More than 200 national, civic, business and academic leaders gathered at Parnassus Heights April 27 in a standing-room-only event to break ground on UCSF Health’s new hospital of the future.

The event launched construction of the $4.3 billion, iconic UCSF Health Helen Diller Hospital – a 15-story state-of-the-art facility that will aggregate some of the most complex care capacity in the country in one city block to serve San Francisco, the Bay Area and beyond for coming generations.

“The UCSF Health Helen Diller Hospital is one of the most advanced hospitals being built in the country, expanding our ability to provide exceptional care for San Francisco and serve patients from around the world with complex health conditions,” said Suresh Gunasekaran, president and chief executive officer of UCSF Health. “This is a huge investment that will bring people to the city and solidify San Francisco’s reputation as a destination for world-class care.”

Among the dignitaries celebrating the occasion were Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi, Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis, San Francisco Mayor London Breed, UC President Michael V. Drake and California Speaker Emeritus and UC Regent John Perez, as well as UCSF leadership and other public and private supporters.

Design integrates advanced science and care with a healing habitat

Opening in 2030 on Parnassus Avenue, the UCSF Health Helen Diller Hospital will be the eastern cornerstone of a comprehensive, 30-year plan to transform UCSF’s flagship Parnassus Heights campus and drive innovations in care delivery, discovery and health sciences education. The first decade of the plan pairs the new hospital with a research and academic building that is expected to open in 2028 on the western edge of the campus.

“This is a pivotal moment for UCSF as we break ground on a bold new vision for our historic Parnassus campus. To remain a leader in the fields of biomedical research, health sciences education and care, we are building world-class facilities to match the caliber of the people who will work in them,” said UCSF Chancellor Sam Hawgood, MBBS. “The UCSF Health Helen Diller Hospital will offer state-of-the-art facilities that will bring the latest therapies to our patients. This is where the future of health care is going to be led.”

Lead architect Herzog & de Meuron and architect-of-record HDR designed the 880,000 square-foot hospital to create an optimal healing environment that integrates seamlessly into its surroundings, bringing nature, human-centered design and innovative medical care into one healing habitat.

The hospital will incorporate the latest technologies in diagnostics, robotics and surgical procedures into complex specialty care, including neurosurgery, cardiology, transplant and emergency medicine.

A Healing Habitat: The UCSF Health Helen Diller Hospital will integrate state-of-the-art medicine with a healing habitat that incorporates natural light, plants and trees into the building’s architecture.

Among its features will be innovative operating suites with access to MRIs, scanners and other imaging equipment, enabling surgical teams to provide more precise and personalized surgeries for the most complex cases, such as brain tumors and transplants. Patient rooms also are designed to accommodate the larger equipment needs of a modern hospital, reducing the disruption for patients and their families during their care.

To address the rising need for specialty care, the hospital will increase UCSF Health’s current capacity by 37% to 682 beds, while adding 22 new operating rooms, for a total of 40 overall, and 31 new emergency care beds, increasing capacity by 71% to 70 beds. The growth will enable thousands more patients to access the complex care at UCSF Health to meet both current and future demand for care.

“When people are facing critical health challenges, they need timely access to the best medical care, supported by the technology needed to save lives,” Gunasekaran said. “By providing that in a nurturing environment, we are also creating a space that will help patients and their families heal.”

Building on a legacy of excellence

The holistic focus on the needs of patients reflects UCSF’s integrated research, education and care delivery mission at Parnassus Heights, helping advance discoveries rapidly from the laboratory to the patient’s bedside and fueling groundbreaking biomedical research and medical treatments.

“As we break ground on the new UCSF Health Helen Diller Hospital, we begin a new chapter in UCSF’s story of excellence for San Franciscans,” Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi said. “It is a source of great pride for me in the Congress to represent UCSF: our Nation’s preeminent public university offering world-class medical training, research and care. This new hospital will be transformative for our city by significantly increasing capacity to meet the health needs of San Franciscans – while creating hundreds of good-paying, union jobs for the Bay Area.”

It will also foster collaboration between scientists, health care professionals, staff and learners across the clinical, research and education disciplines, and enable UCSF and its health system to continue to attract visionary leaders and talented learners to UCSF.

“UCSF was the first medical school to open within the University of California, bringing the most advanced science and medical care of its time to serve the community,” said UC President Michael V. Drake, MD. “This hospital builds on that legacy and will demonstrate how the University supports and improves the health of Californians.”

Empowering Our Workforce: The new hospital aims to create a healing space for both patients and our employees, offering state-of-the-art facilities with access to broad views and nature.

Investment in the city’s health, economy and environment

The high-profile support for the new hospital also reflects the investment it represents for San Francisco, continuing a partnership between UCSF and the city that has spanned every public health challenge for 160 years, since its foundation after the Gold Rush to train doctors for the county hospital.

“UCSF Health is making a major investment in San Francisco by building their new flagship hospital in the heart of our city,” said Mayor London Breed. “But this project is delivering more than a hospital, it’s also an investment in the community. It will support our city with investments like adding street trees to green our neighborhoods, transit improvements to support Muni and hiring local construction trainees to build this hospital.”

As part of a community collaboration that has drawn input from more than 1,000 neighbors, UCSF is investing $20 million in public transit improvements near Parnassus Heights, starting with $11 million early this month to San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority to augment the N Judah line.

UCSF is also targeting a 30% local hiring target for construction workers for the Parnassus project and pledged to create 1,000 union jobs, establish new job training programs and expand existing programs. The first job training cohort started April 22 in collaboration with CityBuild.

UCSF has pledged a 2:1 replacement of trees removed on Parnassus Avenue during construction, with the first 42 trees planted in February along neighborhood streets as the first step. Ultimately, the “Greening Parnassus Project" will offer a "park to peak" greenbelt from Golden Gate Park to the UCSF Mount Sutro Open Space Reserve.

Ensuring a Thriving Community: The Parnassus project is committed to supporting the health, economy and environment of San Francisco by planting trees in the Parnassus Heights neighborhood, providing support for mass transit and creating thousands of well-paid local jobs during and after construction.

About UCSF Health: UCSF Health is recognized worldwide for its innovative patient care, reflecting the latest medical knowledge, advanced technologies and pioneering research. It includes the flagship UCSF Medical Center, which is a top-ranked specialty hospital, as well as UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals, with campuses in San Francisco and Oakland; Langley Porter Psychiatric Hospital and Clinics; UCSF Benioff Children’s Physicians; and the UCSF Faculty Practice. These hospitals serve as the academic medical center of the University of California, San Francisco, which is world-renowned for its graduate-level health sciences education and biomedical research. UCSF Health has affiliations with hospitals and health organizations throughout the Bay Area. Follow UCSF Health on Facebook or on Twitter.