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UCSF Chancellor Announces Health Sciences Education Initiative

By Patricia Yollin | | April 26, 2012

UCSF Chancellor Announces Health Sciences Education Initiative

UCSF Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellmann talks with a graduating student after delivering her 2012 commencement address in which she announced the launch of a $100 million health sciences education initiative to support students and teaching.

UCSF Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellmann, MD, MPH, announced a four-year $100 million fund-raising initiative during her April 24 speech marking the beginning of commencement season at the University.

Last year, the chancellor and her husband, Nicholas Hellmann, MD, had jump-started the initiative, the first of its kind at UCSF, with a $1 million gift for professional student scholarships to be divided four ways among the schools of dentistry, medicine, nursing and pharmacy. That money has doubled, thanks to matching donations from alumni.

“With that kind of generosity, I’m very confident we’ll reach our $100 million goal,” said Desmond-Hellmann, who explained that she and her husband — who met as residents at UCSF — were embarrassed to make their gift public but did so to encourage matching gifts.

The initiative, aimed at offsetting diminished state funding, is designed to support students and teaching. It includes $80 million in new scholarships and $20 million for curriculum innovation, interprofessional education and teaching facilities.

During her speech that was webcast live from the Parnassus campus, Desmond-Hellmann spoke passionately about the importance of UCSF’s public mission.

“We are deeply proud of everything we do to give back to the community, the state, the nation and the world,” she said. “Educational access and affordability are an essential part of that public commitment, and we need to continue to attract the best, the brightest and the most diverse students regardless of their financial circumstances. And we must make it possible for every student to realize their dreams.”

She wants students to fulfill those dreams not only during their time at UCSF, but also after commencement, no matter where they choose to work.

“A student should be able to pursue a dream of treating patients at San Francisco General Hospital, or one of the community clinics in the city and county of San Francisco, or in a sub-Saharan African village, or anywhere in the world where patient care or research brings them,” she said. “... It’s all good and it shouldn’t be encumbered by debt or thoughts of paying back large student loans.”