A Walk Through ZSFG’s History

The heart of San Francisco beats to its own rhythm, and it always has. Through baby booms, housing booms, and even tech booms, we’ve seen it all. And yet, this city can still surprise us. Its resilience. Its love. Its pride. 

We were here, through natural disasters, pandemics, and plagues. For the birth of new ideas, new communities, and of course, newborns. Today, we are still here, providing compassionate care for the whole person, and the whole city. 

You are part of our history. 

August 28, 1872

City and County Hospital Opens

A wooden structure opens on Potrero Avenue to treat the City’s public health needs.


Partnership with UCSF Begins

The University of California forges a partnership with the City and County of San Francisco to provide health care services and train doctors. Still true today, all ZSFG doctors are on faculty at UCSF and 20 UCSF research centers are located at ZSFG.


Training School for Nurses was Established

Nurses shadowed medical faculty and raised awareness on the standards of patient care.


Arrival of Horse Drawn Ambulances

San Francisco was the first city to provide government run ambulances.


The Great Earthquake Hits

After surviving a devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake, the General becomes a mecca where the sick and injured seek treatment and comfort. 


Children’s Ward Opens


New Buildings Open

New buildings replace the condemned wooden structure.


Spanish Influenza Reaches SF


New TB Buildings Open

The newly designed Isolation Hospital and Tuberculosis Hospital allows infectious patients to be treated separately in an open-air ward with plenty of fresh air and sunshine.


Psychiatric Ward Opens


Polio Epidemic 

Polio clinics open at ZSFG to treat low-income children. More affluent children are treated at Children’s Hospital.


Maternity Hospital Opens

The growth at San Francisco General continued with the opening of the maternity ward.


San Francisco Hospital Gets a New Name

San Francisco Hospital changed their name to San Francisco General Hospital.


Premature Birth Clinic Opens

The hospital establishes a premature birth clinic for high-risk mothers to address the challenges facing mothers with no prenatal care. 


Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion 

To better serve the city’s diverse population during the Civil Rights movement, the Hospital works with African-American, Hispanic, and Asian-American organizations to improve the delivery of services, establish interpreter services, and start bilingual health education programs.


Trauma Center Recognized

The Hospital receives Federal Trauma Center designation, recognizing it as the first complete City/County-wide system in the United States.


Building 5 Opens

The new 653-bed hospital is complete, containing a new emergency department, clinics, and wards.


Ward 86 Opens

Ward 86 at San Francisco General Hospital becomes the center of care and treatment during the San Francisco HIV/AIDS epidemic. This model of care eventually becomes the worldwide standard.


Designated Only Level 1 Trauma Center

San Francisco General Hospital becomes the only Level 1 Trauma Center in San Francisco and northern San Mateo County.


SFGH Foundation Founded

San Francisco General Hospital Foundation is established by a small group of local community leaders and health care providers as an independent, nonprofit organization to raise philanthropic funds through individual, foundation, and corporate donations to support what is now Zuckerberg San Francisco General.


Traumatic Brain Injury Program Launches

The traumatic brain injury program is created to optimize care for patients with serious brain injuries, providing specialized and cohesive care in the operating rooms, intensive care units, and rehabilitative care programs.


Avon Breast Center Opens

Avon Foundation Comprehensive Breast Center opens to provide state-of-the-art imaging for breast cancer detection, more than doubling screening capacity and expanding outreach at ZSFG.


Birth Center designated as “Baby-Friendly”

The World Health Organization certifies the Family Birth Center at ZSFG as the only Baby-Friendly birth center in San Francisco.


New Hospital Opens

The new acute care and trauma center opens to patients. It is a nine-story, world-class, seismically-safe, technologically-advanced, environmentally-sound hospital designed to provide the best possible patient care in a warm and healing environment.


COVID-19 Pandemic Response

During the COVID-19 pandemic, ZSFG cares for one-third of San Francisco residents and is a critical public health resource for information, support, and vaccinations.


The 150th anniversary of ZSFG.