Last week, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved, and Mayor London Breed signed, a resolution to accept nearly $1 million in Federal Community Project Funding to support the San Francisco General Hospital Foundation’s (the Foundation) Transform Mental and Behavioral Health Fund (TMBHF). This grant will support Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center’s (ZSFG) mental and behavioral health programs. The Office of Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi was instrumental in securing this funding, which was granted by the U.S. Substance Use and Mental Health Services Administration. 

Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital is a model for the nation: delivering innovative solutions for holistic, equitable, and accessible health care,” Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi said. “As a proud Representative of San Francisco in Congress, it was my privilege to secure nearly $1 million to support its mental and behavioral health initiatives. This vital new federal funding will ensure that The General can continue to deliver high-quality medical care to San Franciscans in need.

The funds will be used to continue developing innovative treatments and improving mental and behavioral health care for patients at ZSFG. The TMBHF was launched in 2019 by the Foundation due to the rise in mental and behavioral health care needs in San Francisco. The Fund brings together various programs and departments at ZSFG, bringing a holistic approach to the continuum of care at ZSFG and the linkage to care in the larger community. The Fund currently supports seven key programs: the Addiction Care Team, Psychiatry Services (including Psychiatric Emergency Services), the Social Medicine Team, and Family Oriented Programs, including Team Lily, Healthy Steps, and Solid Start.

In its first years, the TMBH Fund has seen significant results:

Since 2019, approximately 15,000 patients have been served by the Addiction Care Team, and 84 percent of those patients either started or continued medication-assisted treatment for opioid disorder.  

One in ten pregnant people received specialized prenatal care from Team Lily, helping address opioid-related disorders and housing instability during and after pregnancy.

The Health Steps program worked with over 1200 children through brief behavioral consultations addressing specific needs and concerns.

“The Foundation is honored to work with Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi and the City of San Francisco to secure funds for TMBHF to support ZSFG’s mental and behavioral health programs,” said Kim Meredith, CEO of the Foundation. “We believe now is a crucial time to invest in innovation in mental and behavioral health care and be part of the solution to revitalize San Francisco. ZSFG is central to this community-wide effort to better serve our neighbors and find creative approaches that ensure more effective and equitable care. We are proud to stand behind these programs at ZSFG, working not only to improve the lives of our patients but ultimately the San Francisco community at large.” 

“The San Francisco Department of Public Health is grateful to Speaker Emerita Pelosi for securing this investment in mental and behavioral health care for our community,” said Dr. Grant Colfax, Director of the San Francisco Department of Public Health. “We are also grateful for the Foundation’s ongoing support of Zuckerberg San Francisco General through all of their initiatives and especially the Transform Mental and Behavioral Health Fund. Providing San Franciscans with a path to recovery and stable lives is a top priority for the department. ZSFG has one of the best mental and behavioral programs in the country. This funding will help us advance our work and improve the lives of many more San Franciscans.”

Now in its fourth year, a major initiative of the Fund has focused on workforce development, specifically investing in the community health worker model of Patient Navigators. The program hired two Navigators in 2023 – a growing support role throughout the hospital, but a first for the Department of Psychiatry at ZSFG. Patient navigators in these programs bring lived experiences to their support roles as patients transition between levels of care and find continued care in the community.

“Patient Navigators sit in this unique space between hospitalization and the next phase of a patient’s journey to recovery,” said Annette Pinto, who shares oversight of the Patient Navigators in the Psychiatric Occupational Therapy Department. “Through being present and offering support and words of encouragement, the Patient Navigators are not only walking alongside patients as they navigate what’s next, but also instilling a sense of hope.”

The Fund has also focused on aligning data collection to better understand the complex needs of patients within their programs, investing in more sophisticated electronic health record tracking, and opening avenues for further research into best practices with this patient population.