Fall 2014

UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital and Children's Hospital Oakland Complete Affiliation

UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital and Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland have affiliated, becoming the largest network of children's medical providers in Northern California, including a coordinated network of pediatric care from the Oregon border to San Luis Obispo and as far east as Reno, Nev.

Combined impact of the affiliation:

  • 23 locations throughout Northern California
  • Among top 10 largest children's health care providers in the country when the new UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital opens in Mission Bay in 2015
  • More than 800 pediatricians and pediatric specialists delivering specialized care daily
  • More than 65 pediatric medical specialities and subspecialties, including transplant, sickle cell, orthopedics, neurology, cardiology, asthma and diabetes
  • Recipient of second gift of $100 million from Lynne and Marc Benioff

The affiliation strengthens the hospitals' abilities to meet marketplace expectations, including the Affordable Care Act. It will provide better health care value to consumers through higher quality care, lower costs and more coordinated access to services at hospital locations on both sides of the Bay, as well as medical facilities throughout Northern California.

In recognition of the two hospitals' affiliation, Children's Hospital Oakland is now named UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland, and UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital is now named UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital San Francisco. Together, the hospitals will be named UCSF Benioff Children's Hospitals.

UCSF Creates First Online Registry to Study Brain Disease

UCSF has designed the first-of-its-kind online tool to advance researchers' understanding of neuroscience and brain disease, including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury and depression. The Brain Health Registry will create a ready pool of thousands of pre-qualified research subjects, serving as an online, open-door clearinghouse for brain researchers around the world, who can access subjects they want to tap for studies. This will help dramatically cut the cost and time normally devoted to recruiting patients, which accounts for an estimated one-third of the overall expense of running a clinical trial.

Participants 18 years and older who join the free registry are asked to complete a 20-minute online questionnaire and then play simple online games, giving a "snapshot" of their health and brain performance. Every three to six months, participants are prompted to answer more questions and take more tests.

In the near future, qualified scientists will have access to the data generated by the project to analyze, and to test existing or new hypotheses related to such things as diagnoses, illness pathways and aging impacts. For more information, visit the Brain Health Registry.

E-Cigarettes Aren't As Harmless As First Believed

In the first comprehensive scientific review on e-cigarettes, UCSF scientists found that smokers who used electronic cigarettes were about a third less likely to quit smoking than those who did not use them, despite industry claims that the device is an effective smoking cessation tool.

The UCSF scientists also found that while data is still limited, e-cigarette emissions are not merely "harmless water vapor," as is frequently purported, and can be a source of indoor air pollution. Short-term exposure studies of e-cigarette use show a negative impact on lung function and bystanders absorb nicotine from passive exposure to e-cigarette aerosol, the authors report. Recent research also demonstrated that experienced e-cigarette users can attain nicotine absorption similar to that with conventional cigarettes.

The scientists analyzed 84 research studies on e-cigarettes and other related scientific materials. The paper was published in the May 12, 2014 issue of the American Heart Association's journal Circulation.

The Fontana Tobacco Treatment Center

The Fontana Tobacco Treatment Center at UCSF Medical Center offers smoking cessation classes with health care professionals trained in treating tobacco addiction. To refer a patient or for more information, call registered nurse and tobacco treatment specialist Suzanne Harris at (415) 885-7895. Learn more about the Fontana Tobacco Treatment Center.

New Clinic for Children with Eosinophilic Gastrointestinal Disorders

Eosinophilic gastrointestinal disorders (EGID) are a group of chronic conditions in which eosinophils are found in higher than normal amounts in the gastrointestinal tract. This can be due to food allergies, parasitic infections and drug reactions, resulting in inflammation and tissue damage of the gastrointestinal tract. First identified in the 1980's, EGIDs are still largely misunderstood and often misdiagnosed in children in part because symptoms mimic other gastrointestinal conditions. Researchers do know that food allergies are the main cause of certain EGIDs.

The Eosinophilic Gastrointestinal Disorders Clinic at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital San Francisco is the first and only clinical program of its kind in Northern California dedicated to the care and research of EGID. The program provides long-term, multidisciplinary care from experts in pediatric gastroenterology, allergy and nutrition during the same visit. Conditions treated include eosinophilic esophagitis, eosinophilic colitis and eosinophilic gastroenteritis. Research aims to identify underlying causes of EGID, develop non-invasive biomarkers of disease activity and new therapies.

To refer a patient or for more information, call the UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Access Center at (877) 822-4453 (877-UC-CHILD). Patients must have a confirmed diagnosis of EGID to be seen at the clinic. Referrals without a diagnosis of EGID will be seen in the Gastrointestinal Clinic by program director, Dr. Elizabeth Yen. Learn more about the Eosinophilic Gastrointestinal Disorders Clinic.