Changemaker Series

The UCSF Changemaker Series is a four-part video series that seeks to build the capacity of UCSF researchers to generate scientific evidence that is responsive to the needs of real-world decision-makers in order to accelerate equity-focused impact.

Each short video in the Changemaker Series highlights a UCSF researcher alongside an interdisciplinary panel of non-academic experts illustrating key learning points for how investigators at all stages of their careers can more meaningfully inform policies, systems, and structures in order to create social or policy change. Viewers hear panelists share their unique perspectives and lessons learned, whether addressing homelessness among older adults in Oakland, navigating school re-opening policies during the COVID-19 pandemic, implementing a campus-wide ban on the sale of sugar-sweetened beverages, or advancing the nation's first city-wide flavored tobacco ban, to gain insight as to how science—and scientists—can be a powerful tool to effect change.

Session One: Using Research to Influence Local Policy: Oakland's Initiative to Support Older Adults Experiencing Homelessness

This video focuses on how structural inequities can be addressed by influencing local policies and programs that can be widely scaled. We use as an example the partnership between UCSF scientists, government officials, media, and advocacy organizations to change the way older adults experiencing homelessness are supported by the City of Oakland.


  • Margot Kushel, Professor of Medicine, UCSF
  • Libby Schaaf, Mayor, City of Oakland
  • Kevin Fagan, Reporter, SF Chronicle
  • Tomiquia Moss, Executive Director, All Home
Session Two: Synthesis and Communication of Evidence COVID-19 and School Re-Opening Policies in the Bay Area

This video focuses on how scientific evidence can be best translated for rapid dissemination to policymakers, community members, and other collaborators using as a case study the re-opening policies in the Bay Area in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.


  • Naomi Bardach, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, UCSF and Lead, California's Safe Schools for All Team
  • Yvette Edwards, Executive Member, Decreasing the Distance
  • Jenny Lam, Commissioner, San Francisco Board of Education
  • Sailaja Suresh, Senior Director of School Operations, Oakland Unified School District


Session Three: Legislation to Disrupt Industry Practices that Disproportionately Impact Black Americans - San Francisco's Comprehensive Flavored Tobacco Ban

This video helps viewers to better understand how race is used in some industry practices and how research can support the disruption of those practices. Panelists higlight the use of legislation to address health inequities and prioritize public health issues and illustrate how academic research can inform that work. The panel examines from multiple perspectives the first successful public health campaign to eliminate the sale of menthol and other flavored tobacco products using municipal legislation.


  • Valerie Yerger, Professor of Health Policy, UCSF
  • Malia Cohen, State Board of Equalization, California
  • William Scott, Chief of Police, San Francisco
  • Robert Hiatt, Director, San Francisco Cancer Initiative
Session Four: Impacting Policies within Your Own System: UCSF's Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Ban

This video focuses on how UCSF researchers have worked to change the policies that govern our own system. It uses as an example efforts to implement a ban on the sale of sugar-sweetened beverages within UCSF, and how that work was ultimately disseminated to other health systems. The video highlights the perspectives of multiple stakeholders whose work aligned toward making this significant change in the culture of our institution and how the evidence from UCSF researchers informed their decision-making.


  • Laura Schmidt, Professor of Health Policy, UCSF
  • Jamey Schmidt, Director of Research, CPMC
  • Clare Shinnerl, Senior Associate Vice Chancellor, Campus Life Services
  • Bawer Tekin, Owner, SF Kebab