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Government Affairs

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As UC San Diego Health's primary point of contact with local, state and federal branches of government, our Government and Community Affairs team maintains consistent relationships with elected officials and their staff and is responsible for all legislative and community relations activities in the private, public and government sectors. These activities are conducted on behalf of UC San Diego Health, including UC San Diego School of Medicine and Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

To achieve our goals, our Government and Community Affairs team meets with elected officials and their staff and serves as a community sounding board and liaison with UC San Diego Health. More broadly, we engage with the community to identify opportunities to promote health, health education and work-force development in the health care sector. Much of our work focuses on outreach to under-represented groups, including the LGBT community, the senior community and communities in southeastern San Diego and the South Bay.

To leverage our ability to serve, we emphasize nurturing and growing a wide variety of partnerships and collaborations with community groups, health care professionals and government sectors. When possible, we work to secure private and public grants to further support these efforts.

Other activities and services include:

  • Promoting and supporting a variety of health education programs throughout San Diego County
  • Increasing public access to health care by providing care to those who lack insurance or who are under-insured
  • Referring UC San Diego Health faculty experts to government committees and inviting our faculty to engage with community groups and attend community events to provide the community with accurate health information
  • Enlisting the community in community-based research projects that can ultimately address health disparities and foster health education

The sum total of our efforts and how we measure our success is to foster improved health and well-being in our community and beyond.


Zachary Schlagel, Director of Government Affairs

Zachary Schlagel

Zachary Schlagel is director of government affairs at UC San Diego Health. A recognized leader in health care and public policy, his key responsibilities include building support for our strategic priorities with our Federal, State and Local elected officials. He also works in tandem with regional allies, such as the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, to advocate for important bills and issues affecting the industry

Mr. Schlagel has been instrumental in securing support from elected officials, community leaders and community organizations for our Hillcrest Health Campus' Long Range Development Plan, which is the framework for the $2 billion comprehensive rebuild of our aging medical center and surrounding campus.

Prior to joining UC San Diego Health in 2007, Mr. Schlagel worked as a community representative for a member of the U.S. Congress. In this role, he served as the Representative's local advisor on healthcare, education and environmental issues. Mr. Schlagel has also served as an advisor and volunteer on a number of local and national political campaigns. In 2018 he was recognized as one of San Diego's NEXT Top 40 Under 40 by the San Diego Business Journal for his active leadership in the community and at UC San Diego Health.

Mr. Schlagel is a thought leader in the public health movement, advising local non-profit organizations on legislative strategy and advocacy.  After chairing UC San Diego Health's successful smoke-free hospital effort in 2009, he joined the leadership board for the American Lung Association – San Diego Chapter, and was instrumental in the passage of e-cigarette regulations in the City and County of San Diego in 2014.

His passion for diversity and inclusion led him to serve on the Board of San Diego LGBT Pride and the Mexican-American Business & Professionals Association. Additionally, he spearheaded the nation's first-ever hospital lighting to recognize the LGBT community, which has become an annual tradition at UC San Diego Health. He also helped launch major systemwide initiatives at UC San Diego Health that seek to empower communities of color and our LGBT staff, patients, visitors and neighbors.

One of Mr. Schlagel's proudest moments was receiving UC San Diego's Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action and Diversity Award from former Chancellor Marye Anne Fox for his work in fostering diversity and inclusion throughout UC San Diego Health.

Mr. Schlagel received his bachelor's degree in political science from UC San Diego in 2004. A lifelong San Diegan, he lives in the Clairemont area with his wife Rachel, son Jack, and daughter Violet.


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