EVCP Expresso – December 2016

December 1, 2016

Dear Colleagues:

The end of another eventful year is near, and this was certainly one for the books. Britain decided to leave the EU. Brazil – in the midst of extreme adversity that included poverty, a Zika outbreak, and impeachment proceedings – stepped into the global limelight to host a spectacular Olympics that captured the hearts of millions. Closer to home, the Cubbies broke their 108-year-old curse. But sadly, we also experienced a year of shootings, the widening of deep, long-standing wounds, and most recently, a presidential campaign like no other that seemed as though it would never end – until it did.

In October, I pressed you to vote, vote, vote, and I wrote about “Political Advocacy: UC do’s and don’ts.” I used personal time during the days leading up to November 8 urging strangers in Sparks, Nevada, to do the same. On November 9, we confronted an entirely new world post-election, and now it has never been more important for us to care for one another and uphold our values, and to be proactive as things unfold. Chancellor Sam Hawgood and his entire leadership team have since made it a priority to demonstrate UCSF’s steadfast commitment to diversity, inclusion, and our UCSF PRIDE values, and recently sent an urgent email message and video reiterating that hate and intimidation have no place on our campuses.

That said this month begins on a bright note with UCSF hosting the 2016 Breakthrough Prize Symposium on December 5. This is the second time we have had the honor to host this prestigious event, involving the top scientists from around the country engaged in the most impactful and creative research and discovery.

This Expresso includes resources related to embarking on international collaborations. Also, I will share my thoughts post-election and revisit some of the stories we have brought you since Expresso’s launch.

Let me know if there’s something in particular you would like me to highlight in Expresso in 2017. Please write to me at [email protected].

Until then, I wish you a very peaceful and happy holiday season.




Going Global: Navigating the ins and outs of international affiliations

UCSF, as you know, has a global mission, and our reputation is world-renowned. One-fourth of all research at UCSF is international. Not only do our faculty and students travel the world to help people in other countries, and not only do the therapies and discoveries made on our campus help people in all corners of the globe, but people from all over the world come to our university to study, teach, and conduct research in support of that mission – but it’s an involved process, so where to begin?

In terms of EVCP resources, my first stop would be the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO), led by Brian Groves. The ISSO team helps arrange visas for people coming from abroad, and the ISSO is the liaison to federal government agencies in all immigration matters affecting UCSF. According to Brian, UCSF is one of the top fifteen universities in the country for international researchers – more than half of our postdocs come from other countries! The ISSO website is your main resource for navigating the requirements and special considerations for bringing in students, postdocs, or scholars from other countries.

Related to this, we are engaged in an effort to help ease the challenges of finding short-term housing for our international visitors. Initiated by my EVCP predecessor, Jeff Bluestone, the Office of the EVCP maintains a furnished, three-bedroom/two-bathroom, short-term apartment within the UCSF Mission Bay housing complex. The ISSO oversees availability and reservations; rates are one room for $50 per night or the entire apartment for $150 per night. Minimum stay is two weeks; maximum is three months. That’s a subsidized rate and much lower than you’ll find anywhere else in our fair city.

The apartment already has proven significant for several collaborations, Brian notes, including one with Shantou University in China, which sends researchers every spring. Despite the appeal, the apartment is underutilized, and if we can’t keep it filled year-round it becomes unsustainable, so please encourage your unit administrators to take advantage of this resource on behalf of your international visitors.

Coming soon to the EVCP website is a set of templates that will help guide UCSF faculty, departments, and schools who wish to set up international institutional affiliations. The EVCP office has been working to develop the templates with Jean Jones of Government and Business Contracts and Darnele Wright from Legal Affairs.

Although I am focusing on resources directly under the purview of the EVCP office, it goes without saying that an invaluable resource for everyone interested in global health is UCSF Global Health Sciences, which has over 260 affiliated faculty and a huge portfolio of research and educational activities aimed at improving health and reducing the burden of disease in the world’s most vulnerable populations.

And now it’s time for you to describe the ways in which UCSF can help with your international affiliations. Your input is very important to assess needs and identify goals. Please respond here with the following information:

  • Your own individual or program/unit needs with respect to international work. What type of service or administrative function would improve your ability to do global health research, training, or clinical work? Please comment on specific issues like affiliation needs, rather than general statements like “more money!”
  • The UCSF mission statement is advancing health worldwide. What does that mean to you? Please help us shape our international approach by listing your two most important goals for UCSF international work, and then one or two strategies for each goal. We will be evaluating your responses with stakeholders from across the campus, including Global Health Sciences.

