The Vision


During the first months of 2013, UCSF leadership looked at the progression of translating research findings into clinical care, and found that the School of Medicine and UCSF Medical Center had developed separately from each other. These independent programs grew independently even though both groups have very similar missions.

“Currently, a disconnect exists between the wealth of scientific advances in research and the incorporation of this information into the clinic… Overall, opportunities are being missed to understand, diagnose, and treat diseases more precisely, and to better inform health care decisions.”
Desmond-Hellman, Former Chancellor and co-Chair of the NRC Committee report on Precision Medicine


After stepping back, it became clear that the different cultures and priorities of the groups working on genomic medicine resulted in fragmentation and communication difficulties between groups that needed to be working closely together.

The rapidly advancing field of genomic medicine was particularly affected by this fragmentation. The newness of the field, combined with the range of research and clinical experts that need to work closely to provide top-tier patient care. Given the potential power of genomic medicine and the range of genetic expertise in the UCSF research community, the decision was made to refocus researchers and clinicians.


In May of 2013, School of Medicine Dean Sam Hawgood, MBBS and Executive Vice-Chancellor and Provost, Jeffrey Bluestone, PhD appointed Robert Nussbaum, MD, a medical geneticist, to Director of the Genomic Medicine Initiative (GMI). They facilitated collaboration between researchers and clinicians to bring a robust Genomic Medicine service to UCSF patients.


In August 2015, Pui-Yan Kwok, MD, PhD and Neil Risch, PhD began leading the GMI. They lead a multi-disciplinary group of experts in genetics and genomics. Ongoing initiatives include high-throughput sequencing to power cancer testing and undiagnosed disease diagnostics.