Pandemic preparedness and health care infrastructure, policy implications of health and other disparities magnified by COVID-19, diversity in STEM, climate change as public health policy, and science advocacy at the federal level were all topics covered on Oct. 6 when UC San Francisco hosted U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif) for a virtual conversation with Chancellor Sam Hawgood, MBBS.
“We are proud to have such a dedicated and experienced leader represent us during this pivotal moment in history, shaped by a long career serving California as the first Latino Secretary of State and formerly as a State Senator,” said Hawgood.
At the end of the program, UCSF faculty member Alicia Fernández, MD, Associate Dean of Population Health and Health Equity, general internist at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, and founding Director of the UCSF Latinx Center of Excellence shared her direct experience serving the community during the pandemic and posted a question to Padilla on behalf of the UCSF community about formal protections for immigrants and essential workers.
UCSF School of Medicine PRIME-Urban Underserved student Anuvir Singh asked Padilla how we can ensure legislatively mandated policies have their desired impact on the communities they intend to help and raised the importance of reinvesting in workplace safety for those who support our nation’s food and other essential services.
Chancellor Hawgood closed the program by reinforcing how crucial this conversation is to advancing the mission of UCSF. He encouraged the UCSF and greater community to join UCSF Advocates to learn more about policy change and engage with UCSF.
In January 2021, Senator Padilla was appointed by California Gov. Gavin Newsom to finish the term of Vice President Kamala Harris. The son of immigrants from Mexico, Padilla attended Los Angeles public schools and is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering. He has been a national leader on immigration, climate change, women’s rights, and confronting the challenges posed by the public health crisis working directly with UCSF and other top academic medical centers. He continues to fight for sound public health policy and support the essential needs of the American people and our health care infrastructure.