My March newsletter

March 22, 2017

Dear friends and colleagues,

We’re busy on multiple fronts. Here’s an overview of some of the issues we’re working on.

An eye on Washington

We continue to monitor the Trump administration’s actions on key issues that are important to UC and the students, faculty, staff and patients we serve. Among them:

  • Immigration and international travel: We remain very troubled by President Trump’s executive orders that restrict immigration and entry into the United States. While the new order appears less restrictive than the previous one, it will still adversely affect students, faculty, scholars and researchers who seek to study, conduct research and teach not only at UC but at universities across the country. We issued a statement expressing our opposition to the latest order and providing guidance to the UC community about international travel for individuals from the countries named in the executive order.
  • Health care: Congress is currently debating the American Health Care Act, which would repeal the Affordable Care Act. Our initial analysis shows the American Health Care Act, as drafted, would hurt UC’s medical centers and the patients we serve. More Californians would be unable to afford private health insurance or continue their Medi-Cal coverage. And proposed changes to Medicaid could lead to losses in coverage for our patients and higher costs for this country’s health care system as a whole. We strongly believe that any replacement to the Affordable Care Act must maintain at least the same level of coverage, care and consumer protections that patients currently have. We’re working closely with state and national health organizations, and visiting policymakers to educate them about the potential impact these policy proposals would have on our medical centers and patients.
  • Impact of proposed federal budget: President Trump’s budget proposal calls for cuts to multiple agencies, including an 18 percent cut to the National Institutes of Health, which provide critical research funding to institutions such as ours. UC received $1.9 billion in NIH funding for fiscal year 2016 — funding that enabled us to advance our understanding of cancer, Alzheimer’s and other diseases and work on treatments for patients. The president’s proposal also carries a 31 percent cut to the Environmental Protection Agency, which oversees regulations critical to addressing climate change. As I wrote in my latest LinkedIn piece, climate change is a global issue that demands attention and decisive action. We are sharing these concerns with legislators in Washington D.C.
  • Other key issues: We continue to closely monitor the status of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which has enabled thousands of young immigrants, including many at UC, to pursue college and worthwhile careers; and the Higher Education Act, which authorizes federal student financial aid as well as programs that help students and higher education institutions in professional development and teacher recruitment.
  • Supporting all members of the UC community: In response to President Trump rescinding certain protections for transgender students from discrimination, we issued a statement reaffirming UC’s commitment to maintaining an inclusive, safe and supportive environment for everyone at UC.

New campus leadership

The UC Board of Regents last week approved my selection of Carol T. Christ as chancellor of UC Berkeley, effective July 1. She will be the first woman in this role at Cal. Dr. Christ is an outstanding scholar and proven leader, having served as president of Smith College and executive vice chancellor and provost of the Berkeley campus. This is a pivotal time for UC Berkeley and Christ’s track record of building strong relationships and trust with diverse groups, and uncovering solutions and opportunities will lead the campus to even greater heights.

I’m also excited to welcome Gary May as chancellor of UC Davis starting Aug. 1. The Regents approved his appointment last month, and I look forward to his leadership. A two-time UC alum, Dr. May comes to us from Georgia Tech where he advanced the nation’s largest and most diverse engineering school’s academic and research achievements. He transformed that school by embracing the same principles we do at UC: excellence and equal access to education and opportunity.

Investments that advance our patient care, sustainability goals

UC Health’s investment in innovative approaches is paying off. Born in 2010, our Center for Health Quality and Innovation has awarded more than 50 grants totaling $15 million, formed systemwide collaborations and developed partnerships. As a result, we’ve achieved better patient outcomes and generated more than $65 million in net financial gain throughout UC Health thanks to projects that have cut costs, increased revenue or captured grant funding.

As you know, we’ve challenged ourselves to become carbon neutral by 2025. We’re attacking this goal on multiple fronts: research, nurturing the next generation of leaders, changing how we operate and serving as a model for positive change. For example, the first of two solar farms came online in the Central Valley, totaling 80 megawatts, part of the largest solar purchase ever made by a U.S. university. More than 36 megawatts of on-site solar energy is currently installed systemwide.

In addition, 228 UC faculty recently attended workshops to learn how to incorporate climate change concepts into existing curriculum, especially in non-science fields such as literature and music. Together, their classes have the potential to reach more than 11,000 students a year.

These are just a few examples from last year. You can learn more about our progress and the challenges ahead in our Annual Report on Sustainable Practices. For regular updates, consider subscribing to the Sustainability Newsletter.

Thanks for reading. As always, please email me at janet@ucop.edu if you’d like to share an idea or comment, and feel free to pass on this letter to friends and colleagues and invite them to sign up for future newsletters if they’d like.

Yours very truly,
Janet Napolitano