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Our History

We’ve been an integral part of San Francisco history for 150 years, responding to the city’s health crises and working to improve the health and well-being of all San Franciscans.

Historic Milestones

NOW
COVID-19

The Coronavirus pandemic hits the world. ZSFG reacts by helping all in need and being a critical public health resource for information, care, and vaccine distribution in San Francisco.

2020
2016
A New Era in Care

In 2016, construction of our new facility was completed. Today, Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center cares for 20% of all San Franciscans.

Arial view down at the roof of the new hospital building
San Franciscans OK New Hospital Building

84% of San Francisco voters passed Proposition A to build a new acute care and trauma center on the original hospital site. In 2011, San Francisco General Hospital Foundation launched the Heart of Our City Capital Campaign to raise funds.

2008
1981
Opening ceremony for AIDS Ward in 1981
Pioneering HIV/AIDS Care

The first AIDS case was confirmed at San Francisco General Hospital. The hospital opened Ward 58, the first AIDS inpatient unit in the US, and Ward 86, the first outpatient clinic dedicated to AIDS – setting the world standard for care and treatment of AIDS.

Photo Courtesy of San Francisco General Hospital Historical Archives

Two emergency doctors performing a procedure on baby in 1972
The City’s Trauma Center

San Francisco General Hospital became a pioneer in trauma care and, in 1972, received its Federal Trauma Center designation, which it has held ever since.

Photo Courtesy of San Francisco General Hospital Historical Archives

1972
1930
newly completed hospital building from 1930s
For All San Franciscans

The hospital was providing 75% of all hospital care for San Franciscans who couldn‘t afford payment – with UCSF faculty staff, a house staff of young physicians, undergraduate and postgraduate nursing students, and 150 volunteers.

Photo Courtesy of San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library

The Great Earthquake and Fire

The Great San Francisco Earthquake struck on April 18th – destroying over 80% of the city and killing 3,000 people. Luckily the hospital was spared and became “a Mecca where all the sick and injured, be their situation what it may, sought shelter and treatment.”

Photo Courtesy of San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library

1906
1872
combination photo and drawing of first hospital from 1872
San Francisco’s First Public Hospital

The first official City and County Hospital was built at the present Potrero Avenue location. In 1878, the hospital began its agreement with the University of California Medical Center.

Photo Courtesy of San Francisco General Hospital Historical Archives

Early Settlement Days

Before the Gold Rush, San Francisco was a tiny settlement, pop. 850. Once gold was discovered, that quickly changed. The city’s population exploded and so did problems with sanitation and rampant illness, including cholera, tuberculosis, fevers, and smallpox.

Photo Courtesy of San Francisco General Hospital Historical Archives

1849
Did You Know?

Since 2007, we’ve been San Francisco’s only “Baby-Friendly”-certified hospital, according UNICEF and the World Health Organization.