business plan, or how to really update their business plan. And I think, be generous in terms of sharing that business knowledge with others across our institution.
Who was next? Joe. Joe, and then that.
Vice Chancellor of Students Affairs Joe Castro:
Okay. Thank you, Sue. I wanted to ask you about state funding. Are we at UCSF and at UCOP doing all we can to restore funding from the state?
I think we are, and yet I read something in the paper today about the noise that’s around. So a lot of what we’re saying, I do believe both systemwide and at UCSF, has an opportunity to be lost in the noise. And so I think that there’s an enormous amount of hard work and energy being put against this.
And I think we have two most important challenges. One is that we’re competing in terms of discretionary funding with a very tiny list of decisions. So the tradeoffs that are in front of those in the state who are deciding about money are incredibly limited. And that’s a disadvantage for us. And some of the things we’re competing with tug at your heart. You know. It is care for homeless, and people who need medical care, and severe help.
So one, it’s tough competition out there. And the second thing is, I think we need to have a message that resonates, a message that resonates about the future of the state, about the economy, about job creation, and about the importance of what UCSF and the entire UC system do to contribute to the state. Too much of the debate’s been about what we take from the state and what we cost the state. So I do think we need to reverse that dynamic and do more.
Good afternoon, Chancellor. My name is Leland Kim. I’m in University Relations. I’m actually tweeting your address as we speak.
Holy cow. I did a lot more than the 140 characters.
Lot of tweets. I wanted to ask you, as far as evolution of communication and how we as UCSF members communicate, and your vision of the evolution of that in the next three years?
So the – I have sort of a central tenet of communication that is most important, and that is, it’s impossible to over-communicate. Based on that, I listened quite seriously when Barbara French gave me some input about how our audience wants us to communicate, and the answer was in every way you can imagine – face to face, on the Internet, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, you name it. And so I think that for our communication, we have to be platform-agnostic, and think about how we reach audiences and in what way people like to have their information, and not get tied to one way of communicating.
Hi, Elizabeth Ozer. Kind of following up on Joe Castro’s question, he had talked about the state, and you mentioned with policy feeling like we needed more presence in Washington. And so, I’m wondering if you could just expand a little about that. Thanks.
Thank you for that question. So, in terms of on the policy front, again for me, part of being a leading health sciences innovator is having people of stature who others want to tap into. And so, when I read something or hear something in the news, and they say, we checked with the Cleveland Clinic, we checked with the Mayo Clinic, which you see and hear a lot, one is, it’s a convenience thing that people make connections, and we’re not in the same time zone and we’re not in Washington. So, I think we have to do a little more to make sure our thought leaders, our experts are the ones that get the phone call or have the quote or are cited.
So, my basic belief is, there is more talent and knowledge and policy expertise on our campus than I see mostly as it comes to media coverage. When I’m in Washington, I hear a lot of influence that our faculty has on policy, but I think that could be, we could be on that speed dial. I think that’s a really good metric for success: Who do they call, and how do we make sure they’re calling us on what we want to be called on, and that we do influence policy as it relates to things we’d like to see from a policy perspective that impact on what UCSF is trying to accomplish.
Hi, Robert Blelloch from the Department of Urology.
Wave your hand. Oh, there you are, sorry.
So, what kind of plan can we put forth to rescue graduate education, especially PhD education, with the shortage of money, and should we be thinking of expanding it or shrinking it going forward?
I’m so glad you asked. So, the graduate student program is the heart and soul of what we do here at UCSF, very, very important. So, I’m not eager to talk about shrinking the graduate student program. I think we need to have funding that people can rely on. And I want to give Jeff Bluestone a ton of credit for being all over year-one funding. I’m sure Jeff would say the same thing as me; that’s a start. It’s a good start, and it really reflects the fact that the impediment to having great graduate students can’t be money. We can’t let that happen. So we need to have funding that enables people to tap into whoever the best and brightest graduate students are for our campus. So that’s a strong belief, and we’ve got ongoing work to make sure we can guarantee that, make that happen.
On a policy perspective, we’re working with the Office of the President and the Regents because our feeling is the Regents and the state need to understand the negative consequences of fee increases on our ability to attract the best graduate students. So we’re working very hard on making sure that story’s heard.
Hi, Mel Scheinman, Cardiology. We are very much concerned about all the cutbacks in Medicare, and the specific question for you is, What about these indigent patients who really need expensive tertiary care? How are we positioning ourselves to take care of the patients in Northern California who day after day, we’re learning, have no other options?
Well, I think I should probably – is Sue Carlisle here? Let me ask Mark Laret, do you have a comment on that, Mark, in terms of the indigent patients? So the question is, How do we think about the increase in Medicaid patients, or patients who don’t have Medicaid?
