Community Care Fund

The Osher Center provides care for conditions that are often experienced by medically underserved people, such as obesity, diabetes, cardiac disease, HIV, cancer, and chronic pain. Our physicians consult with patients to tailor a program to their needs, drawing on acupuncture, massage, nutritional counseling, meditation, integrative psychotherapy, and other treatments.

Many patients who seek help from the Osher Center are, unfortunately, underinsured and not able to afford treatment. To respond to their needs, the Center has developed the Community Care Fund. Using a sliding-scale fee structure, we carefully consider each patient’s resources to maximize the number of patients who can receive care.

In keeping with UCSF’s tradition of providing the greater San Francisco Bay Area with access to outstanding healthcare, the Osher Center ensures that people suffering from serious or chronic medical problems can benefit from the therapeutic and healing effects of integrative medicine, even if they have limited financial resources.

Our patients’ stories demonstrate the Osher Center’s life-changing approach to care. (Some patient names have been changed to protect privacy.)

For more information on the Community Care Fund, please contact Evan Kavanagh, Director of Development, at (415) 514-1137.

Sandra’s Story

After a head injury resulting from an accident, Sandra experienced recurring migraine headaches, nausea, and dizziness. Her symptoms were debilitating, but she was unable to tolerate medications. Through the acupuncture and biofeedback treatments covered by our Community Care Fund, she is feeling happy and healthy again.


Duane’s Story

“I learned that I could be a partner with my doctor and nurses and with my dialysis. Brook has helped guide me to find solutions and answers. My attitude in every part of my life has changed."

Duane is awaiting a kidney transplant. Until a donor match is made and he can have the replacement surgery, he requires almost four hours of dialysis, three times every week.

During Duane’s initial dialysis session, he experienced a loss of freedom. Being connected to a machine left him feeling powerless, trapped, and vulnerable. Missing doctors’ appointments to avoid hearing bad news and feeling angry at dialysis sessions, he knew he needed help with acceptance. A nurse referred him to the Osher Center and, with the aid of the Community Care Fund, Duane felt empowered to help himself. “I never thought my body would break down or that I would need to ask for help, [but] when I would leave dialysis, I would feel so vulnerable, so sad, so defeated. Unless I was able to deal with my problems with acceptance, then there was not much they would really be able to do to help me.”

At the Osher Center, he met Brook Stone, a licensed clinical social worker. Working with Brook, Duane learned relaxation exercises and how to put things in a new perspective. Through guided imagery and relaxation techniques, Brook taught Duane techniques to deal with his anger and to approach dialysis differently. “I learned that I could be a partner with my doctor and nurses and with my dialysis,” observed Duane. “Brook has helped guide me to find solutions and answers. My attitude in every part of my life has changed. When I leave [from a dialysis session], I take a walk in Golden Gate Park.”


Christina’s Story

“Acupuncture helped relieve my nausea, and the practice of mindfulness helped me to live in the present moment. What I learned at the Osher Center was invaluable for managing my cancer.”

Christina, an 18-year-old student, came to the Osher Center after a recurrence of pediatric cancer. She received acupuncture and nutritional care to cope with the side effects of her treatments, and she joined the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction group program to help with her fears. Her acupuncture treatments helped relieve her nausea, while her practice of mindfulness helped Christina to live in the present moment.

Over time, Christina’s cancer went into remission. She felt as though this bout with the disease gave her the opportunity to heal, and she was able to resume her life with much less fear. Today, Christina is a national spokesperson for children living with and beyond cancer.


Adam’s Story

“Acupuncture helped me sleep again, and my blood pressure is coming down because the people at the Osher Center look at my whole lifestyle. They helped me get my body in sync and break that downward spiral of pain and despair. They gave me another chance at my life.”

Adam came to the Osher Center seeking acupuncture to control his high blood pressure and chronic pain caused by an accident seven years earlier. Medication was not effective, his cardiologist was out of ideas, and Adam was unemployed. The Community Care Fund gave Adam a chance to climb out of this hole. “I had always been active and involved with people around me,” Adam recalled. “My health made me feel needy and useless. That’s changing now, and I’m so grateful for the Community Care Fund.”

Working with the clinic’s physicians, Adam adopted a new diet and nutrition plan. Then he began tai chi classes and acupuncture treatments. “I had not had a good night’s sleep in years because of the pain,” Adam said. Last spring, after seven years of pain and isolation, Adam returned to work.

Other Giving Opportunities