UCSF Physicians, SFGH Nurse Honored by San Francisco General Hospital Foundation

By Amy Weitz

The 2015 Heroes & Hearts Award recipients are, from left, Diane Havlir, MD, Edgar Pierluissi, MD, and Maya Vasquez, RN.

Two longtime UC San Francisco physician-researchers and a nurse with the San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center (SFGH) have received the 2015 Heroes & Hearts Award bestowed by the San Francisco General Hospital Foundation. Diane Havlir, MD, Edgar Pierluissi, MD, and Maya Vasquez, RN, were honored at the Foundation’s annual awards luncheon on Feb. 12 for their “impact on the community through their work at The General.”

Havlir, an internationally recognized leader in HIV/AIDS research and treatment, is chief of the HIV/AIDS Division at SFGH and director of the Positive Health Program (HIV Clinic Ward 86, the historic clinic that cared for the first patients with HIV). A UCSF physician since the early days of the AIDS epidemic, she has conducted pivotal studies that have helped turn AIDS from a certain fatal disease to a chronic illness. Not resting on her laurels, Havlir continues her research both here and in the developing world, and is the co-founder of Getting to Zero, a San Francisco consortium that aims to have the city achieve zero HIV infections, zero HIV deaths, and zero HIV stigma.

Pierluissi is the founding medical director of the Acute Care for Elders (ACE) Unit at SFGH. The unit, in operation since 2007, has been adopted as a model for care to meet the needs of an older population, and is now serving more than 1200 patients each year. The unit is focused on maintaining and improving physical and cognitive function for these patients, and its efforts have resulted in shorter hospital stays, improved patient mobility and less inappropriate prescribing. Pierluissi has trained health providers from around the U.S. on the ACE model, and is now looking to expand the program to other locations at SFGH such as the Emergency Department.

Also receiving a Heroes & Hearts award was Maya Vasquez, RN, a registered nurse who is the program manager for SFGH’s Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative. She was instrumental in the hospital receiving its Baby-Friendly certification in 2007, and is dedicated to offering nurturing support to new moms and their newborns.  As a board-certified lactation consultant, Vasquez continues to promote breast-feeding and trains health providers in supporting lactation practices for their patients.

These awards reflect the strong partnership and connection between UCSF and SFGH, with UCSF physicians providing care for the hospital’s patients. The collaboration has resulted in major advances and treatment that have benefitted SFGH’s patients and those around the world.

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