UCSF Medical Center Chief Executive Officer Mark Laret:
Yeah, I think this is a tremendous problem facing the entire health care system. At UCSF, our philosophy has been we will do as much as we can possibly do and afford, but without bankrupting the entire system. So in our children’s hospital, for example, we just make it a policy that we’ll take any patient, regardless of their ability to pay. But part of the challenge we have is that many hospitals are deciding not to provide that care, even when they could, so we have more and more patients coming from outside San Francisco to get care because we’re willing to do it. And I think this is going to be a continuing challenge, probably getting worse in the coming years. But our commitment will always be that we’re going to do at least our fair share and more to the extent that we can afford to do it because of the great need.
Hi, Melissa White from Government Relations. Just a question in regard to the public mission, especially relating back to San Francisco General and how important that is for UCSF.
So, I meant what I said. I think that one of the reasons that we need to stop being back on our heels in terms of incoming budget cuts and how we respond to them is our need to fund the public part of what is UCSF. As you know, at San Francisco General, that funding is in collaboration with the city and county of San Francisco, which is also under enormous pressure and stress. So, what UCSF specifically needs to make sure we have a funding plan – and we’re well on our way to putting in place a plan – is the research part of San Francisco General, which is funded by UCSF. And maybe I could call on Sam Hawgood to comment on that because we’ve talked a lot about the buildings and the seismic upgrades needed. So Sam, can you make a couple of comments about San Francisco General and specifically for our faculty at San Francisco General and the research enterprise?
Dean of the UCSF School of Medicine Sam Hawgood:
Sure, just to highlight the importance of San Francisco General, at any given time such as today, about a third of our medical students will be at San Francisco General. A third of our residents and fellows will be at San Francisco General. And many of the residents and students come here because of our relationship with San Francisco General. On the research side, if San Francisco General was a stand-alone operation and was given credit at the NIH rankings, it would fall immediately below UC Davis. So, it also contributes about a quarter of our total research effort. And we’re challenged right now that the majority – not all, but the majority – of that effort are in seismically very poor buildings.
So, with the help of John Plotts and others in Facilities, we are developing a plan with Sue Carlisle and leadership at San Francisco General to address that immediately after the completion of the new hospital. And I think we have a viable plan that will allow San Francisco General to go forward as a very vibrant part of our organization.
Great. Thank you, Sam.
Hi, my name is Connie D’Aura, I’m in the School of Dentistry. On another note, but tied into the last year, earlier this year you invited the staff to be part of a survey. And I just wondered if you could say a few things about the outcome of that, and what maybe some unexpected pluses were from that survey.
I’m trying to think of the unexpected pluses. Thank you for that very optimistically worded question, Connie, and forgive me for unusually feeling pessimism. What I heard loud and clear on that survey is that the staff at UCSF very much – okay, I’ll be positive – want to be part of the enterprise and expect to be a part of the enterprise, and we have much more work to do on engagement. And the takeaway for me is what I’ve been saying for a long time, that we have to have great management. It’s not just nice to have; it’s essential to have because great-minded people with passion and talent who want to be committed to the institution need to know what exactly the institution needs from them, and to have a really clear set of things they can act on every day when they come to work, and know what they’re signed up for.
So I guess the good news is that I was sad to hear that so many people are missing that, and the good news is that we can fix that. It’s actionable, as people say. So the good news is, we know what’s on people’s minds, and there are tactics underway now to address those. And you’ll see that in the plan that I presented, that a big part of that is everybody should know exactly what’s expected of them.
Hi, Lonnie Peterson, Center for Reproductive Sciences. My question is about basic science research. It’s an activity that cannot bring in enough revenue to cover its operational costs, and yet it’s vitally important to the University’s mission. So I was wondering what business models and revenue streams the University may be developing to address that.
That’s a great question, and let me just start my answer by telling you that one of the things I believe is that if we want to be the kind of institution I think all of us are excited about, that we have to be able to measure return on investment, as a businessperson would say, in ways that are not just monetary. There’s an enormous return on investment of our public mission, in terms of what we provide locally and to the globe, and there’s an enormous return to humanity by carrying out wonderful basic science. And so what we need to figure out is what is the most efficient way that we can take care of all of our infrastructure so that the basic science that happens is done in an environment that has no fat. Absolutely, we can’t waste a dime because the way that we carry out basic science and the funding to support it is tough right now.
Let me just ask Jeff Bluestone to make a few comments because he’s thought a lot about this. But I want to reassure you that the returns on investment – I don’t expect the basic scientists to bring in revenue, except that they already do with indirects. But Jeff, you want to make a couple of comments on this because your question is really important?
