UCSF Division of Geriatrics 25th Anniversary Celebration - Letter from Our Chief

It is astounding to see how far the division has come since 1997, when we only had two geriatricians and both were based at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs (SFVA) Medical Center. Today, I’m incredibly proud to share that we have grown to 120 faculty members, fellows, and staff across all campuses (Mission Bay, Parnassus, SFVA, ZSFG).  We remain committed and focused on our work to optimize aging and improve the well-being of older adults through outstanding clinical care, education, and research. Below I share highlights for each of our mission areas over the past 25 years, and please visit: geriatrics.ucsf.edu/ucsf-25th-anniversary.

Patient Care Mission 

  • We implemented Acute Care for Elders (ACE) Units and Geriatric Emergency Departments at our three major hospitals (SFVA, Parnassus and ZSFG). This enabled us to establish multiple Age Friendly Health System protocols and policies that optimize the care of patients, especially those who have dementia.  
  • We expanded our clinical care partnerships across more than 20 fields and subspecialties, including Dermatology, Emergency Medicine, HIV, Hospital Medicine, Integrative Medicine, Neurology, Nursing, Oncology, Orthopedic Surgery, Palliative Medicine, Pulmonary, Psychiatry, Vascular Surgery, and Urology.
  • We formed a partnership in Geriatric Medicine with the San Francisco Campus for Jewish Living.

This allows UCSF geriatricians to provide exceptional post-acute medical care at the Jewish Home and Rehab Center to our patients who need short-stay rehabilitation after hospitalization, speeding recovery.   

Education Mission

  • We founded the UCSF Tideswell Emerging Leaders in Aging Program. This is a one-year interdisciplinary experience for early and mid-career professionals who are looking to advance their leadership skills for clinical, education, policy, and research initiatives in aging. We have trained 131 scholars across 29 states.
  • We developed a novel Integrated Geriatrics Palliative Care Fellowship to train doctors with dual expertise in Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine. Each year we recruit stellar candidates into our fellowship programs.
  • We launched Dementia Care Aware. This is a statewide, multi-site program that aims to improve the lives of people living with dementia and the people who support them – which received a $23M award from the California State Department of Health Care Services.

Research Mission 

  • We grew our Geriatrics research funding from <$1M in 1997 to >$16M in 2022, and grew our programs to train more than 20 fellows annually. This speaks to our strength as a national leader in aging research.
  • We are a Claude D. Pepper Center for Aging Research (one of 15 programs across the US). This recognition is bestowed to centers of excellence in geriatrics research and leaders in aging science.
  • We were awarded by the National Institute on Aging to pursue the DEVELOP AD Research Program Project.

In collaboration with Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, this joint endeavor aims to understand the factors that impact outcomes for persons with dementia and their caregivers, and how to provide better care.

Lastly, U.S. News & World Report has ranked UCSF as one of the Top 10 Hospitals in Geriatrics since 2017.

Thank YOU for your belief in and instrumental support of our work. Happy Holidays!     


Louise C. Walter, MD