New Grant Program Supports Innovators at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals

By Kate Vidinsky

The outside of Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland
The new awards will enable staff members across every level of the organization to translate their ideas into measurable actions that address some of the key challenges facing UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland.

UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals has announced the recipients of the inaugural President’s Innovation Fund (PIF) awards.

The fund, launched earlier this year, is a new grant-awarding program designed to spark novel ideas for solving everyday problems among the hospital’s faculty and staff.

“At UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals, we strive to promote a culture of continuous improvement across our campuses, where each of us feels connected to our work and inspired to push forward new ways of thinking and doing every day,” said Michael Anderson, MD, president of the two-campus children’s hospital enterprise and senior vice president of children’s services for UCSF Health. “We know that input from our valued team is critical to our success, and it is in that spirit that we launched the President’s Innovation Fund.”

Financed by philanthropic funds, the PIF awards will enable staff members across every level of the organization to translate their ideas into measurable actions that address some of the key challenges facing UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland. Plans are underway to develop a similar program at the hospital’s San Francisco campus, as well.

Both the Oakland and San Francisco hospitals’ longtime dedication to serving every child is accompanied by financial responsibilities that present a unique set of demands for the safety-net hospitals. According to Anderson, while that commitment to patients is unwavering, they must continue looking for new ways to narrow the financial gap, promote revenue generation, and increase operational efficiencies. 

From a competitive pool of 29 applications, the review committee selected 13 projects to receive funding of up to $75,000 for a one-year period, with the potential for renewal.

The awardees represent all areas of the organization, from surgery to child life services to psychiatry, underscoring the depth and breadth of the talent, creativity, and commitment of the team, Anderson explained. Over the next year, PIF award funds will be used to facilitate inpatient support groups for young cancer patients, implement a mentoring program to support nurse retention, create a pipeline for a more diverse child life workforce, and use virtual reality technologies to reduce patient anxiety and pain, among many others.

“I look forward to seeing how all of these projects develop and further our capacity to achieve our mission, on behalf of Healthy Children, Healthy Communities, and a Healthy World,” Anderson said.

A full list of the awardees and their projects is available on the PIF website.