3-Minute Interview: Alicia Boccellari

The director of the Division of Psychosocial Medicine at San Francisco General Hospital is among the recipients of the 2008 Heroes & Hearts Award. Presented by the San Francisco General Hospital Foundation, the honor goes to San Francisco workers who demonstrate exceptional and inspirational behavior in the community. Boccellari will join this year’s four other honorees at Union Square on Feb. 14 for a luncheon.

What does your title mean? I help run programs that remove barriers to care for people who don’t have access to, or resist, health care — those affected by chronic poverty, drug use or who are victims of violence of inequities in the social system. The programs aren’t just for people who are homeless or who have mental health problems.

What did you do to earn the Heroes distinction? First, I want to say that I feel incredibly honored and touched. Some of my staff nominated me, but the credit really belongs to them. They’re doing really incredible work, and the patients are, too.

Does your work correspond to any of the mayor’s initiatives on the homeless? Our Emergency Department Case Management Program, which serves people who have visited the hospital emergency room more than 50 times in a year, has won awards and been replicated in 10 cities.

Dealing with such difficult issues sounds depressing. How do you cope? The work has enormous challenges, being witness to people at their lowest point. Yet it’s balanced by seeing how people find strength, of recognizing how resilient they are. We open ourselves to small miracles every day.

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

The Giants and Dodgers face each other again following a May series the Dodgers swept; Dodgers shortstop Gavin Lux caught stealing by Giants second baseman Donovan Solano at Oracle Park on May 23 is pictured. 
Chris Victorio/
Special to The Examiner
Giants vs. Dodgers: What you need to know before this week’s huge series

By Chris Haft Special to The Examiner That grinding noise you’ll hear… Continue reading

San Francisco Police stand guard outside the Mission Police Station during a protest over the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd on Saturday, May 30, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Fired: California bill aims to decertify police for serious misconduct

By Robert Lewis CalMatters On a Wednesday afternoon in April 2018, Gardena… Continue reading

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Monday that state employees and health care workers must be vaccinated or undergo weekly testing and wear masks. (Photo by Anne Wernikoff, CalMatters)
California orders vaccine or testing for health care workers, state employees

By Ana B. Ibarra CalMatters Amid an uptick in COVID-19 cases and… Continue reading

Ali Jamalian, whose life was disrupted in the wake of being charged with possession decades ago, now heads up Sunset Connect, a cannabis manufacturing company. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
Green Rush: Cannabis equity program elevates unexpected entrepreneurs

‘It’s a form of reparations for those of us who were ruined by cannabis arrest’

Most Read