Summer 2008

A New Children's Hospital at Mission Bay

Plans for the 2014 opening of a new UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital at Mission Bay are in full swing. The campus will house not only a children's hospital, but also adjacent women's and cancer hospitals for integrated care, if needed. Fundraising efforts are well underway, with $56 million pledged toward the goal of at least $500 million. Most donations have come from individual philanthropists.

The vision is not only to provide leading-edge clinical care, but also to design a child-centric healing environment that provides for the needs of families as well.

"Our goal is to create a children's hospital like no other — to go beyond what's been done anywhere else," says Cindy Lima, executive director of administration at UCSF Medical Center and director of the project. "Not only are we offering state-of-the-art patient care embedded in an environment of scientific discovery and innovation, but we want a child to come in and feel comfortable — to know it's a place where they belong and that it's not scary. So the goal of the design is to provide a sense of wonderment and to learn about health while healing."

Architects from Anshen+Allen are working with the concept of a kaleidoscope, where light, shape and color will shift to engage all who enter the hospital. There will also be child-sized counters, furniture, interactive displays and age-appropriate playrooms. Teachers from San Francisco Unified School District will provide schooling for children who require extended hospital stays.

Emphasis is also being placed on the needs of the family. All rooms are large, single-patient rooms for both children and newborns, with sleeping accommodations for family members. There will also be family housing on the first floor, providing additional sleeping accommodations and support for families.

"Families constantly tell us how hard it is to be far away from their children, especially when they are very sick. However, parents need to be rested in order to be effective members of the health care team," says Michael Towne, director of UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Child Life Services. "Having family housing right in the building will allow parents of critically ill children to have their individual needs met while staying in close proximity to their children."

Design plans also include a teen room and a tween room, as well as creative arts and technology areas. There is emphasis on outdoor space to provide a natural, healing and light-filled environment with extensive views. There will be a variety of green spaces around the facility, roof gardens on the three levels, a children's play area near the lobby and a public park across the street from the facility.


Plans are in the works for a helipad to enable the transport of neonates from outlying hospitals that don't offer the comprehensive specialty care that UCSF provides. Currently, to bring neonates to UCSF, many babies must be moved from an ambulance to an airplane and back to another ambulance to reach the hospital.

"With all of the lifesaving equipment connected to the newborn, this movement greatly increases risk and wastes precious time. What we need is to provide hospital-to-hospital transport by helicopter," says Roxanne Fernandes, executive director of UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital. "We've received much positive feedback about how we've been working with the community related to the proposed helipad."

In October, UCSF Medical Center and neighbors organized a test flight with multiple sound measurements in the area. Results of the test were shared at a community meeting in March. Since the campus is three blocks from the bay, helicopters would be able to fly to and from the helipad primarily over the water, thereby reducing noise in the neighborhood. The test flight prompted some resistance from a handful of residents, but most felt the helipad is a critical endeavor and very important for San Francisco. Lima is optimistic about the outcome, and UCSF is diligently working with the community every step of the way.

Facilities at Mission Bay

UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay will include a:

  • 183-bed children's hospital with urgent care, emergency care, pediatric primary care and specialty facilities
  • Women's hospital with a 36-bed birth center, as well as specialty surgery and select women's ambulatory surgery facilities
  • 70-bed adult hospital for cancer patients

For more information, contact Sterrin Bird, CFRE, senior director of development, at (415) 476-5640.

Related Information

News Releases

UCSF M.D. Wins Award for Infant Lung Treatment
John A. Clements, M.D., a professor of pediatrics emeritus at UCSF, has won the 2008 Pollin Prize for his contributions to the understanding of how lungs hold air and the development of a lifesaving treatment for respiratory distress syndrome in infants.

Research Provides Insight into
Brain Development

Research led by Anthony Wynshaw-Boris, M.D., Ph.D. — chief of pediatric Medical Genetics and a researcher in the Institute for Human Genetics at UCSF — may shed light on a rare pediatric disorder known as lissencephaly, or "smooth brain" disease.