Mission & History

images-17Our Mission

We offer a dynamic approach to health, healing and prevention by integrating modern medicine with established practices from around the world.

Our mission is to transform the way medicine is practiced and health is promoted by:

  • Conducting rigorous research to better understand integrative and complementary healing practices and how they exert their health effects
  • Educating medical students, health professionals and the public about these practices
  • Creating new integrative models of clinical care that combine modern medicine, healthier lifestyle practices and established healing approaches emphasizing prevention, patient empowerment and whole person healing.

The UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine is translating science into health and discovery into care.

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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