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Jeff Bluestone:
Yeah, I would agree. I think it’s a critical question at a critical time in the University. I’d mention three things that I think are going to be vital going forward. Number one is infrastructure. If you look at what is going to be essential for the basic science community here to be successful, it’s going to be to have the ultimate opportunities for bringing in the resources that are available without having to change the kind of research they’re doing. So in our office and throughout the campus, making sure that the opportunities at NIH, the opportunities in other funding agencies, are as easy and as accessible as possible to the community are going to be vital as we look for money, as the money’s getting tighter.
The second is going to be in recruitment and retention. All those nice buildings down in Mission Bay and up here in Parnassus and elsewhere are going to be filled, and they’re going to be filled by the best and brightest scientists. One of the great legacies of UCSF has been its ability to bring in exceptional, outstanding, and creative and innovative scientists. And so one of the major parts of the plan is to make sure that we keep that because I think the future for basic science is the way the past was, bringing in many talented, young professionals who are interested in the most innovative science. So the recruitment and retention of our faculty is going to be key because not only is it an economic concern, because these are people who will be the future of UCSF, but it’s also our stature and our discovery.
And then the last area is partnerships. How are we going to make sure that there are great opportunities for our basic scientists to work with others who can help frankly to impart finance, but also to bring the best technologies and the best innovation to our campus? So, whether it’s working with industries, like we do with Sanofi and Pfizer and Merck and others, or whether it’s working with other investigators across multiple disciplines here at UCSF, in the clinical departments, in the other basic science departments, in other universities with engineering and mathematics. Sue mentioned the bioinformatics program, really providing that kind of collaborative effort. So, I think the other third piece is, we need to open our world, we need to open our work to collaborations and partnerships that will help us not only do the best research possible, but be able to support that research.
Great, thanks Jeff.
Vice Chancellor of Student Academic Affairs Joseph Castro:
Hi, I’m Joe Castro, I’m one of the medical students here. I was just wondering if you have any immediate plans for controlling the tuition inflations?
Wow, that’s a really good question. So, I would say two things. One is that, together with all of the deans, there is a newly started fundraising effort to make sure that we can locally here at UCSF provide additional funding for support for the existing fees. The second one is really a reflection of what I said about the graduate students, but for professional students. We need to do a good job at UCSF to make sure that at the Office of the President and the Regents, the impact of the increasing fees on student debt and on how students see coming to UCSF is clearly seen. And I take that very seriously. I think we need to make sure that the impact is understood. So, if you have any ideas, I would invite you and your colleagues to bring them to me because I think effective advocacy is where this starts, and the net impact of the increases in fees on you, making that visible and known is a key part of that.
Hi, Rick Schneider, Orthopedic Surgery. Just following up a little bit on that question, could you talk a little bit about the historical relationship between UCSF and the other nine campuses, and how you see that relationship maybe changing or evolving? Clearly we are a very different campus. Our model for success and how we function is very different, and yet time and time again, we’ve been judged or at least been evaluated based on similar criteria. So tuition increases, for example, is a clear situation that doesn’t apply necessarily to us in the same way. And for those of us who’ve been out systemwide, we hear things all the time, gripes about UCSF and things that – unfair advantages that UCSF might have. So perhaps there’s an opportunity here to help explain what UCSF is, and this is something that you’ve been working on, perhaps.
No, I appreciate the question very much, and it’s something that resonates for me, what you’re saying. I do think that it is increasingly clear that UCSF’s uniqueness in terms of not having undergrads and being life sciences-based are challenging when we work with the other nine campuses. Let me start with the positive. One of the things I think is working generally very well, and that is UC Health. So, through the efforts of Jack Stobo and collectively all five of the UC medical centers, and to a lesser extent, but somewhat part of that, the schools that are life sciences-oriented are collaborating on things to make their work better. And I think that has an upside, and we benefit from that.
On the other side, increasingly, the debate and dialogue and discussion between the Regents and the Office of the President and Sacramento is about undergraduate education, about student numbers and about fees. And we’re not a part of that dialogue, and that is an enormous stress on our ability to be part of this federation of universities. So, I take very seriously the concept of UC and what CU stands for and the master plan and the Golden State and all of that. I love all of that promise.
But I also, as chancellor of UCSF, I’m advocating for us. And you raised the very – the largest challenge. I’d like to pull out our uniqueness as special and wonderful and worthy of admiration, and at times I think our pointing out our uniqueness looks like arrogance, fat cats, and who do they think they are. So if you have any pearls of wisdom for me on that front – and I’m serious about this. I think we need to be effective as part of a collective dialogue for a set of universities that are really an amazing set of universities, the 10 UCs, but also speak effectively and forcefully on behalf of our unique and special campus. Time?
Vice Chancellor of University Relations Barbara J. French:
I think we’ve used our time, and thank you very much. Thank you all for joining us today.