May 12, 2022

Congrats to the Social Medicine Program at UCSF and Zuckerberg General Hospital - ACEP SEMS Distinguished Program Award

This award is intended to recognize and honor a department or program that has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to advancing Social EM, resulting in tangible benefit to the institution and its community. On behalf of the ACEP Social EM Section Awards Committee, we are pleased to present the 2021 Distinguished Program Award to The Social Medicine Program at UCSF and Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and its leaders, Hemal Kanzaria, Jenna Bilinski, Kenneth Hill, Jack Chase, and Sandra Hall.

The Social Medicine Program is a collaboration between UCSF and the Department of Public Health. It was founded in 2017 in order to offer team-based collaborative care with linkage to community social and medical services for ED patients with complex self-identified social needs, including homelessness, substance use, mental illness, and food insecurity. Its mission is to provide equitable and exceptional care for people with complex biopsychosocial needs through multidisciplinary teamwork, systems-integration, and data-driven improvement. The program now provides care through numerous initiatives, including a Social Medicine consult service, medications-in-hand without charge, linkage to transitional housing, and initiation of substance use treatment.

Since its inception, the Social Medicine program has made a significant impact on its community, providing care for over 6,000 patients with complex medical, behavioral health, and social needs, preventing hundreds of admissions and readmissions, connecting many patients to stable housing, and establishing a patient care supply initiative to provide essential items to community members in need during the pandemic. It has also succeeded in scaling up to a larger hospital-level initiative in the form of an inpatient Complex Care Team, which is modeled upon the Social Medicine Program and works to decrease preventable usage of acute care services by addressing patients’ social needs and facilitating access to care.

Additionally, the program has worked to disseminate its practices throughout the medical community, publishing an article in JAMA Performance Improvement, recording a JAMA Do No Harm Podcast, authoring an Academic Life in Emergency Medicine blog piece, and participating in numerous invited local, regional, and national presentations. The Social Medicine Program has not only left a substantial impact on its hospital system and the San Francisco community, but has also served as a model for interdisciplinary collaboration and expansion of social EM efforts beyond the ED to take on larger systems-level change, feats that will inspire and guide others to follow in its footsteps.

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