UCSF Research Building at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital Gets City Approval

San Francisco Board of Supervisors Vote Protects Hospital’s Unique Level 1 Trauma Center Status and Sustains World-Class Research Enterprise

SF Supervisor Malia Cohen speaks during a hearing
San Francisco Supervisor Malia Cohen (center) represents the District 10 neighborhood, where Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital is located.“This is a transformative project for our City and it will make a significant impact for generations to come,” she says. Photo by Susan Merrell

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors have unanimously approved a lease agreement that will allow UC San Francisco to move forward with constructing a new research and academic building at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center (ZSFG).

The building, which will support the robust UCSF research program conducted at ZSFG, is critical to ZSFG maintaining its designation as the City’s sole Level 1 Trauma Center, a rank reserved by the American College of Surgeons for the highest-quality, most comprehensive trauma treatment centers. ZSFG trauma specialists treat more than 4,000 patients with critical injuries each year.

The building is also key to the mission of the ZSFG-UCSF partnership: carrying out research aimed at improving patient care for local vulnerable populations – those most susceptible to cancer, asthma, diabetes and heart disease – as well as advancing research on HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, stroke, traumatic brain injury and other conditions that affect all San Franciscans and populations worldwide.

The $200 million building, which will be paid for by UCSF at no cost to city taxpayers, will replace UCSF offices and laboratories at ZSFG currently dispersed among several buildings that do not meet University of California (UC) seismic regulations, and which UCSF faculty and staff must vacate by 2019.

wide show of brick buildings on ZSFG campus
About 800 UCSF researchers and staff work in buildings next to Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center that currently do not meet University of California (UC) seismic regulations. Photo by Steve Babuljak

UCSF’s partnership with ZSFG dates back nearly 150 years. UCSF faculty members provide all physician care at ZSFG while also conducting breakthrough health research that has dramatically improved the care received by the hospital’s own patients and has also had a transformative national and global impact.

“Construction of this research facility is vital to ZSFG’s ability to continue providing world-class care to all San Franciscans, regardless of their immigration or insurance status,” said Barbara A. Garcia, MPA, director of the San Francisco Department of Public Health (DPH), which operates ZSFG. “I want to thank the Board for recognizing the critical importance of research in improving our patients’ lives and supporting this project.”

a row of ZSFG doctors sitting in City Hall
Dozens of ZSFG physicians and staff showed up at City Hall on Jan. 25 and Jan. 31 to show support for the research building project. Photo by Susan Merrell

The 175,000-square-foot research and academic building, on which construction is scheduled to begin in 2019, will bring about 800 UCSF faculty, trainees and staff under one roof, complementing ZSFG’s new main hospital building and soon-to-be-renovated Ambulatory Care Center, both of which have been funded by more than $1 billion in voter-approved bond measures and philanthropic contributions.

At the Supervisors’ Jan. 31 meeting, UCSF committed to continuing its engagement with ZSFG’s neighboring community and its collaboration with DPH and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to ensure thoughtful planning around construction, operations, transportation and parking.

“This is a transformative project for our City and it will make a significant impact for generations to come,” said Malia Cohen, a member of the Board of Supervisors representing the District 10 neighborhood, where ZSFG is located. “The pioneering research that takes place in this building will pave the way and allow Zuckerberg San Francisco General to continue serving as the great equalizer it is for all citizens of San Francisco. I am pleased that my colleagues and I have come to an agreement with UCSF and DPH that holds stakeholders responsible for the future and well-being of the neighborhood.”

The building project already has received approval from the UC Board of Regents, which certified the Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR), Ground Lease, and LDDA in November. Also supporting the research and academic building are the San Francisco Medical Society, the Hospital Council of Northern and Central California, the San Francisco General Hospital Foundation, UCSF’s Board of Overseers, the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, and La Casa de las Madres, among others.

“In recent years, City taxpayers and philanthropists have made a significant investment in ZSFG’s new main building and Ambulatory Care Center,” said UCSF Chancellor Sam Hawgood, MBBS. “Now, with the Supervisors’ unanimous support of the new research building, and UCSF’s funding, UCSF and ZSFG are in a position to continue their mission of improving the health of the people of San Francisco and beyond well into the 21st century.”