Something familiar and something new: Introducing the UCSF Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

By Nicholas Roznovsky

UCSF Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences logo

Since its founding in 1943, the University of California, San Francisco’s Department of Psychiatry has been comprised of professionals representing a wide variety of allied behavioral health fields, including not only psychiatrists, but also psychologists, social workers, nurses, therapists, counselors, neuroscientists, and many others. All of these experts have made important contributions and continue to be integral to the department’s core mission of advancing mental health across the lifespan through clinical care, education, research, and public service. Beginning today, the department’s name will officially reflect that.

Effective July 1, 2020, the UCSF Department of Psychiatry has changed its name to the UCSF Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences to better reflect the valuable contributions of its faculty, staff, and trainees across the entire spectrum of behavioral health.

This move marks the culmination of a process that began in earnest in late 2018, based upon the recommendations of an earlier department task force on psychology. Following multiple rounds of deliberation and strong support at the department level, the proposal was formally approved by the UCSF Academic Senate and Chancellor Sam Hawgood, MBBS, earlier this year.

“When we began exploring the possibility of a name change nearly two years ago, our hope was to ensure that our identity was inclusive and reflective of the multitude of disciplines that contribute to our department’s efforts,” said Oberndorf Family Distinguished Professor and department chair Matthew W. State, MD, PhD. “Thanks to the participation and overwhelming support of our department members and our colleagues across UCSF, I believe that we have achieved that.”

The name change will be phased in on department correspondence, electronic media, and other materials over the coming weeks. The department will continue to use its current web domain — — and all department members’ email addresses will remain the same.

About UCSF Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

The UCSF Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and the Langley Porter Psychiatric Institute are among the nation's foremost resources in the fields of child, adolescent, adult, and geriatric mental health. Together they constitute one of the largest departments in the UCSF School of Medicine and the UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences, with a mission focused on research (basic, translational, clinical), teaching, patient care, and public service.

UCSF Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences conducts its clinical, educational, and research efforts at a variety of locations in Northern California, including Langley Porter Psychiatric Hospital and Clinics; UCSF Medical Centers at Parnassus Heights, Mission Bay, and Mount Zion; UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals in San Francisco and Oakland; Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center; the San Francisco VA Health Care System; UCSF Fresno; and numerous community-based sites around the San Francisco Bay Area.

About the UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences

The UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences, established by the extraordinary generosity of Joan and Sanford I. "Sandy" Weill, brings together world-class researchers with top-ranked physicians to solve some of the most complex challenges in the human brain.

The UCSF Weill Institute leverages UCSF’s unrivaled bench-to-bedside excellence in the neurosciences. It unites three UCSF departments—Neurology, Psychiatry, and Neurological Surgery—that are highly esteemed for both patient care and research, as well as the Neuroscience Graduate Program, a cross-disciplinary alliance of nearly 100 UCSF faculty members from 15 basic-science departments, as well as the UCSF Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases, a multidisciplinary research center focused on finding effective treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, frontotemporal dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and other neurodegenerative disorders.

About UCSF

UC San Francisco (UCSF) is a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care. It includes top-ranked graduate schools of dentistry, medicine, nursing and pharmacy; a graduate division with nationally renowned programs in basic, biomedical, translational and population sciences; and a preeminent biomedical research enterprise.

It also includes UCSF Health, which comprises three top-ranked hospitals—UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals in San Francisco and Oakland—as well as Langley Porter Psychiatric Hospital and Clinics, UCSF Benioff Children’s Physicians, and the UCSF Faculty Practice. UCSF Health has affiliations with hospitals and health organizations throughout the Bay Area. UCSF faculty also provide all physician care at the public Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center, and the San Francisco VA Medical Center. The UCSF Fresno Medical Education Program is a major branch of the University of California, San Francisco’s School of Medicine.