University of California San Francisco
Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center

Wellness at UCSF

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UCSF has many resources that you can use or explore to promote your health and keep you on the path to wellness. We have programs, services, education, and even a special space to just sit and be—the Healing Garden (pictured at right).

Art for Recovery

The award winning program, Art for Recovery gives individuals coping with life-threatening illness an opportunity to express themselves through art workshops, visits at the bedside, and individual attention.

Cancer Resource Center

The Ida & Joseph Friend Cancer Resource Center supports wellness and the healing process by providing patients, families, and others with information and treatment options, emotional support, and community resources. In addition to access to information resources, the Cancer Resource Center hosts a variety of free support groups, exercise classes, and workshops.

Educational Resources

UCSF health specialists organized a variety of resources for patients, family, and caregivers who visit the Cancer Resource Center. The resources are organized around topics that are common concerns for those coping with a cancer diagnosis, cancer treatment, and other issues. Some of the links on this patient education resource list are web pages, others are in Portable Document Format (PDF), viewable using Adobe Acrobat Reader.


There is clinical evidence that regular exercise promotes treatment effectiveness, speeds recovery for cancer survivors, and can significantly deter recurrence rates. UCSF cancer patients can schedule a one-on-one, free, hour-long exercise consultation with an experienced and certified cancer exercise trainer through the Cancer Resource Center's Exercise Counseling program at UCSF's Mount Zion Medical Center, 1600 Divisadero.

Download the easy-to-read Moving Through Cancer: A Guide to Exercise for Cancer Survivors booklet (PDF, 40 pages). Though not a substitute for an individualized exercise plan, this booklet contains pertinent information for healthy movement.

Friend to Friend

Friend to Friend, a project of the UCSF Medical Center Auxilliary, carries wigs, scarves, prostheses. Not just a gift shop, Friend to Friend provides expert fittings in a soothing setting conveniently located next to the Cancer Center lobby at 1600 Divisadero.

Healing Garden

The Healing Garden, designed by Ann Chamberlain and landscape architect Katsy Swan, offers a charming courtyard that includes a fountain and outdoor seating area surrounded by flowers and trees. Tiles from the Mount Zion School of Nursing decorate the fountain area, remind us of the vision and caring spirit of these women. You can take your lunch or snack into the garden, where you can enjoy your meal while listening to the serene sounds of running water. The Healing Garden is located at 2356 Sutter Street near Divisadero, in the center of the Women's Health building.


If you are a UCSF cancer patient and would like nutrition counseling, an appointment with a dietitian can be scheduled by contacting the oncology practice where you are being seen. Greta Macaire, RD, the dietitian, is available Monday through Friday between 9 am and 5 pm.

The Cancer Resource Center also offers nutrition workshops and demonstration-style cooking classes periodically. See the Events calendar for the next nutrition workshop or class.

Osher Center for Integrative Medicine

The UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine combines mainstream medical treatments with alternative therapies such as acupuncture, massage, meditation, herbs and nutrition, that have been studied and determined to be safe and effective. The Osher Center's doctors, nurses and therapists treat illness and encourage healthy living with tested practices. Located at UCSF Medical Center at Mount Zion, the new Osher Center also offers a variety of lectures, classes, workshops, and programs to support prevention, patient empowerment and the wellness for the whole person. These range nutrition lectures and cancer care to yoga and mindfulness-based stress reduction classes.

View class schedules or register online
For questions about classes send an email or call (415) 353-7718.
Location: 1545 Divisadero Street, Fourth Floor, San Francisco, CA 94115

Patient Health Library

The UCSF Patient Health Library began serving patients and the public at UCSF Medical Center at Mount Zion in December 2009. Located conveniently on the first floor of the Cancer Center, the library is an extension of the H. M. Fishbon Memorial Library, the medical library at Mount Zion. The library has medical books and journals, health newsletters, access to the Internet and a professionally trained medical librarian available to help you find answers to your health information questions.

The UCSF Patient Health Library resources include:

  • Free internet access
  • A patient health librarian (with a master's degree in library and information science)
  • Free research assistance
  • Books and videos to check out
  • Access to a printer and copier
  • Health Information Updates: UpToDate for Patients, a website providing free access to current information on hundreds of health topics.

