Message From the Chair

Andrew H. Murr, MDThese times are unlike any I can recall. Two issues in particular – a pandemic and racial strife – indicate how our society is in upheaval. Here in San Francisco, UCSF is a hotbed of creativity on both issues. First and foremost, there is major creative energy being devoted to battling COVID-19 at UCSF, Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, and the San Francisco Veterans Administration Medical Center. Frontline health care is rapidly prototyping strategies to save lives and limit the spread of infection. I am in awe of the power of UCSF’s research infrastructure, as evidenced by how epidemiology research, vaccine research, clinical therapeutic innovation, and device prototyping are all occurring at breakneck speed. What impresses me even more is how an undercurrent of professional collegiality complements the research infrastructure, and that is a top reason why it is so stimulating to work here.

UCSF’s passion for social justice is also at the forefront these days. In acknowledgement of the Black Lives Matter movement, our medical community has been given the freedom to contribute and to speak out. Many forums have been created for education and for social discourse. As an example, our first year medical students have been given options to pursue social justice work contemporaneously and congruently with their first year educational responsibilities. You can check out some of our educational offerings at https://diversity.ucsf.edu/.

The department has taken the time to create its own position statement on social justice, diversity, and inclusion, which you can see here. This is a living document, not a static one, and it will be used as a baseline for progress as we strive for enhanced education and progress in our culture and society, with an emphasis on equality and respect for all. The education and leadership teams will be working on a curriculum to drive attention to and advancement of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery.

I want to thank all our alumni, graduates, students, fellows, and friends for your courage and for your social contribution during this extraordinary period. We are so fortunate to be in the field of medicine, where our mission to improve the lives of others is tangible and attainable every day we come to work.

Finally, every election is an opportunity to weigh in on issues that will affect our society today and in the long term. As we go to press, I want to thank you for voting in the 2020 election!


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