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Thursday, October 18, 2012

UCSF community says "It Gets Better!"

Often when talking to prospective students, I share that the admissions/selection process is simply trying to find students that make the best fit for our program -- based on what we offer, what the student can contribute, and what the student is looking for. As part of that discussion, I always encourage applicants to spend quality time researching each institution they are considering -- in order to get a strong sense of each school's values, commitments, priorities, and culture. 

One of the six goals in UCSF's Strategic Plan is:
Educate, train and employ a diverse faculty, staff and student body. Offering a wide range of educational and career opportunities for students, faculty and staff, UCSF seeks candidates whose life experience, work experience or community service has prepared them to contribute to UCSF’s commitment to diversity and excellence. Diversity is a defining feature of California’s past, present and future, and refers to the variety of personal experiences, values and worldviews that arise from differences in culture and circumstance. Such differences include race, ethnicity, gender, age, religion, language, abilities/disabilities, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status and geographic region, among others.
It's not surprising that UCSF's LGBTQ community rallied together to produce a video as part of the "It Gets Better" campaign. 

The video alone demonstrates the inclusive community that exists on campus but also UCSF's commitment to reaching out to the broader population. Read on....


UCSF’s LGBTQ Community Assures Teens That ‘It Gets Better’

University Contributes to Web Video Series Giving Hope to At-Risk Youth

By Leland Kim on October 11, 2012 
“Coming out” is an uncertain rite of passage for members of the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer or questioning) community.

To increase awareness about this often-difficult process, members of UCSF’s LGBTQ community created an “It Gets Better” video to commemorate UCSF's Diversity Week and National Coming Out Day on October 11.

Started in 1988 as a way to remember the October 1987 National March on Washington, D.C., for Lesbian and Gay Rights, National Coming Out Day has grown into an annual celebration of coming out and an opportunity to raise awareness of the LGBTQ community and civil rights movement.

Although there are no national data regarding suicide rates among the LGBT population (because sexual orientation is not included in death certificates), researchers found that LGBT teens and young adults have one of the highest rates of suicide attempts, according to a study published in the journal Pediatrics.

Barbara J. French“When you’re young, you really look outward for approval from your parents, your friends and your teachers,” said Barbara J. French, vice chancellor for UCSF Strategic Communications and University Relations, and the highest-ranking University leader who is openly gay. “Being gay, bisexual or transgender at that stage of life can be especially difficult because you can feel like you’re just not good enough.”

Persevering Through Difficult Times

UCSF’s four-minute video features more than 30 ethnically and culturally diverse UCSF faculty, staff, students and trainees – ranging in ages from 20s to 60s – who give resources and messages of hope to at-risk youth. It pays homage to the first “It Gets Better” video by focusing on a singular message told by a group of people: persevere through the difficult times because it truly does get better. 

UCSF Medical Center a Leader in LGBT-Inclusive Care 

UCSF Medical Center is the only institution in the United States to receive a perfect score on the national LGBT Healthcare Equality Index (HEI) for five consecutive years. The HEI annually invites health care facilities nationwide to rate themselves on providing equitable, inclusive care for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) patients and their families. The criteria call for health care facilities to have LGBT nondiscrimination policies that cover patients and employees, to provide equal hospital visitation access for same-sex partners and parents, and to offer LGBT health education for staff.
“We’re honored to join the family of ‘It Gets Better’ supporters with one more resource for the community,” said French, who in June 2012 was named by UC President Mark G. Yudof to co-lead a task force to examine and implement strategies for creating more welcoming and inclusive campus environments for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students, faculty and staff.

UCSF has many diverse services, including the LGBT Resource Center, one of the first LGBT offices in higher education. It falls under the jurisdiction of Renee Navarro, PharmD, MD, the University’s first vice chancellor of Diversity and Outreach.

Other LGBT-friendly services and groups at UCSF include the Lesbian Health Resource Center, the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on GLBT Issues, the Center for Transgender Health, the Gay Straight Dentistry Alliance, LGBTQ Student Association, the Committee on Campus Climate, Culture and Inclusion and Outlist, which contains more than 300 faculty, staff, students and trainees listed as resources for the community.

“UCSF has worked diligently and is committed to providing a safe, inclusive and supportive environment for the LGBTQ community,” Navarro said. “Much progress has been made; however, we recognize that more work needs to be done because coming out can still be a very difficult process.”

The original “It Gets Better” video, created by columnist Dan Savage for Google Chrome, became a YouTube viral video, logging more than 2.3 million views and spawning the It Gets Better Project in 2010. Since then, more than 30,000 people, including celebrities, elected officials and community groups, have uploaded videos that have received more than 40 million views.

UCSF joins other Bay Area leaders in creating an “It Gets Better” video, including the San Francisco Giants, the San Francisco 49ers, Facebook, Pixar and San Francisco General Hospital & Trauma Center.

“Your feelings are natural and they’re beautiful and they come from a place of love,” said French. "The most important thing is to continue to believe in yourself and don’t listen to what other people tell you because they don’t realize how beautiful you are. Just believe in yourself.”

Photo by Susan Merrell

Monday, October 15, 2012


This weekend, my friend Michele and I were driving up to Apple Hill near Placerville, CA. She was driving and I was playing on my iPad. I logged into this blog to correct a typo and was met with a nice surprise!  This little blog hit the "100,000 Page Views" mark over the weekend. Crazy! Who knew?!?! It's exciting to know that so many people have visited the blog -- hopefully the information has proven to be helpful.

P.S. The apples are delicious this time of year!

Top Students Tell Why They Chose UCSF

I love hearing why students (not just pharmacy students, but all students) chose to attend UCSF. The responses are always varied and can be quite revealing. This video captures the excitement during a recent orientation event. 
Source: UCSF News Center 

During the recent student orientation day at UCSF, Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellmann, MD, MPH, welcomed students from schools of dentistry, medicine, nursing and pharmacy and the Graduate Division to the health sciences university.

For Desmond-Hellmann, it's a chance to get out of her office and meet and greet first-year students for a fun afternoon full of optimism and hope.

"It's unbelievable, this combination of almost giddiness that here you are at UCSF and terror at realizing here you are at UCSF. It's just infectious to see their enthusiasm, their intelligence and their passion. It's really great," she said, describing the experience at her recent State of the University address.

One of UCSF's top goals is to attract and support the most talented and diverse trainees in the health sciences. This year, the graduate health sciences university welcomed 810 students from all around the world and from varied backgrounds. Some of them described why they chose to study at UCSF in this video capturing the spirit of the day.

Founded in 1864 as Toland Medical College, UCSF was devoted from the start to training the future leaders in health sciences and biomedical research, and remains the only campus in the 10-campus University of California system with that singular focus. As the University expanded its professional training, it also developed a strong commitment to interprofessional education and collaboration among the professions, as well as a commitment to the underserved and reducing health disparities around the world.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Class of 2016 - White Coat Ceremony

Today we white-coated members of the Class of 2016 in a beautiful ceremony. Prior to the actual ceremony, an official class photo is taken in one of the campus courtyards.  Inevitably, after the official photo, the class wants to create an "Rx" photo for fun. David Hand, a talented photographer who works in the School of Dentistry, and whose office is located on the 6th floor overlooking the courtyard, captured this stunning photo from his office. I just had to share...

UCSF Pharmacy Style (Gangnam Style Parody)

This was simply too brilliant NOT to post. The production is spot on. Kudos to Tony and Johnny!

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