January 3, 2023
It is with great excitement that I start 2023 with a new role: Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost (EVCP). I sought this position because I am continuously inspired by the tremendously talented faculty, staff, and learners in all mission areas, schools, and divisions at UCSF. During my career, I have been a faculty member at six different universities—both private and public—and I can say with confidence that UCSF stands out as an institution committed to advancing equity and anti-oppression in all domains; supporting teamwork and collaboration to achieve scientific, health care, and educational excellence; and designing and continuously improving systems to transform the way we work, learn, care, and discover. I made the decision during the pandemic that UCSF would be my career home. It is my goal as the EVCP to partner with you all to support the current work that the UCSF community does as well as to increase the impact we can have on the future of biomedical science, health care, health professions and science education, and community service.
I have spent time with former EVCP Dan Lowenstein, Executive Director Clarice Estrada, and Associate Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Janhavi Bonville to learn about the breadth of work done by the EVCP office. I am looking forward to meeting each of you in the coming weeks, beginning with individual meetings with the executive leaders of each unit then group meetings with all staff in each unit. In these meetings, I want to hear about the great work you are doing, current challenges you are facing that we can address together, and your ideas/hopes for the future.
We will have plenty of time to learn about each other in our meetings. I’d like to start with a summary of how I view our work at UCSF.
- Generating Knowledge: Advancing health worldwide will require us to support and connect the best minds and teams in a multitude of different disciplines and areas of research focus—from curiosity-driven basic science that unlocks the mysteries of biologic systems to scholarly work in sociology and public policy that identifies systems failures, which increase the likelihood of disease in our communities, to engineering and data science that will help us transform our work.
- Disseminating Knowledge: A key aspect of our work is to educate the health professional and health sciences workforce that our state and nation needs. This requires us to anticipate the problems that the next generation of UCSF health professionals and scientists will be called upon to solve and to recruit and train them to be ready to solve them. We will work with all schools and the Graduate Division to envision and educate that workforce for our state and beyond.
- Advancing Anti-Oppression to Support all our People: The EVCP office must work with all campus leaders to accelerate our work in combating systems of oppression and discrimination so all faculty, staff, and learners thrive and are professionally successful and respected for the contributions that they make to our institution. This will require both learning and unlearning for all of us, as well as critically evaluating our legacy systems, policies, and procedures that may need redesign to meet the dynamic academic and health care environment in which we work.
- Translating Knowledge: I came to my leadership roles in medicine with a commitment to ensure that every patient has access to the type of physician that we would want to care for us or a loved one. The tremendous health systems with which we work, from UCSF Health to ZSFG, the San Francisco VA Health Care System, and Fresno-based Community Health Systems, are where we can fulfill these promises, with faculty, staff, and learners who provide care based on our scientific discovery, in a manner that they have been educated to do by UCSF schools and the Graduate Division, in alignment with our core PRIDE Values. This is the best of academic health care. We must partner to support and value excellence in providing clinical care as we do excellence in research, education, and community service.
- Solving Wicked Problems: I believe that most of our unsolved problems are complex adaptive (or ‘wicked’) problems that have no easy solutions. These types of problems require careful work to truly understand the nature of the problem before turning to short-term tactical solutions that may not address the real issue. It is my hope that through disciplined problem solving approaches modeled in systems thinking, the EVCP office will be a resource for solving the many complex problems in front of us.
I hope that all of you had a restful holiday season and are looking forward to a peaceful 2023. I will be spending my first sixty days meeting with all of you as well as with core institutional leaders and stakeholders. I want to thank all of you in advance for supporting my learning during this transition and look forward to many strategic and generative conversations in support of the work we do to advance health and the biomedical sciences.
Catherine R. Lucey, MD
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost
University of California, San Francisco