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Confronting COVID-19: Donors' Generosity Put to Use at Lightning Speed Across UCSF

By Susan Godstone | | April 9, 2020

Confronting COVID-19: Donors' Generosity Put to Use at Lightning Speed Across UCSF

As COVID-19 continues to kill thousands of Americans and infect even more, UC San Francisco experts are driven to seek solutions to one of the most significant health challenges affecting the whole world.

Recognizing that UCSF is on the front line of the Bay Area’s response to this global pandemic, more than 600 donors have made gifts to the UCSF COVID-19 Response Fund to bolster our efforts. The fund has raised more than $20 million since it launched in early March and is supporting efforts like 3D printing of face shields for health care workers, providing infectious-disease experts with the resources to staff their COVID-19 testing labs, and determining the impact of the coronavirus on mothers and newborn babies.

Vigorously embracing their leadership roles, our faculty members are coming together to tackle this public health crisis from all angles.

Here’s a snapshot of what the University has done in only a few short weeks.

Collaborating to Build Capacity, Bridge Health Disparities

As part of a citywide response, UCSF Health partnered with hospitals across the City of San Francisco to prepare for an anticipated surge in patients suffering from coronavirus complications.

Donations to the COVID-19 Response Fund helped UCSF build out a new COVID-19 facility at Saint Francis Memorial Hospital that includes 40 hospital beds and an eight-bed intensive-care unit. In addition to medical staff, UCSF is enlisting nurse leadership to help replicate the staffing model used for the UCSF COVID-19 unit at Parnassus Heights. The Saint Francis facility results from a collaboration between the Hospital Council, the San Francisco Department of Public Health, Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center (ZSFG), Dignity Health and UCSF Health.

A grant to UCSF from the Heising-Simons Foundation reflects UCSF’s public mission and commitment to health equity. This gift and others are funding a response initiative at ZSFG to increase access to COVID-19 diagnostic testing, expand clinical capacity, and support the care team. Patients served by ZSFG who could be homeless or unemployed, or who lack health insurance or documented immigration status, are especially vulnerable to the coronavirus because they don’t always have shelter, and staying healthy is typically only one of many challenges they face.