Mission Bay Cardiovascular Care and Prevention Center Celebrates 10-year Anniversary

Mission Bay Clinic UCSFHere is a look back at an article written in 2010 titled, "Personalization and Prevention: Cardiovascular Care Center Opens at Mission Bay." 

The Cardiovascular Care and Prevention Center at Mission Bay opened in November 2010, providing more coordinated care for patients and bolstering collaborations between clinicians and scientists interested in cardiovascular health.

“We didn’t want to take the same clinic and just put it within new walls,” said Dr. Jeff Olgin, chief of the Division of Cardiology at UCSF Medical Center. “This was an opportunity to create a very user-friendly clinic that provides a one-stop shopping experience.”

Cardiology services had previously been provided in three separate buildings on the Parnassus campus. The new center consolidates most outpatient cardiology services on the ground floor of the Smith Cardiovascular Research Institute (CVRI) building. The clinic’s footprint is about three times as large as the previous Parnassus locations combined, and includes 12 exam rooms, two echocardiography rooms, two stress testing rooms, and videoconferencing facilities to connect it with other UCSF sites. The upper four floors of the building house lab researchers focused on cardiovascular disease.

Dr. Ethan Weiss served as the point person for much of the design and implementation of the new center. Dr. Weiss, Dr. Olgin, and practice manager Brenda Mar met with six community medical practices to gather feedback on improving UCSF’s cardiology practice. Among other changes, the Division hired referral coordinators to help new patients navigate the UCSF system, and divided the cardiology practice into smaller teams. Each team has a care coordinator to facilitate communication among patients, referring physicians and UCSF cardiologists.

Center for Prevention

One of the teams is led by Dr. William Grossman, and focuses on prevention. In 2008, he received a $10 million gift from the Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation to launch what is now the Center for Prevention for Heart and Vascular Disease. “The Schwabs were there for us at the very start, and they clearly understood the importance of prevention,” said Dr. Grossman. “They were also very enthusiastic about our efforts to extend prevention to vulnerable populations.”

The Mission Bay clinic allows Dr. Grossman and others to more easily consult with his colleagues on clinical matters. “Here, if I’m seeing a patient with a complicated arrhythmia problem, it’s likely that I’ll be able to show somebody else in the arrhythmia group the EKG right away and get instantaneous feedback,” said Dr. Grossman. “That’s a definite advantage.”

Having lab and test facilities onsite reduces red tape for patients. “I saw a patient today, and after her visit we were able to get her blood drawn, have her stress echocardiogram done right here, and get the results without needing her to come back, or to go to a different part of UCSF,” said Dr. Grossman. The new clinic provides shower facilities for patients who need to freshen up after a treadmill test before returning to work or other commitments. The center will also partner with the Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery to offer vascular testing onsite.

Connecting Clinical and Lab Research

About six years ago, Dr. Grossman – at that time the chief of the Division of Cardiology at UCSF Medical Center – first developed the idea of housing the Cardiovascular Care and Prevention Center in the CVRI building with Dr. Shaun Coughlin, director of the institute.

“Shaun’s idea was to have these big open spaces where scientists who are working on different projects could have lunch or coffee together,” said Dr. Grossman. “We’ve only been open a few months, but you can see it – it’s palpable.”

These frequent, serendipitous interactions will also support the translation of laboratory discoveries to patients, and speed the feedback loop back to researchers so they can refine innovations. For example, Dr. Grossman and Dr. Judith Prochaska in the UCSF Department of Psychiatry are co-principal investigators on a study to test Center for Prevention patients’ exposure to secondhand smoke compared with general cardiology patients.  More than 130 patients have already volunteered to participate in the study, which requires a blood sample. Instead of having to go to a different building and wait for a separate study nurse or technician, the clinic’s medical assistants can now easily collect an extra vial of blood for the study while patients are having their regular blood work performed.

Another exciting development which will be supported by the thoughtful design of the new clinic is the Division of Cardiology’s new clinical research program, directed by Dr. Gregory Marcus. “The new clinic will allow us to centralize clinical trials and data collection of clinical cohorts,” said Dr. Olgin.

For example, eventually all cardiology patients will have the opportunity to donate blood and DNA and provide detailed family histories, and their outcomes can be tracked over time to better determine what factors contribute to heart disease. The resulting patient database and repository of biological samples will provide an invaluable resource for other UCSF researchers conducting research on the genetics and biology of cardiovascular disease.

“In terms of our Center for Prevention, the name of the game is personalization of our approach,” said Dr. Grossman. “From a scientific point of view, that means genetic testing, and all these high-tech aspects. Most important for patients, they want a doctor who really listens to them, who knows them, pays attention to them, and is going to be available to them. That’s what we try to do.”

Overall, the transition to the new clinic has been very smooth, said Dr. Olgin. “Universally, patients have loved coming down here,” he said. “Parking is not an issue, and the space is really beautiful.”

- Elizabeth Chur

10-year Anniversary Update 

Since its opening, the Cardiovascular Care and Prevention Center has seen a lot of growth inside and outside the clinic walls. In 2010, it was the only clinic at the South San Francisco location apart from the UCSF Orthopedic Institute. Now, in 2020, the campus has the Weill Institute for Neuroscience, the Chase Center, housing developments, restaurants, and more. “The area has exploded in growth; there wasn’t the community that there is now,” said Brenda Mar, RN, MSN, Director of Cardiology Ambulatory Services, Heart and Vascular Center.  Brenda has managed the clinic’s development since it opened and observed that, “We’re lucky to be surrounded by the phenomenal Mission Bay Campus.”  

The clinic supports academics with full programs of residents, interns, and fellows. “In the school of nursing, nurse practitioner students come to shadow there. All types of students come in and out of the space,” confirmed Brenda.

Another important aspect the clinic fosters is research collaborations. The campus puts UCSF physicians in close proximity to UCSF researchers to understand and treat diseases. The campus is proud to support UCSF’s key initiatives of top-rated clinical care, research, and academics.

The clinic has far exceeded expectations, and 10 years later, the building is almost at capacity. The COVID-19 pandemic has provided many challenges, but it “has given physicians and staff opportunities to use the innovative technological tools that the clinic was outfitted with,” said Brenda.

“The clinic withstands the test of time. It still looks great; it’s a classic model that was built to last. And we are glad we pushed the boundaries in terms of the way it was designed. Since 2005 this has been a vision, and it came to fruition in 2010 and now, 2020, we see the roots.”