UCSF Wins 5 Regional CASE Awards for Excellence in Communications, Advancement During COVID-19

By Mike Billings

UC San Francisco won five gold awards from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) in this year’s regional competition, including four for COVID-19 communications.

The awards – two Grand Golds and three Golds – span work from the Office of Communications and the University Development and Alumni Relations (UDAR) for photography, publications, events, video and writing.

The annual CASE Awards of Excellence recognize and showcase the best practices at educational institutions, including work in alumni relations, fundraising, public/government relations, advancement services, special events and outstanding communications. UCSF competes in CASE’s District VII, which covers Arizona, California, Guam, Hawaii, Nevada, Northern Mariana Islands and Utah.

Grand Gold

Series of Related Photographs

The Office of Communications highlighted the work of 40 UCSF volunteer health workers who teamed up with frontline medical staff in Navajo Nation as COVID-19 surged in the region in April 2020. The photograph series followed nurses and physicians from the UCSF HEAL Initiative as they joined the fight at five hospitals serving Navajo patients.

Feature Writing

Illustration of the inside of a body, with coronavirus cells throughout.

Ariel Bleicher and Katherine Conrad of UDAR wrote an insightful feature for UCSF Magazine, about UCSF scientists who are learning about COVID-19 and the dizzying array of symptoms that it caused. When the virus first appeared, doctors were watching for fever, cough and shortness of breath. The story, “We Thought It Was Just a Respiratory Virus” is a comprehensive account of how the virus can infect our cells, damage our lungs, invade our hearts, and cause disturbing things to happen to our toes, our guts, even our brains.


Alumni Relations Pivot

With in-person events canceled due to the pandemic, the Alumni Relations team hosted its first fully virtual program, “Emotional Well-Being During COVID-19 for Health Care Providers” on April 2, 2020. The webinar, which went on to become a nine-week series, was a partnership with the UCSF Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science. The Alumni Relations team launched the series to support the UCSF alumni community’s heightened exposure to the uncertainties of COVID-19 and to help them navigate the unprecedented moment.

Video on a Shoestring

Amid the race for COVID-19 treatments and vaccines, UCSF researchers engineered nanobodies called Aeronabs that hold potential to halt the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the disease, in the human body. To share the news of this work about Aeronabs, the Office of Communications produced an animated video that explained how COVID-19 infects the body and how this molecule would disrupt the spread.


Targeted Constituency Magazines

UCSF Magazine, produced by UDAR, won a CASE award this year with a Winter 2020 edition that looked ahead to the new decade, with some prophetic predictions about the need to address climate change and pandemic preparedness. By the Summer edition, with the pandemic raging, UDAR produced an edition devoted to COVID-19.