Feature Stories

Kailyn Klotz, Sustainability Fellow, August 2018

Eighth Annual UCSF Sustainability Awards

“As UC research reveals, the impact of climate change on local and global health has become increasingly obvious,” said UC San Francisco (UCSF) Chancellor Sam Hawgood, MBBS, at the 8th Annual UCSF Sustainability Awards Ceremony held last month. This impact is what spurred the University of California to take on ambitious sustainability goals, such as reaching carbon neutrality by 2025 and zero waste by 2020. Each year a growing number of UCSF community members are recognized for their role in the progress being made toward these goals.

This year’s event was held at the Parnassus Alumni House and honored over 75 sustainability champions! Upon introducing the awards, Chancellor Hawgood shared these words: “Thank you all for being here today to recognize all our Sustainability Award winners and our outstanding faculty, staff, students, and teams who everyday exemplify their PRIDE values through the lens of sustainability.” PRIDE stands for the set of common core values that the UCSF community embraces, which are professionalism, respect, integrity, diversity, and excellence.

Sustainability Award Winners
Each spring there is a call for nominations to campus departments for Sustainability Award submittals. From the nomination pool, previous winners and Sustainability Committee members select award winners in five different categories. All 2018 winners were presented by their nominator and the Chancellor, and each received registration to the California Higher Education Sustainability Conference and a recycled material-framed award certificate.

Staff Category

This year there was a tie in the campus staff category; both Sean McClelland and Gabe Sandoval, whose award was accepted by Laura Bello, were recognized.

Sean McClelland, Lead Learning Tech Specialist, spends significant time making his workspace as sustainable as possible. He established a green team in the Parnassus Library, which plays a vital role in the success of not only greening the library, but also communicating the importance of sustainability to its users. This year Sean achieved a LivingGreen Office certification rating of Platinum, coordinated recycling trainings, and purchased reusable dishware for the department. 

Gabe Sandoval, Business System Analyst, is instrumental in leading UCSF’s energy program and implementing technologies that increase efficiency and identify energy and water saving opportunities. Specifically, Gabe introduced a building-system analytics program, Skyspark, to the entire UC system. The tool enables data collection across all UC campuses and provides insight on system inefficiencies and new project potentials. Gabe also represents UCSF in the Department of Energy’s Smart Energy Analytics campaign.

Barbara Bevan-Abel, RN, is a clinical nurse who provides care to patients in the OR ,in the PeriOperative area, yet she also volunteers her own time to improve the Moffitt/Long OR recycling program. She implemented OR-wide waste trainings and documented waste at the loading dock, and she is currently comparing before and after weight data to adjust recycling processes to make them more efficient. After identifying inefficiencies in the MedShare collection process, Barbara educated staff, adjusted supply orders, and tracked metrics in order make better use of the MedShare donations service.

Team Categories

Campus Team
The Telehealth Resource Center’s (TRC) focuses on providing convenient healthcare services for patients and physicians that reduce vehicle travel. It promotes alternatives to in-person care by facilitating video interactions between patients and physicians across campuses and even worldwide. In February 2018 alone, 831 video visits were conducted and an average of 52 round-trip visits to the clinic per day were avoided. 

The TRC team is expanding their impact by working with hundreds of providers in dozens of clinics to help them integrate video visits into their own practices.

UCSF Health Team
Parnassus Medical Center Facilities Management is proving that not only can behavior change positively impact the environment, but it can also be personally rewarding. The team is known for taking alternative transportation to work, and it has grown into a twelve- member crew that commutes everyday by bicycle. A recent poll showed that the team bicycles over 500 miles per week, totaling more than 26,000 miles per year! These efforts reduce over 10 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year, and the regular team bike rides also result in departmental cohesion and stress relief.

Student Category

As second year University of California Office of the President (UCOP) Carbon Neutrality Initiative fellows, Yaser Khosal and Hugo Aguilar received grant funding to coordinate and lead Earth Health, a 10-week environmental sustainability elective course. The objectives of this course were to: enhance foundational knowledge about the synergy between climate change and health, shape attitudes regarding the impact of climate change on health, and promote activism and behavior supporting sustainable healthcare. Hugo and Yaser also took on a safe medication disposal project, which helped install a pharmaceutical waste collection binat the Parnassus Walgreens.

Faculty Category

Katherine Gruenberg, PharmD, was recognized at last year’s Sustainability Awards Ceremony as a student and now as a School of Pharmacy faculty member working with the UCSF internal medicine clinics. She is working on increasing patient and provider awareness regarding proper pharmaceutical disposal methods. For the second year, Katherine has implemented a three-hour interactive session within the UCSF pharmacy curriculum on environmental sustainability specific to pharmaceuticals and our health system. Beyond UCSF, Katherine is working on a project to characterize knowledge and behaviors regarding the handling and disposal of oral chemotherapies.

LivingGreen Certifications
The UCSF Office of Sustainability launched the LivingGreen certification program with aims to reduce energy use, water use, and waste consumption within university workspaces.  Over 143 offices, labs, clinics/units, and event planners have been certified thus far, and this year 36 additional spaces achieved certification. 


Platinum: Library Tech Commons

Gold: China Basin Radiology, Suite 350; Student Success Center, MU 100; Office of Student and Curricular Affairs, S960; Dept. of Quality (Medical Center); Office of Population Health and Accountable Care ; Campus Life Services, 654 MN; Housing (Mission Bay)

Silver: Finance Service Center, 654 MN; Risk Management/Insurance Services, 654 MN; Research Development, Genentech 116; Facilities, ACC- 56



Silver: Dept. of Pharmaceutical Chemistry; ZSFG Cardiology Lab

Bronze: Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences



Platinum: Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (BCH)

Silver: UCSF Primary Care Services; UCSF Urology Practice

Event Planners

This was the second year event planners were recognized, as there is much interest in learning to host zero waste and sustainable food events. The focus on using compostables at events reduces landfill waste and its related methane emissions, and utilizing compost on agricultural lands helps sequester carbon and returns nutrients to the soil.  Efforts such as these help UCSF reduce its impact on the environment and move toward meeting UC sustainability goals.

Gold:  Bethanie Brandon-ObGyn and Reproductive Sciences; Jane Brooks- Office of Continuing Medical Education; Noemi Hollander- Student Success Center; JoAnn Lopez- Student Success Center; Kathy Chew- Student Success Center; Robert Mansfield- Global Health Sciences

Silver: Stephanie Handler-Alumni Relations, Faculty House; Sarah Stamatoplos -Clinical Labs; Katherine Krebs-Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences; Jessica Mcgowan-Vanderbeck- Housing Services; Gaelen Lombard- Office of Continuing Medical Education; Edgar Micua-Department of Medicine Research Administration Office; Abilene Binaoro-Anesthesia; Freya Magnusson- Pediatric Intensive Care Unit

Bronze: Irene Merry - Academic Affairs; Christine Milentis- Osher Center for Integrative Medicine; Yvette Coulter- Osher Center for Integrative Medicine; Heather De Martini- Osher Center for Integrative Medicine