Chancellor Names "Future of UCSF" Working Group Members

Group to Consider New Financial, Governance Model for UCSF

By Lisa Cisneros

Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellmann, MD, MPH, today named members of the “Future of UCSF" working group, which is charged with exploring changes to UCSF’s current governance structure and financial relationship with the University of California system that could better ensure its longterm success.

UC Regent Chair Sherry Lansing and UC President Mark Yudof endorsed the membership consisting of leaders from UC, UCSF and business earlier this week.

As the chancellor proposed to UC Regents on Jan. 19, UCSF is seeking to maintain and increase its level of excellence and to continue to deliver on its critically important public mission as a leading academic medical center. To do so, UCSF must develop a financially sustainable business model that enables it to respond quickly and effectively to myriad challenges in the health care and biomedical marketplace and in higher education.

The working group will not be evaluating a privatization model or any other scenario under which UCSF would become completely independent of the UC system, Desmond-Hellmann emphasized in a Feb. 7 appointment letter to members of the new working group.

Instead, the group is being asked to propose options for a modified governance structure and financial relationship with the University of California system that preserves its important role in the 10-campus UC system and holds true to basic principles for openness, accountability and dedication to UCSF’s public mission.

UCSF Working Group Members

The "Future of UCSF" working group members, all of whom have agreed to serve, are:


  • Sam Hawgood, MBBS, dean, UCSF School of Medicine and vice chancellor of medical affairs
  • Nathan Brostrom, executive vice president for Business Operations, UC Office of the President (UCOP)


  • John “Jack” Stobo, senior vice president, Health Sciences and Services, UCOP
  • Peter Taylor, executive vice president of Budget and Capital Resources, UCOP
  • Leslie Tang Schilling, UC Regent and founder and director of Union Square Investments Company, a commercial real estate investment and management firm.
  • William De La Peña, MD, UC Regent and a professor of ophthalmology, and founder and medical director of the De La Peña Eye Clinics throughout Southern California
  • John Plotts, senior vice chancellor, UCSF Finance and Administration
  • Mark Laret, chief executive officer, UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital
  • Mary Anne Koda-Kimble, PharmD, dean, UCSF School of Pharmacy
  • Bob Newcomer, chair, UCSF Academic Senate
  • Gene Block, chancellor, UCLA
  • Bill Oberndorf, chair, UCSF Foundation and a founding partner of SPO Advisory Corp., which is an owner of a number of businesses in a broad range of industries with an asset orientation.
  • Lloyd “Holly” Smith, MD, former chair, professor and chair emeritus, UCSF Department of Medicine.
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Staff: Angelique Loscar, assistant chancellor

For UCSF, that public mission ranges from University health professionals providing care at the safety-net San Francisco General Hospital – a partnership dating back to 1873 – to improving science education and teaching in nearly 90 percent of San Francisco Unified Schools, a Presidential award-winning national model of collaboration that began 25 years ago.

Seeking Financial Self-Sufficiency

UCSF is a proud member of the UC system, Desmond-Hellmann said in the appointment letter. Similar to the other nine UC campuses, UCSF is facing substantial financial challenges. But she has made it clear that solutions that may be appropriate for the other UC campuses, such as raising tuition to cover costs, are not viable for UCSF given its unique circumstances within the system.

Unlike its sister UC campuses, UCSF has only graduate students, relies upon tuition for only 1 percent of its budget and state funding for only 4 percent, down 1 percent since last year. UCSF is dependent upon the highly competitive health sciences clinical and research fields for most of the other 80 percent of its $3.6 billion budget.

“Internally, the UCSF leadership team is taking action to reduce costs and increase efficiencies through an Operational Excellence initiative and is also examining new revenue growth opportunities,” Desmond-Hellmann said. “However, as UCSF is an integral part of the UC system, it is critical that those relationships also be reviewed.”

The group, which will begin its work immediately, will look at different business models to achieve financial autonomy from the UC system. UCSF will ensure that members of the campus community can provide input, the chancellor said in an email today to the University community.

Findings and recommendations from the working group will be presented to the chancellor in June and will inform her recommendations to the UC Board of Regents, which is planned for July 2012.