UC Board of Regents Approves Sam Hawgood as Interim Chancellor

Renowned Pediatrician and Medical School Dean to Lead Premier Health Sciences University

By Kristen Bole

The University of California Board of Regents has unanimously approved the appointment of renowned pediatrician and medical dean Sam Hawgood, MBBS, to serve as interim chancellor of UC San Francisco. The appointment, which the Regents approved today, will take effect April 1.

Hawgood has been dean of the UCSF School of Medicine and vice chancellor for medical affairs since September 2009, after serving as interim dean since December 2007. As dean, he has been a core member of the Chancellor’s Executive Council, playing a central role in the university’s leadership and guidance during a time of profound growth.

“Sam is a highly respected physician, scientist and leader, and been integral to the leadership of the university over the past four years,” said UCSF Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellmann, MD, MPH, who will become chief executive officer of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on May 1. “There is not a single campus initiative in which he has not been involved over that time, and I have full confidence in his ability to lead UCSF through this next transition.”

As dean of the School of Medicine, Hawgood oversees an organization with an operating budget of more than $1.7 billion, nearly 8,000 faculty and staff, and 3,655 medical and graduate students, residents, fellows and postdoctoral scholars. He leads the school’s mission to advance human health through education, research, patient care and public service, reflecting the overarching mission of UCSF.

Under his leadership, the school has become the top medical school in the nation in research funding from the National Institutes of Health ($439.6 million in 2013), with many of its departments also leading the nation in their fields, reflecting the caliber of science performed on campus. In that time, the school also became the only medical school in the nation to rank in the top five in both research- and primary care education (#4 in each), in the US News & World Report’s annual assessment of graduate schools.

The school’s clinical faculty also is renowned for world-class medical care, through its practice in the top-ranked UCSF Medical Center, UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, Langley Porter Psychiatric Institute, San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center, and the San Francisco Veterans’ Administration Medical Center.

As interim chancellor, Hawgood will oversee the $4 billion UCSF enterprise, which also includes top-ranking schools of dentistry, nursing and pharmacy, as well as a graduate division and affiliated hospitals. In addition to providing innovative patient care for the full range of medical conditions, the university is renowned for its groundbreaking fundamental science and translational research in such areas as cancer, cardiovascular disease, genetics, HIV/AIDS, neuroscience, pharmacology and stem cells.

Hawgood will continue to advance UCSF’s initiatives in both clinical and basic science, including its leadership in the nascent field of precision medicine, bringing together the fields of genetics, molecular research, bioinformatics and medicine to provide predictive and precise therapies for patients.

“Sam understands UCSF probably better than anyone, as a trainee, researcher, faculty member, department chair and dean of the medical school,” said Mark Laret, chief executive officer of the UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, with whom Hawgood has collaborated closely in defining UCSF’s clinical strategy. “I am delighted that Sam is taking on this role as interim chancellor. There is no better choice and I am thrilled to partner with him.”

Hawgood, 61, has had a distinguished career at UCSF, which he joined as a research fellow in 1982. He went on to become a professor and, later, served as chair of the Department of Pediatrics and associate director of the Cardiovascular Research Institute, while also earning an international reputation in neonatology research.

A native of Australia, Hawgood completed medical school with First Class Honors at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, and trained there in pediatrics as a resident.

As a clinician, he witnessed the deaths of infants from respiratory distress syndrome (RDS), a major cause of newborn mortality, due to the lack of a key lipoprotein called surfactant that lines healthy lungs and enables them to expand with each breath.

Hawgood’s quest to prevent RDS led him to UCSF, where he worked as a research fellow with the distinguished scientists John A. Clements, MD, and William H. Tooley, MD, both pioneers in the discovery and therapeutic uses of pulmonary surfactant.

Hawgood started his own laboratory in 1984, which is focused on the proteins associated with pulmonary surfactant. His scientific contributions over the last decades have been recognized by numerous awards, publications and invitations to present in national and international forums. He is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and was elected in 2010 to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), part of the National Academy of Sciences.

Hawgood has maintained an active presence in clinical medicine since serving first as division chief of Neonatology, then as chair of Pediatrics and physician-in-chief of the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital prior to becoming dean. He is the president of the UCSF Medical Group, the faculty plan that represents more than 1,800 physicians at UCSF.

Per standard Regental policy, Hawgood will not receive additional compensation for serving as Interim Chancellor, other than an annual automobile allowance of $8,916. He will continue to receive his current compensation package, which includes an annual base salary of $463,500, funded by non-State sources; eligibility for $195,475 through participation in the Health Sciences Compensation Plan; standard pension; and health and welfare benefits. 

UCSF is the nation’s leading university exclusively focused on health. It is dedicated to transforming health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care. It includes top-ranked graduate schools of dentistry, medicine, nursing and pharmacy; a graduate division with world-renowned programs in the biological sciences, a preeminent biomedical research enterprise and two top-tier hospitals, UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital.