Message From the Chair

Meeting the Challenge of COVID-19

Andrew H. Murr, MDAs I write this message, we are headed toward June 2020. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have dramatically created a once-in-a-century alteration in our ability to provide medical care.

The onslaught confronting our society has been profound. The power of nature has humbled our best efforts to engineer health care controls into society. The unprecedented economic havoc wrought by the virus has yet to be appropriately managed.

I consider ourselves here in San Francisco to be incredibly fortunate. The awesome intellectual power and ingenuity of UCSF and the Bay Area community have been in turbocharged function for the past three months as we have concentrated on flattening the epidemic curve in our region.

We have certainly been spared the worst of the pandemic largely due to measures implemented early on by our state and local governments. UCSF has been in a tireless and coordinated frenzy to develop personal protective gear policy, virus testing, logistical supply lines, economic mitigation, and scientific information dissemination at a compressed rate not previously imaginable, with several new clinical trials in progress.

In reflecting on comparisons to UCSF’s leadership role in the HIV epidemic during the 1980s, I see the same courage displayed both times. However, what is different about the current situation is the emphasis on speed and rapid prototyping that is being wrought by the highly acute nature of the infection along with its increased transmissibility. In any case, the scientific and clinical power of UCSF has been quite something to behold.

I am so proud of our team in OHNS, which has been indefatigable in its collaboration and ingenuity to care for our community and region. I hope to tell you more of the story in person the next time we are able to meet – maintaining safe social distance of course!


Andrew H. Murr, MD, FACS
Professor and Chairman
Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery
University of California, San Francisco
School of Medicine