In future issues of Expresso, I’ll provide additional information and other resources for doing global health work at UCSF.

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Processing and Sharing: Thoughts in the wake of the election

After the stunning results of the election over three weeks ago, it’s no surprise that the topic is dominating conversations everywhere – at work-related meetings, chance encounters in the hallway or the gym, and check-ins with family and friends. The nature of the campaign and the final outcome are easily without precedent in my own lifetime, and I am still processing what happened. From that perspective, let me share a few thoughts with you…

First, I want to reiterate what UCSF’s leadership conveyed to the entire community on November 10. We really meant what we said: that we realize many people are feeling personally vulnerable because of the rhetoric expressed during the election season; that “we are committed, morally, strategically, and financially to ensure that UCSF leads the way in achieving a culture where differences are celebrated as essential to our strength; where equity is prized as a core value; where inclusion is viewed as the enduring quality of our communities”; and that we are here for you and intend to fully support you.

Second, the election was a wake-up call for me. I fully realize that we live in a bubble in the Bay Area, and that the dominant (but by no means exclusive) political sentiments are rather left of center. Thus, many of us focus our attention on issues of poverty, lack of healthcare, homelessness, climate change, structural racism, globalization, and the like.  But what I have not fully appreciated are the distress and dashed hopes that millions of people feel, especially those in the Rust Belt, and their desperate need for change. The map below from The New York Times, which depicts the shift in voting across the country from 2012 (red more Republican, blue more Democrat), conveys an important aspect of the story:

Based on what I have read and the people I met while canvassing for the election in Nevada, I have a better understanding. After eight years during which many people saw little direct improvement in their own lives, they were willing to put aside their objections to personal characteristics and go with the candidate who promised the most dramatic change from the past – a similar desire for change and hope seen in 2008. This also serves as a reminder that there are folks of all political inclinations within our community and that, while we reject the hateful rhetoric of the campaign, we benefit from having an ongoing, respectful dialogue that includes the full spectrum of viewpoints.

Third, we must not let the relative lull that always comes in the aftermath of an election disconnect us from what we witnessed over the past year, or foster complacency or inattentiveness as a new government takes shape. I truly hope the news from Washington will become more heartening, but I plan to be vigilant regardless.

And, as my friend and colleague Liz Watkins, graduate dean and vice chancellor of Student Academic Affairs, put it so well, “We must not let the rhetoric and behavior of the past year become the new normal. It’s not normal to mistreat women. It’s not normal to fear Muslims and immigrants. It’s not normal to be dismissive of science.” Now, in this time of transition, it has never been more vital for each of us to uphold the values of UCSF.

Fourth, what should we do? I’ve thought a lot about this, and offer the following suggestions:

  • Eat, breathe, and live the UCSF PRIDE values to your fullest ability, every minute of every day. Please take a moment to read through them – and while you are doing this, reflect on how these values compare to what we saw on the national stage over the past year. These are the values that make our community supportive, respectful, inclusive, dignified, creative, and generative, and that enable us to collectively achieve greatness and make the world a better place. They need to be embraced by the entire nation, so let’s be an example of how it is done.
  • Seize the power of words. Use your voice – spoken, written, and through art and other activities – to convey what you feel about the shifting winds or an altered landscape.
  • Be an ally. I wrote about this in the November 2015 issue of Expresso, and it is more important than ever. There are members of our community, including the patients we serve, let alone many other people in California and beyond, who are really hurting as a result of the rhetoric that is counter to our values, and who are understandably troubled by what might happen in the months and years ahead. Each of us needs to look out for every member of our community, recognize the disquiet and fear, speak up and act upon injustice, and commit to protecting one another.
  • Get involved in organized efforts at the local, state, and national level. (Please refer to the Expresso story on political advocacy for more on the rules and responsibilities that govern our actions as public employees.)

In the midst of confusion and uncertainty, we must remain attentive, engaged, and hopeful. Onward!

