'Science Equals Service' in UCSF Alumni Weekend Message

Chancellor Highlights Public Mission, Announces that Education Initiative Has Raised $40 Million to Date

By Louise Chu

Hundreds attended an April 26 breakfast during UCSF Alumni Weekend, which highlighted the theme of public service.

Through its work in health and science, UC San Francisco is driven by a public mission to serve in ways that have the greatest impact on humanity, the chancellor highlighted in her welcome message at the second annual UCSF Alumni Weekend.

More than 2,000 attendees gathered for a slate of events at UCSF last weekend under the theme of service.

Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellmann addresses the audience at the Alumni

Weekend breakfast.

“I could go on and on about the important work that goes on here that touches many lives, both nationally and globally. This service work, alongside our impact on the outside world – that’s what UCSF is all about,” Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellmann, MD, MPH, said to the hundreds who attended a Saturday breakfast at the Palace Hotel, which served as the hub of Alumni Weekend activities.

Desmond-Hellmann noted a number of University projects that express its public mission, including the Science & Health Education Partnership, a collaboration between UCSF and the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) that supports quality science education for K-12 students. Established in 1987, the nationally recognized program – which brings UCSF volunteers into classrooms, offers high schoolers a chance to do summer internships and offers teaching resources to schools – reaches 80 percent of SFUSD students, she said.

Desmond-Hellmann also highlighted the work of researchers who are working to develop cures and better treatments for the world’s diseases. “At UCSF, science equals service, and what a great way to help the community,” she said.

Among the professional schools, the School of Pharmacy has managed the California Poison Control System since 1997, and the schools of dentistry and nursing are part of a national initiative called Elev8 to help underserved middle school children. Thanks to a three-year, $1.75 million grant from The Atlantic Philanthropies, the schools created UCSF’s Elev8 Healthy Students and Families project to provide coordinated health, mental health and dental services to kids in Oakland.

In keeping with the theme of service, alumni also had the opportunity to participate in activities, such as providing essential medical supplies to the UCSF student-run organization called REMEDY (Recovering Medical Equipment for the Developing World.) And nurses, pharmacists and primary care physicians volunteered with the Glide Health Services Clinic, a UCSF partner, to offer special education for clinic health care providers.

Another important aspect of the public mission is making UCSF’s educational programs accessible, Desmond-Hellmann said, pointing to the $100 million health sciences education initiative that was launched just ahead of last year’s Alumni Weekend.

Desmond-Hellmann poses with former "The Bachelor" star Andy Baldwin, MD, a

UCSF School of Medicine alumnus (Class of '03) who introduced her at the Alumni

Weekend breakfast.

“To ensure we remain a great place for future generations, we must attract the most talented and the most diverse students to UCSF, regardless of their financial circumstances or other hardships,” she said.

The four-year initiative, aimed at offsetting diminished state funding, is designed to support students and teaching. It includes $80 million in new scholarships and $20 million for curriculum innovation, interprofessional education and teaching facilities.

To date, the initiative has raised $40 million, which the chancellor called “a remarkable accomplishment.”

“And providing these students with generous support keeps their debt burden low, allowing them to serve in the area of greatest need after they graduate so the cycle of service will continue,” she added.

Photos by Noah Berger