UCSF has long been a pioneer in women’s health, advancing bold strategies to transform our understanding of women’s health and illness: improving quality and innovation, enhancing compassion and coordination, and ensuring leadership and sustainable progress in the field.
In 1996, UCSF was designated one of the first six vanguard centers in the nation. Since then the UCSF Center of Excellence in Women’s Health (CoE) has harnessed the effort and expertise of the university’s researchers, clinicians and educators in collaboration with the wisdom and creativity of women and policy makers in our communities to advance health, well-being and health care for women.
We have an ambitious vision to incorporate sex and gender variables in all research from the basic science laboratory to clinical trials with both women and men, and in population studies. We work to expand awareness of these differences in the curriculum of future researchers and clinicians. We act on new evidence to create comprehensive and coordinated women’s health care, health policy, and public awareness. These strategies improve both care in traditional women’s health – for example, reproductive health, gynecology, obstetrics, and cancer – as well as in key underexplored conditions such as heart disease, mental health, and aging. It is only by reducing historical gaps in medical knowledge and disparities in care and outcomes, that our country will be able to provide the best, precise clinical care for both women and men.
Our model for change and goals are informed not only by discussions within UCSF and across the national network of Centers of Excellence in Women’s Health, but importantly by a robust dialogue with our community partners, who are wise and effective champions for the health and well-being of women and girls.
We believe that in order to accelerate transformational progress and sustain it, women must assume positions of leadership across the University in numbers at least equal to men. It is not enough, for example, that we admit comparable percentages of women and men into medical school (as we have been doing for decades), when the rate of women who serve as deans, department chairs, and division chiefs is far lower.
We fully anticipate that changing the face of leadership can change the quality of our professional and scientific culture and improve the decisions made by leadership teams. Institutional culture needs to promote diverse leadership with an inclusive climate and equitable resources in order for women and persons of color to be appointed and successful in leadership roles. The CoE’s approach includes examining both individual and systemic obstacles to the advancement of women in order to find where we can best facilitate change and promote success for women leaders. The CoE sees the need to enact programs beginning with adolescent women and continuing along the entire pipeline of the health care workforce.
Judy Young, MPH, Executive Director
Nancy Elgort, Operations Manager
Ramona Webb, Poet in Residence
Schyneida Williams, Community Engagement Coordinator