UCSF, John Muir Health establish cancer center in Berkeley

Vanessa Lim/Staff

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In an effort to improve cancer care for patients within the East Bay, UCSF Health and John Muir Health jointly opened a cancer care center on San Pablo Avenue.

The UCSF–John Muir Health Cancer Center was created at the existing Berkeley Outpatient Center, which was established in 2018 by BayHealth, a joint venture between the two organizations. Cancer care is now one of 19 specialty care services offered in the Berkeley Outpatient Center.

“UCSF Health and John Muir Health are collaborating to bring the most advanced cancer services to Berkeley, which is home to many patients we already jointly serve,” said Mike Thomas, executive vice president and chief transformation officer at John Muir Health, in an email. “By bringing cancer care into this outpatient center, we are giving patients access to the most precise and personal cancer care services that both of our organizations offer.”

The new center is part of a larger goal of the two organizations to establish a “cancer network” to enhance cancer prevention, treatment and diagnosis for patients in the East Bay, according to Thomas.

The partnership between the two organizations began in 2015, and they plan to create multiple similar centers within the Bay Area, as well as a “world-class” cancer outpatient center on John Muir Health’s Walnut Creek Medical Center campus, according to Thomas.

The partners plan to open the Walnut Creek facility by 2023.

“What makes our services in Berkeley and in the developing cancer network unique is that patients have access to the most precise and personal cancer care services that UCSF Health and John Muir Health offer, as well as the combined clinical expertise of both organizations,” said Shelby Decosta, UCSF Health Affiliates Network president and UCSF Health chief strategy officer, in an email.

The Berkeley Outpatient Center houses a large Black population, according to Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín. The city’s 2018 Health Report shows that Black individuals in Berkeley have a higher likelihood of being diagnosed with cancer.

Arreguín added that the new facility will “help reduce health inequities” within Berkeley.

Since the center is located within an outpatient center, cancer patients can utilize multiple specialty care services in the same facility without having to travel far from home, according to Thomas.

“While Berkeley enjoys higher than average life expectancies (85 years compared to the national average of 80.8 in California), cancer is the leading cause of death in Berkeley,” Arreguín said in an email. “The opening of the Cancer Center is a welcome addition to the UCSF-John Muir Berkeley Outpatient Center, and will help meet the growing need for oncology services.”

Contact Emma Rooholfada at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @erooholfada_dc.