The deadly fall COVID-19 surge health officials have been warning about for months has swept the United States and is being blamed in part on Americans not wearing masks, as well as the onset of cold weather that is forcing people indoors, where the virus can spread more easily.
The average number of new cases per day in the U.S. has soared more than 40% over the past two weeks, from around 49,000 to about 70,000. Deaths per day have climbed from about 700 to almost 800.
San Francisco has become the poster child for how to control coronavirus cases and deaths amid the pandemic, with its residents wearing masks, businesses and schools reopening slowly and scientists and politicians working together to create public health orders.
The result of the county and city’s vigilant behavior has been the lowest death rate of any major city in the country and remarkably low cases rates considering S.F. is a densely populated city.
Four UC San Francisco faculty members are among the 100 new national and international members elected this year to the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), one of the highest honors in the fields of health of medicine.
Membership in the NAM recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievements and commitment to service in the medical sciences, health care and public health.
“This distinguished and diverse class of new members is a truly exceptional group of scholars and leaders whose expertise in science, medicine, health, and policy will be integral to helping the NAM address today’s most pressing health challenges and inform the future of health and health care for the benefit of everyone around the globe,” National Academy of Medicine President Victor J. Dzau said in a press release. “It is my privilege to welcome these esteemed individuals to the National Academy of Medicine.”
This year, this distinguished group welcomes four UCSF faculty:
Mark Anderson, MD, PhD, professor of medicine and Robert B. Friend and Michelle M. Friend Endowed Chair in Diabetes Research
Edward Chang, MD, Jeanne Robertson Distinguished Professor and Joan and Sandy Weill Chair of the Department of Neurological Surgery
Aleksandar Rajkovic, MD, PhD, Stuart Lindsay Distinguished Professor in Experimental Pathology and Chief Genomics Officer of UCSF Health
Robert Wachter, MD, Holly Smith Distinguished Professor in Science and Medicine, Benioff Endowed Chair in Hospital Medicine, and chair of the Department of Medicine
Mark Anderson, MD, PhD
Anderson is a physician-scientist who cares for patients with autoimmune endocrine diseases such as type 1 diabetes. This focus extends into the lab, where his research examines the genetic control of autoimmune diseases to better understand the mechanisms by which immune tolerance is broken.
In particular, his lab is interested in how the thymus trains the immune system to distinguish proteins made by the body itself from proteins made by invasive pathogens. For example, they have shown that some thymus cells produce “self” proteins and others even differentiate into skin or gut cells to test newborn T cells for autoimmune tendencies. Understanding these mechanisms could one day lead to medical interventions that suppress or enhance immune activity.
Anderson is a member of the UCSF Diabetes Center and the UCSF Bakar ImmunoX Initiative, director of the UCSF Medical Scientist Training Program, and current president of the Federation of Clinical Immunology.
Edward Chang, MD
Chang is a neurosurgeon-scientist and chair of the Department of Neurological Surgery. He specializes in advanced brain mapping methods to preserve crucial areas for language and cognitive functions in the brain. Chang is a member of the UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences and co-director of the Center for Neural Engineering and Prostheses, a collaboration between UCSF and UC Berkeley.
Chang’s research focuses on the brain mechanisms for human behaviors such as speech and mood. For example, by studying the brain activity associated with the physical movements of speaking, his team was able to teach a computer to decode and transform these brain signals into synthetic speech. This technology has
UC San Francisco released a preliminary analysis Thursday of data from a coronavirus testing effort in Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood and it confirmed what other similar studies have found: The novel coronavirus disproportionately affects the Latino community.
UCSF, in conjunction with local community groups, offered free, voluntary COVID-19 testing Sept. 26 and 27 in Fruitvale, a corner of Alameda County that has had the highest rates of COVID. Fruitvale is 50% Latino and home to one of the largest Mayan-speaking populations outside of Mexico, according to UCSF. Many residents live in multigenerational households.