The UC San Francisco community grieves the loss of Betty Irene Moore, an advocate for patient safety and philanthropic leader, who passed away on Dec. 12, 2023, at age 95. Betty and her husband, Gordon, generously fostered path-breaking scientific discovery in the Bay Area and nationwide.

In 2014, the UCSF Medical Center named the women’s hospital at the new UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay the UCSF Betty Irene Moore Women’s Hospital in recognition of Betty’s tireless advocacy for patient quality and safety. Their support continues to advance innovative initiatives at the UCSF National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health.

Thanks to Betty and Gordon, the center developed a progressive, multidisciplinary approach to women’s health care, including rigorous research, collaborative clinical teams, training for future providers and leaders, and active community partnerships. UCSF is one of the original six National Centers of Excellence in Women’s Health and the only one in Northern California.

“Betty’s profound leadership and influence on health care practices will continue to make a difference on our campus and beyond,” said Chancellor Sam Hawgood, MBBS. “She and Gordon helped revolutionize health care as we know it today.”

The couple also supported faculty members, students, nursing and advances in health sciences across UCSF. In recognition of their tremendous support and impact, they were awarded the UCSF Medal, the University’s highest honor, in 2016. The following year, The Chronicle of Philanthropy recognized them as California’s most generous philanthropists.

In 2000, the Moores created the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, which will continue to make a difference and provide significant support for nonprofits focused on environmental conservation, science and patient care.

Betty started the Betty Irene Moore Nursing Initiative in 2003 to improve patient care in the Bay Area and Sacramento metro areas. This initiative evolved from her experience as a caregiver and patient and grew into an enterprise that empowers nurses to become leaders in bedside care.

“Words cannot fully capture the entirety of the Moores’ mark on health and science,” said Suresh Gunasekaran, president and CEO of UCSF Health. “They will be cherished in our memories and honored through UCSF’s efforts to advance health worldwide.”

A life of uplifting others

Betty Irene Moore was born on Jan. 9, 1928, and grew up in Los Gatos, California.

She attended Campbell Elementary School and Los Gatos High School, then earned her undergraduate degree in journalism at San Jose College, where she met Gordon.

Betty worked for the U.S. Rubber Company in San Francisco until she and Gordon married in 1950. The couple then moved to Pasadena, where Gordon attended graduate school at the California Institute of Technology. During this time, Betty worked for Consolidated Engineering Corporation in advertising and public relations and later joined the Ford Foundation.

Betty’s profound leadership and influence on health care practices will continue to make a difference on our campus and beyond.”

Chancellor Sam Hawgood

Passionate about supporting the community, Betty served on the boards of several charitable organizations, including the governing board of Filoli, a historic house and garden near Woodside, California.

After spending most of their lives in the Bay Area, the couple wanted to help preserve the region’s special character through their foundation. They sought to make a durable change and believed that scientific methodology should be the pillar of nearly all the foundation’s efforts, particularly in addressing important, under-resourced opportunities.

Betty found an opportunity to improve nursing, with the goal of better patient outcomes, after having a poor hospital experience herself. She was always interested in health care and identified ways to improve patient care.

With their philanthropic efforts through the foundation, Betty and Gordon helped patients avoid hundreds of thousands of hospital days, improved patient experiences and saved lives. Their leadership gifts to UCSF established the University as a national leader in patient safety and satisfaction.

Gordon passed away on March 24, 2023, at age 94. He was a pioneering scientist and leader who transformed the technology industry. Betty and Gordon’s generous philanthropy and legacy of patient advocacy left a lasting impression on UCSF and the Bay Area.