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$2M Grant Will Galvanize COVID-19 Response at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital

Donation from Heising-Simons Foundation Supports Testing, Patient Care and Worker Safety at Leading Public Hospital


To help combat the public health crisis presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Heising-Simons Foundation has made a $2 million grant to UC San Francisco to establish a COVID Response Initiative at UCSF partner hospital Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center (ZSFG), a public hospital operated by the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH).

Despite California’s shelter-in-place mandate, the number of new COVID-19 cases is predicted to increase significantly in San Francisco in the coming weeks. Patients served by ZSFG who are homeless or unemployed, or who lack health insurance or documented immigration status, are especially vulnerable to the illness.

“For these patients, and all others served by the hospital, the new Response Initiative will increase access to diagnostic testing, expand clinical capacity, and support our entire care team at ZSFG to provide the highest level of treatment and service,” said ZSFG CEO Susan P. Ehrlich, MD, MPP.

For nearly 150 years, ZSFG has partnered with UCSF to provide the highest quality health care to San Franciscans in need. All ZSFG physicians are UCSF faculty, and UCSF students and medical residents train and provide care there. With resources provided by the new grant, these physicians and trainees will be able to better triage and treat COVID-19 patients who require hospitalization, and also create appropriate plans of care for those who do not. The grant will also support COVID-19 screening and on-site testing at ZSFG.

In addition, the new grant will help protect frontline healthcare workers, including nurses, respiratory technicians, and physicians, by increasing availability of the personal protective equipment, or PPE, required to treat COVID-19 patients safely.

“ZSFG has a long history of providing outstanding care to the people of San Francisco, regardless of their ability to pay or immigration status,” said Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, PhD, MD, MAS, vice dean for population health and health equity in the UCSF School of Medicine and a general internist at ZSFG. “UCSF is deeply committed to health equity and proud to partner with ZSFG in doing this work, which will be especially important during this COVID crisis.”

The Heising-Simons Foundation’s grant complements a recently launched collaboration between UCSF and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative that increased COVID-19 testing by expanding UCSF’s clinical laboratories into space adjacent to the CZ Biohub at Mission Bay. That lab is now conducting testing for patients at ZSFG and other sites operated by SFDPH.

Deanna Gomby, CEO and president of the Heising-Simons Foundation, said, “As we face this crisis of unknown magnitude, we know that Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center represents a unique and remarkable ability to provide treatment for the most vulnerable populations in California. We feel deeply appreciative of the national expertise and heroes working at UCSF right now, and the hope they bring us all.”

About UCSF:  UC San Francisco (UCSF) is exclusively focused on the health sciences and is dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care. UCSF Health, which serves as UCSF’s primary academic medical center, includes top-ranked specialty hospitals and other clinical programs, and has affiliations throughout the Bay Area.

About Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center (ZSFG): Part of the San Francisco Health Network, ZSFG is an essential component of San Francisco’s health care system, serving close to 110,000 patients each year and providing 20 percent of the city’s inpatient care. Recognized as one of the nation’s top hospitals, it serves the community with a full complement of inpatient, outpatient, emergency, diagnostic and psychiatric services for adults and children 24 hours a day. ZSFG is San Francisco’s safety net hospital, the city’s only trauma center and a top academic medical center, with medical staff from the faculty of internationally renowned UCSF. More information is available at

About the Heising-Simons Foundation: The Heising-Simons Foundation is a family foundation based in Los Altos and San Francisco, California. The Foundation works with its many partners to advance sustainable solutions in climate and clean energy, enable groundbreaking research in science, enhance the education of our youngest learners, and support human rights for all people. Learn more at

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