Dignity Health and the University of California: A Legacy of Caring for Californians


Dignity Health and the University of California have partnered for decades to deliver high-quality medical services throughout the state. With a shared history of compassionate, skillful care, Dignity Health and UC provide a “safety net” that protects the health and wellbeing of millions of diverse Californians.

  • Together, we deliver critically needed care—including cancer and trauma treatment, newborn intensive care, and mental health services--to communities where this care would otherwise be unavailable.
  • Together, we bring leading-edge medical breakthroughs to patients statewide, changing lives in rural and urban areas alike.
  • Together, we are able to deliver care more quickly to where it’s needed the most and free up capacity at specialized treatment centers.

Dignity Health and UC share a powerful commitment to quality healthcare for all Californians. These are just a few of the unique, highly respected programs that our partnership makes possible statewide:

COVID-19 Care in San Francisco
Saint Francis Memorial Hospital and UCSF Health worked together to open the City’s first dedicated unit to care for COVID-19 patients. The unit was staffed by physicians from both Dignity Health and UCSF Health and cared for up to 48 patients at a time.

Services for Children Suffering Traumatic Injuries
Children facing traumatic injuries receive critically needed services thanks to a partnership between UCLA Health and Dignity’s Northridge Hospital. Launched because the local community demanded more pediatric trauma care, the program is the only one of its kind in the San Fernando Valley.

This program treated more than 700 patients in FY19.

Mental Health Treatment for Adolescents
St. Mary’s Medical Center offers the only inpatient adolescent psychiatry program in San Francisco, which saw more than 1,000 patients in FY19. This partnership with UCSF offers a wide variety of skilled caregivers, and provides important training opportunities to current and future physicians.

Cancer Treatment & Clinical Trial Access
The joint UC Davis-Mercy Merced Cancer Center serves more than 13,000 patients from across the region every year, providing high-quality radiation oncology services and other critical specialized care from UC experts. And St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Stockton partners with UCSF to give patients access to cancer clinical trials that would otherwise be out of reach.

HIV/AIDS Care
St. Mary’s Medical Center in San Francisco has been providing compassionate, groundbreaking outpatient care to HIV patients since the AIDS epidemic devastated the city in the early 1980s. Thanks to our partnership with UC, a UCSF specialist leads the clinic.

Download a Fact Sheet about the partnership>>

The Future of These Programs if the Partnerships Are Forced to Close

There is no question that partnerships like these expand access to health care for more Californians. But some are suggesting that the University of California should not partner with faith-based nonprofit organizations like Dignity Health to offer this care.

Ending these partnerships will eliminate access to urgently needed health services for thousands of patients.

At the core of the concern is whether UC physicians are impacted by Dignity Health’s Catholic affiliation when they are practicing in Dignity Health hospitals. Catholic hospitals like Dignity Health’s agree to uphold Catholic values, such as serving the poor. Catholic hospitals also agree not to perform certain services such as elective abortions, elective sterilization, or in-vitro fertilization. These services are not typically performed in hospitals regardless of religious affiliation.

Dignity Health expects all clinicians practicing in its facilities to provide services in accordance with their clinical judgement and the needs and wishes of their patients. Dignity Health also expects all clinicians to inform patients of all of their health care options and transfer a patient to another provider if a certain service is not offered. In recent months, Dignity Health and the University of California have worked to update their contractual arrangements so these expectations are even clearer.

Several respected health care organizations, including the California Medical Association and California Hospital Association, have expressed public support for these partnerships. You can voice your support to continue these vital health programs by submitting comments directly to the UC Regents.

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