I am delighted to return to UC San Diego Health Sciences at a time when we are launching several major initiatives that will help us realize our promise as one of the nation’s truly great academic medical centers.
When I left UC San Diego 15 years ago for the University of North Carolina, this was already an exciting place with outstanding clinicians and staff, a robust research enterprise, and some of the brightest students, residents, and fellows.
One of the biggest changes since I have been gone has been the incredible surge in community engagement and support for the university, which has contributed to our ability to expand and improve our programs and facilities.
The buildings I recall from my earlier years with names like “Basic Science Building,” “Clinical Teaching Facility” and “Outpatient Center” are an example of such engagement and growth. Today, we have Jacobs Medical Center and Perlman Ambulatory Care Center, Leichtag Biomedical Research Building, Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Palade Laboratories, Stein Clinical Research Facility, Gildred Facility, Shiley Eye Institute, and the newest jewel in our crown, the Moores Cancer Center. I’m hoping that soon we will be able to add a modern education building to this constellation of centers that honor the visionary leaders who have chosen to participate in our important missions.
These state-of-the-art facilities, and many other examples of philanthropy including a variety of named endowments, patient units and research centers, represent a commitment to UC San Diego that has been vitally important to our success.
This commitment in turn benefits patients, from the tiniest infants in our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, to the critically ill and injured patients desperately hoping to return to healthy, productive lives. Countless patients and their families owe their gratitude and even their lives not only to the UC San Diego providers who cared for them, and those pursuing a better way to manage and treat disease, but also to the generous donors who make our work possible.
When I first began exploring the Vice Chancellor position at UC San Diego several months ago, I was also excited about plans that had been formulated to develop a true 21st Century academic medical center. We have had a dream of establishing a major university hospital on the UC San Diego campus since the School of Medicine was first founded in the 1960s, and now, the wheels are in motion.
Later this year we will break ground on the Sulpizio Family Cardiovascular Center, an important addition to our UC San Diego Medical Center-East Campus complex. And, we are planning a new 150-bed East Campus inpatient tower, which will give us needed hospital capacity to anchor a complex of clinical centers of excellence, right in the heart of San Diego’s biomedical research and biotech cluster.
Our Hillcrest medical center continues to be an important regional center for patient care, clinical research and training, and we are investing in major improvements and expansion at our Hillcrest campus as well.
In addition, through collaborations with the Veterans Affairs Healthcare System, the Rady Children’s Hospital, and the Community Clinics; with our stem cell research partners in the San Diego Center for Regenerative Medicine, and with many, many others, we are helping to put this region on the map as a world-class center for health care and research. As this network of partnerships grows stronger, the level of care, quality of research and educational opportunities is also strengthened.
The future is bright. I am enthusiastic about rejoining my San Diego friends and colleagues to accomplish great things for my “alma mater.” With the help of enlightened community and industry leaders, there is absolutely no doubt that we can create a premier academic medical center that delivers outstanding care, that is a nationally recognized center for clinical research and specialized services, and that attracts and prepares the best students and trainees to become the practitioners of tomorrow.
David A. Brenner, MD
Vice Chancellor, UC San Diego Health Sciences
Dean, UC San Diego School of Medicine