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It’s a Wrap! Expresso in review

The first issue of Expresso was sent September 2015 with my commitment to bring you a unique perspective from my post as EVCP. Over the past fifteen months, I hope that some of the topics have resonated or helped you with work, your work-life balance, and most of all, identified areas that you may not have known about. While more is in store for 2017, I’m highlighting below a few stories that I think are important to revisit and perhaps even read again. Updates are included as available, and all can be accessed from the EVCP Expresso website.

I’ll begin with what I consider the most important, especially given our current national landscape.

Diversity and inclusion

Life – it happens, and it’s critical that we support each other. Below are stories that are meant to help make life a little easier when it’s not going quite the way we want.

Work-life and well-being

  • Help is here: Time-out for faculty and staff

    Update: Since November 9, the Faculty Staff Assistance Program (FSAP) has seen a steady stream of people who have been deeply affected by the outcome of the election — reacting with worry, dismay, anger, disillusionment, and fear about the future. They also have received and responded to numerous requests to participate in town halls and other gatherings aimed at addressing the community-wide reactions. Director Andrew Parker reminds us that FSAP is a non-partisan resource open to all.

  • #It’sOkayTo: How are our students?

    Update: Dr. Susan Rosen, director of Student Health and Counseling Services (SHCS), wrote to inform us that at the Parnassus and Mission Bay locations, there are posters from the “It’s Okay To” campaign displayed with an entire wall of paper with colored pens available. Students engage every day in adding to this wall display by completing the sentence “it’s okay to….” The paper is filled with wonderful statements. SHCS will continue the display and may alternate it with the posters from a previous initiative that answered the question, “How do you take care of your mental health?”

  • In a pinch: Back-up child and elder care – little known resources

    Update: A significant change is the new and improved myfamily.ucsf.edu. There you will find information about several family services for members of the UCSF community: 1) Enrollment for eligible faculty participants in the Bright Horizons Family Solutions Back-up Care Program. There is plenty of time to access care (up to ten days) through June 30, 2017. Program performance has been enhanced by recruiting new providers to help meet UCSF's demand for back-up care on peak days. 2) Family Services also added back-up care access during summer months for school-age children at Steve & Kate’s Camp (Alvarado School/Noe Valley and Santa Clara locations only). 3) Coming in January 2017, Sittercity and Years Ahead will announce new benefits that may be of interest to faculty who are seeking long-term child care enrollment and are living outside of San Francisco. More information including potential discounts will be available at myfamily.ucsf.edu in January.

  • Getting from here to there: Intra-campus transit and North Bay commute options

    Update: Transportation Services Director Erick Villalobos informed us that the most dramatic adjustment to the UCSF shuttle system was to the RED shuttle service that connects Mission Bay, Mission Center, and 16th Street BART station. Frequency increased to ninety-one departures per day, representing a forty percent increase in service since the Mission Bay Hospital opening in January 2015. In September 2016, a new RED-LIMITED shuttle was added to provide additional service and safety between Mission Center and 16th Street BART. In addition, UCSFPD, SFPD, and SF City Homeless Advocates collaborated to assist with outreach efforts to the community living in tents surrounding the Mission Center area and created a recommended “walking corridor” between Mission Center and 16th Street BART. Scoot, all-electric scooter pods, is up and running at Parnassus Heights and Mission Bay with a robust demand at both locations, and additional Scoot pods are coming spring 2017. UCSF also completed transition of previously UCSF-owned and operated vanpools to vRide resulting in lower fares for participants, increased demand, and creation of new vanpools.

And then there were the stories about navigating the rules as an academic, public inspection of our records, and yes, a preliminary attempt to demystify indirect costs.

Research and life as an academic

Finally, several of you have told me that you go straight to my monthly tip – here’s a complete listing. Have a new favorite album, movie, or book? Please let me know – I’d love to check it out.

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Dan’s Tip of the Month

Gleason movie posterInterested in an uplifting tearjerker film brimming with humor and a lot of heart that isn’t tied to the holidays? (If you don’t shed some tears over this one, check your hydration status.) I recommend watching the documentary Gleason about New Orleans Saints safety Steve Gleason’s life and mission after being diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Witness his determination to pursue life adventures and become a father despite his diagnosis, and to challenge the worlds of technology and science to develop new treatments and assistive devices. The unwavering fortitude and support shown by his wife Michel is especially moving, as is the cathartic role her artistry plays as she seeks solace in the face of adversity.

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