University of California, San Diego

November 15, 2000

Media contacts:
Leslie Franz, UCSD, (619) 543-6163
Larry Nuffer, CHHC, (858) 576-4079


The University of California Board of Regents Committee on Health Services today endorsed a draft affiliation agreement to integrate children's health services in a unified program based at Children's Hospital and Health Center, giving approval for discussions to proceed toward a final agreement. The full board will vote on the committee's recommendation on Thursday, November 16.

Pending full board approval, plans to consolidate children's health services to create a world-class center for pediatric care, research and teaching will enter the final phase of discussion between physicians and administrators from UCSD and Children's Hospital.

The goal of combining the forces of the region's only university-based pediatrics program with San Diego's only health system dedicated to children is to create a world-class children's medical center excelling in state-of-the-art care, research, education and community service, according to UCSD Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences Edward W. Holmes, M.D. This alliance will create the shortest bridge possible between medical research discoveries and the child's bedside, ensuring that San Diego's children get the best care available anywhere in the world, he said.

"This is a red-letter day for children's health care in San Diego," said Regent John Davies, calling the draft agreement "a great achievement." Combining strengths and resources would also enhance the ability of both institutions to attract and retain the world's best and brightest pediatricians and pediatrics researchers, and lead to expanded community-based programming and outreach, said Blair Sadler, Chief Executive Officer of Children's Hospital. The Children's Hospital and Health Center Board of Trustees and the Board of Children's Specialists medical group have approved the proposed affiliation in principle.

"San Diego currently has superb pediatric care, first-rate research and a solid commitment by its health care leaders to health promotion through community-based programs and outreach," said Holmes. "By fully uniting UCSD's highly respected clinical and research programs with the broad spectrum of services provided by Children's Hospital, we will capitalize even further on existing excellence and focus our combined resources on the creation of a top-tier children's health center."

Over the years, the two institutions have successfully established numerous joint patient care, teaching and research programs. For example, a number of UCSD pediatrics faculty also practice at Children's Hospital, there are several collaborative specialty programs based at each institution, and UCSD medical students, interns and residents in pediatrics, and trainees in related medical specialties, receive part of their training at Children's Hospital.
The current discussions toward full integration of programs began in fall of 1999, with physicians and administrators working together to outline a model for a fully affiliated health system that would build upon the many existing program collaborations.

The model being developed would integrate programs, including research and teaching activities, with relocation of most of UCSD Medical Center's pediatric inpatient care programs to Children's Hospital and Health Center. UCSD Medical Center would continue to operate its neonatal intensive care unit and newborn nursery; and would also continue to care for pediatric burn patients in its Regional Burn Center. In addition, outpatient primary care services will remain in Hillcrest to facilitate access. No positions will be eliminated as a result of this consolidation.

Part of the planning involves a proposal for new research facilities at the Children's Hospital site, to allow close collaboration among researchers and clinicians developing improved diagnostic and treatment approaches to childhood disease.

As the final agreement is forged, planning for a smooth transition will begin, with some programs possibly moving beginning in early 2001, said Holmes and Sadler.