Vision, Mission, Values, and History

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Our Vision
  • To nurture health and inspire well-being in all people
Our Mission

We are committed to:

  • Providing the highest quality healthcare by blending proven conventional and complementary medicine approaches from around the world.
  • Producing outstanding integrative health leaders through transformative education and training.
  • Advancing the science of integrative health by conducting and disseminating rigorous research.
Our Values
  • Whole-person care:
    Our comprehensive, team-based approach acknowledges all aspects of each individual—body, mind, and spirit.
  • Equity:
    We welcome and respect all people, value diversity, and strive for inclusivity. We are committed to improving integrative healthcare for members of medically underserved communities.
  • Compassion:
    We foster empathy and attend to the influence of social, cultural, and historical contexts on health, health behaviors, and access to healthcare.
  • Collaboration:
    We promote interprofessional teamwork among our clinicians, educators, and researchers, and build partnerships across UCSF and internationally.
  • Focus on wellness:
    We emphasize health promotion and illness prevention, as well as treatment of disease.
  • Empowerment:
    We provide resources and tools that cultivate resilience and engage each person’s unique healing abilities.
Our History: UCSF and Integrative Medicine

Established in 1864, the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) is a world-renowned center of science, scholarship, and health care, with 4,000 graduate students, 1,000 postdoctoral fellows, and 15,200 faculty and staff, including an internationally acclaimed team of scientists and physicians.  From the discovery of cancer-causing oncogenes, to the first successful fetal surgery, to the revolutionary cloning of DNA, UCSF has earned a reputation of the highest caliber for excellence in research, teaching, and patient care.

In 1998, under the visionary leadership of Dean Haile Debas and support from the Bernard Osher Foundation, UCSF established the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine.

Dr. Debas felt that UCSF, as one of the top-ranked biomedical research and teaching institutions in this country, needed to take the lead in researching complementary and alternative therapies, educating its doctors so that they could help advise their patients about these approaches and providing a clinical service that integrated these therapies into care.

Under the leadership of Dr. Ellen Hughes, who served as acting director from 1998-2001, and Dr. Susan Folkman, who served as the founding director from 2001-2009, the Center became one of the leading programs in the world. Today, the Osher Center operates a campus-wide multidisciplinary research and training program in integrative medicine at UCSF, and the clinic at the Osher Center provides an optimal healing environment for patients, and a wealth of approaches for individuals and families seeking health and wellness.

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