Operating Hours: Monday - Friday, 9 am - 5 pm
Contact Information: Phone(415) 885-7285
Fax: (415) 885-3665
Location: 1600 Divisadero Street, Hospital Building, First Floor.

Peer Support

Although each person's experience is unique, many individuals find it helpful to talk to someone who has had or is currently in a similar situation. The Peer Support Program offers cancer patients the opportunity to speak to survivors or other veteran patients who have already "been there."

Social Work

All members of the Cancer Center social work program are also on the Symptom Management Service (SMS) team. The oncology social workers are available to meet individually with patients or with their families and significant others. They can support you with financial or family issues, the process of adapting to diagnosis and treatment, and developing coping strategies, and connecting you with community services. They also facilitate support groups. Whenever possible, they work with patients and families at various times in your care.

Social workers are available to meet with you and your family to discuss concerns such as:


  • How to apply for short or long-term disability income.
  • Understanding your insurance coverage.
  • Finding out about grant monies and other special programs that provide assistance to people with cancer.


  • Learning to cope with new feelings and worries that are common in people's journeys with cancer treatment.
  • Referrals to a psychologist or chaplain can also be made for additional counseling.

Family issues:

  • Get information from your social worker about care-giving, talking to children about illness, intimacy issues or other topics that arise when a loved one has cancer.

Common questions asked of oncology social workers are:

  • How do other people get through this?
  • I am terrified of starting chemotherapy. Do you have any suggestions as to how I can help myself deal better with the treatment?
  • What should I tell my children?
  • Should I be in touch with my child's school? How?
  • What do I tell my boss and co-workers? Will they treat me differently?
  • Do I need to think about disability leave?
  • How can I help my spouse cope?
  • What if I need help with transportation to some appointment?
  • I'm concerned about losing my health insurance. What should I do?
  • What kind of help can I get at home?

We encourage patients to meet with an oncology social worker and address any issues regarding cancer diagnosis and treatment. Social workers are familiar with many resources and strategies to help patients get through and beyound the cancer diagnosis. You may contact a social worker at (415) 353-9874.

Spiritual Care

Chaplains at the UCSF Medical Center at Mount Zion provide support to patients, family members, friends and staff members through Spiritual Care Services. Representing many faiths, the chaplains are available around-the-clock to offer spiritual and emotional support and to listen with openness, caring and understanding. To reach a chaplain, ask your nurse to page the on-call chaplain or call 415.353.1941.

A meditation room is also available to patients, family and friends for reflection, prayer, and meditation in the UCSF Mount Zion Hospital and Cancer Center. It is located in the main lobby at 1600 Divisadero, behind the front desk.

Support Groups

The Cancer Resource Center sponsors or facilitates many different support groups. Evidence suggests that a participating in a support group is helps foster a sense of community among people affected by cancer, and enhances well-being. The CRC offers a wide range of support groups, including one specifically focused on breast cancer support. Some groups require pre-registration, so it is important to call before your first meeting.

Symptom Management Service (SMS)

The Symptom Management Service (SMS) is a consultation service offered to improve the quality of life and care of patients at UCSF's Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. Patients can be referred to the SMS by their cancer doctor. Patients will be seen by one or more of the members of the SMS interdisciplinary team. The SMS provides treatment and counseling for both physical and emotional symptoms caused as a result of cancer.

The UCSF Psycho-Oncology Service at the Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center was established in 2007 and is staffed by Dianne Shumay PhD, a clinical psychologist and Laura Dunn MD, psychiatrist and Director of Psycho-oncology. The Psycho-oncology Service supports Cancer Center providers in identifying and addressing psychosocial distress in our patients and families affected by cancer.

Women's Health Resource Center

The Women's Health Resource Center (WHRC) at UCSF aims to "support women and their families in making informed decisions about their health and to encourage them to become active partners in their care." Located in the Women's Health building, the WHRC provides free information, resources and referrals for all women's health issues. The WHRC is the patient and community education arm of the UCSF National Center of Excellence in Women's Health. Visit the WHRC online for contact information and a comprehensive list of all their resources and services.