Community Care Fund
The Osher Center provides care for conditions common to the underserved, such as obesity, diabetes, cardiac disease, HIV, cancer, and chronic pain. At the Osher Center, patients consult with physicians who will tailor a program to each patient’s needs, drawing on acupuncture, massage, nutritional counseling, meditation, integrative psychotherapy, and other treatments we are developing.
Unfortunately, many patients who seek help at the Osher Center are not able to afford to pay for treatment. To respond to this need, the Center has developed a Community Care Fund. With a sliding scale fee structure, we carefully consider each patient’s resources so that more patients can receive care.
In keeping with UCSF’s tradition of providing access to healthcare to the greater Bay Area community, the Osher Center ensures that people suffering from serious or chronic medical problems can access the therapeutic and healing effects of integrative medicine, even if they have limited financial resources.
Our patient stories demonstrate the Osher Center’s approach to care and how life changing it can be for people. Patient names have been changed to protect privacy.
After an accidental head injury, Sandra experienced recurring migraine headaches,
nausea, and dizziness. Her symptoms were debilitating, but she was unable to
tolerate medications. Through the acupuncture and biofeedback treatments
covered by our Community Care Fund, she is feeling happy and healthy again.
“I learned that I could be a partner with my doctor and the nurses and with my dialysis. Brook has helped guide me to find solutions and answers. My attitude in every part of my life has changed.
~Duane, CCF Recipient
Duane is awaiting a kidney transplant, and until a donor match is made and he can have the replacement surgery, Duane requires dialysis three times per week for three hours and 45 minutes.
When Duane began his first dialysis session, he experienced a loss of freedom. Being connected to a machine left him feeling powerless, trapped and vulnerable. Missing doctor appointments to avoid hearing bad news and feeling angry at dialysis sessions, he knew he needed help with acceptance. A nurse referred him to the Osher Center, and with the aid of the Community Care Fund, Duane took his first step towards helping himself. “I never thought my body would break down or that I would need to ask for help, [but] …when I would leave dialysis, I would feel so vulnerable, so sad, so defeated. Unless I was able to deal with my problems with acceptance—that there was not much they would really be able to do to help me.”
At the Osher Center he met Brook Stone, MSW, LCSW. Working with Brook, Duane learned relaxation exercises and how to put things in a new perspective. Through guided imagery and relaxation techniques, Brook taught Duane techniques to deal with the anger and to approach dialysis differently. “I learned that I could be a partner with my doctor and the nurses and with my dialysis,” observed Duane. “Brook has helped guide me to find solutions and answers. My attitude in every part of my life has changed. When I leave [from a dialysis session], I take a walk in Golden Gate Park.”
“Acupuncture helped relieve my nausea and the practice of mindfulness helped me to live in the present moment. What I learned at the Osher Center was invaluable for managing my cancer.”
~Christina, CCF Recipient
.Christina, an 18-year old student living with cancer, came to the Osher Center after a recurrence.
She received acupuncture and nutritional care to cope with the side effects of her treatments, and she joined the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction group program to help with her fears. Her acupuncture treatments helped relieve her nausea, and the practice of mindfulness helped Christina to live in the present moment.
Over time, Christina’s cancer went into remission. She felt as though this bout with the disease gave her the opportunity to heal, and she was able to resume her life with much less fear. Today, Christina is a national spokesperson for children living with and beyond cancer.
“Acupuncture helped me sleep again. And my blood pressure is coming down because the people at the Osher Center look at my whole lifestyle. They helped me get my body in synch and break that downward spiral of pain and despair.”
~Adam, CCF Recipient
Adam came to the Osher Center seeking acupuncture to control his high blood pressure and chronic pain caused by an accident seven years before. Medication was not effective, his cardiologist was out of ideas, and Adam was unemployed. The Community Care Fund gave Adam a chance to climb out of this hole. “I had always been active and involved with people around me,” Adam recalled. “My health made me feel needy and useless. That’s changing now, and I’m so grateful to the Community Care Fund.”
Working with the Clinic’s physicians, Adam adopted a new diet and nutrition plan. Then he began Tai Chi and acupuncture treatments by Joseph Acquah, LAc, OMD. “I had not had a good night’s sleep in years, because of the pain,” Adam said. “Acupuncture helped me sleep again. And my blood pressure is coming down because the people at the Osher Center look at my whole lifestyle. They helped me get my body in synch and break that downward spiral of pain and despair. They gave me another chance at my life.” Last spring, after seven years of pain and isolation, Adam returned to work.