University Relations

UCSF’s Office of University Relations is charged with directing strategic communication and public affairs for the campus and clinical enterprise. The University Relations team is skilled at leading integrated, outcome-driven communications to strengthen awareness of UCSF’s excellence in patient care, research and education through brand marketing, media relations, digital communications and internal communications. It also leads the University’s community relations programs and its local, state and federal government relations efforts.

Led by Vice Chancellor Barbara J. French, the office comprises the following units:


Barbara J. French
Vice Chancellor, Strategic Communications and University Relations

Develops and implements communications programs to champion the University’s mission and to raise awareness and visibility of UCSF’s excellence in discovery, patient care and education. Serves as lead counsel to the chancellor on issues related to communications, governmental affairs and community relations. Advises the Marketing Committee and the Government Relations Committee of the UCSF Foundation board of directors. Read her full bio »

Beth Mooney
Executive Assistant
Manages all administrative tasks and responsibilities for the Vice Chancellor. Oversees the administrative team, is a member of the Vice Chancellor’s Leadership Team and is the liaison to Human Resources for policy implementation, personnel actions and initiatives.  

Mike Fortes
Office/Finance Manager
Serves as University Relations' financial control point, represents the Vice Chancellor on financial policy matters, serves as the general office manager for University Relations, supports the Business Manager and all other University Relations supervisors with tactical HR actions, and provides general administrative support to all of University Relations’ staff.

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Asia Gilmore
Administrative Assistant
Provides support and assistance for department sponsored events and meetings, processes departmental expenses, and provides general administrative support to all of University Relations’ staff.

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Koriesha Woods
Administrative Assistant II
Provides support and assistance for department sponsored events and meetings, processes departmental expenses, and provides general administrative support to all of University Relations’ staff.

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Sophia Labeko
Administrative Coordinator
Manages news and information distribution via web and other mass distribution programs. Responsible for news tracking and compiling media coverage reports. Works closely with the Brand Communications team to uphold brand compliance. Provides general administrative support to all of University Relations’ staff.

Strategic Communications

Advances UCSF's strategic priorities and initiatives by developing, driving, implementing and tracking integrated communications plans that maximize University Relations' expertise and leverage communications and advocacy efforts across the campus and clinical enterprise. Leads a consistent project management approach for University Relations's strategic communications initiatives and manages its portfolio of projects to advance its strategic plan.

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Lisa Cisneros
Senior Director

Brand Communications

Stewards the UCSF brand at the enterprise level. Empowers internal constituents with the tools, platforms and frameworks to communicate and grow the UCSF brand. Inspires and educates internal audiences with a clear understanding of how brand impacts their respective constituents and core disciplines. Supports internal partners with their efforts to grow brand awareness with key external audiences through integrated enterprise communications.

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Nada Hansen
Executive Director, Brand Communications

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Julie Hanlon
Assistant Director, Brand Marketing

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Christine Omata
Assistant Director, Brand Communications

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Kathleen Hennessy
Art Director & Photography Manager

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Susan Merrell

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Taryn Ibach
Assistant Brand Manager

Community & Government Relations

Oversees UCSF’s local, state and federal governmental relations, working in partnership with campus and medical center leadership, as well as faculty and staff. Coordinates state and federal governmental relations with the University of California Office of the President. Leads UCSF’s efforts, in collaboration with the UCSF Community Advisory Group, to build strong and constructive relationships with neighbors, community groups and civic organizations.
More about Community & Government Relations »
More about the Community & Government Relations team »


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Paul Takayama
Assistant Vice Chancellor, Community & Government Relations
Oversees the Community and Government Relations (CGR) department, which is responsible for cultivating and maintaining relationships with campus neighbors as well as elected officials at the local, state, and federal level, on behalf of UCSF. CGR also coordinates the University’s response to a wide range of political and policy issues, and advises administrators and faculty on strategies to facilitate dialogue with government and community leaders.

Christine Gasparac
Director, Community Relations
Manages community relations for the Parnassus Heights, Mount Zion, Mount Sutro Open Space Reserve and Laurel Heights campuses and nearby neighborhoods.

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Natalie Alpert
Associate Director, Federal Government Relations
Serves as UCSF’s primary liaison to Congress, the Administration and federal agencies. Responsible for planning and implementing the university’s federal government relations and advocacy efforts in Washington, DC.

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Laura Lane
Associate Director, Local and State Government Relations

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Michele Davis
Assistant Director, Community Relations
Addresses UCSF project issues in the eastern side of town, especially the neighborhoods around the Mission Bay Medical Center.

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Damon Lew
Assistant Director, Community Relations
Manages the EXCEL program and the Community Construction Outreach Program.

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Lily Wong
Community Relations Representative
Manages community relations for Parnassus Heights, Laurel Heights, and Mount Zion campuses.

Digital Communications

Leads web communications and digital marketing for UCSF. Manages and other UCSF primary websites, as well as UCSF’s main social media channels, to raise the visibility and awareness of UCSF’s excellence in discovery, patient care and education, and to build community among internal audiences. Partners with UCSF’s Information Technology Services and other IT units across campus to strengthen UCSF's overall digital presence, facilitate access and improve usability.

Louise Chu 
Executive Director, Digital Communications

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Kevin Eisenmann
Director, Audience Strategy

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Mike Billings
Managing Editor

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Nina Bai
Web Writer

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Jacqwi Campbell
Multimedia Producer

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Arezu Sarvestani
Social Media Manager

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Sara Shaffer
Digital Production Manager

Public Affairs

Raises the visibility and awareness of UCSF among external audiences by working with all media – traditional and new media. Responsible for all University campus and UCSF Medical Center media relations. Partners with UCSF leadership and faculty, as well as medical center leadership, to identify and promote significant advances in biomedical research, patient care, and the education of health sciences students, trainees, residents and fellows. Provides communications counsel and training.
More about the Public Affairs team »

Jennifer O’Brien
Assistant Vice Chancellor, Public Affairs

Kristen Bole
Director, Clinical Communications

Pete Farley
Director, Research and Education Communications

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Elizabeth Fernandez
Senior Public Information Representative
Covers the cancer program, breaking news, emergency medicine, tobacco, obesity and the School of Nursing.

Laura Kurtzman
Senior Public Information Representative
Cover digital health, global health and translational science.

Portrait of Suzanne Leigh

Suzanne Leigh
Senior Public Information Representative
Covers UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay

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Scott Maier
Senior Public Information Representative
Covers cardiology, orthopaedics, transplant medicine, and School of Dentistry.

Portrait of Nicholas Weiler

Nicholas Weiler
Public Information Representative
Covers new developments in basic biological research at UCSF, including stem cell biology, neuroscience, and cancer biology.