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
[email protected]

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 »

Mike Fortes
Director of Office Operations​

[email protected]
Manages all administrative tasks and responsibilities for the Vice Chancellor, oversees the administrative team, provides support and counsel to the Vice Chancellor’s Leadership Team, serves as University Relations’ financial control point, and is the liaison to Human Resources for policy implementation, personnel actions and initiatives.

Edward Samayoa
Operations Manager

[email protected]
Serves as University Relations’ lead financial administrator, serves as the general office manager for University Relations, supports the Director of Office Operations and all other University Relations supervisors with tactical HR actions, and provides general administrative support to all of University Relations’ staff.

Portrait of Asia Gilmore

Portrait of Sophia Labeko

Sophia Labeko
Administrative Coordinator

[email protected]
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.

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.

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 »


Portrait of Paul Takayama

Paul Takayama
Assistant Vice Chancellor, Community & Government Relations

[email protected]
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.

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.

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 »