Coordinating Center

Led by Dr. Hilary Seligman, the UCSF Center for Vulnerable Populations (CVP) functions as the Coordinating Center for the Nutrition & Obesity Network for Policy Research and Evaluation (NOPREN). As NOPREN’s administrative home, CVP resources are used to extend administrative support of the projects within NOPREN. They act as a liaison between the CDC and the community of people who conduct nutrition policy research and implement research policy from the national to the local levels. They emphasize interfacing with external stakeholders and bringing those stakeholders into the Working Groups as a mechanism to engage them with CDC priorities, leverage their experience and expertise, and promote dissemination into local communities. Their role as the Coordinating Center is to provide vision across the Working Groups and engage with external stakeholders in order to achieve their Aims.

The UCSF Center for Vulnerable Populations at San Francisco General Hospital carries out innovative research to prevent and treat chronic disease in populations for whom social conditions often conspire to both promote various chronic diseases and make their management more challenging. Founded in 2006, the CVP is based within the UCSF Department of Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine and is located on the campus of San Francisco General Hospital. Beyond the local communities it serves, CVP is nationally and internationally known for its research in health communication and health policy to reduce health disparities, with special expertise in the social determinants of health, including literacy, food policy, poverty, and minority status, with a focus on the clinical conditions of pre-diabetes, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

The Food Policy, Health, and Hunger Research Program

Through a combination of research and advocacy, the UCSF Center for Vulnerable Populations is committed to creating communities where healthy food is appealing, affordable, and easily accessible.

Obesity and diabetes are the public health epidemics of this generation. The burden of obesity and diabetes falls most heavily on low-income and minority populations. These epidemics, and the food environments which foster them, must be addressed within individuals, households, and, most importantly, within communities. The Center for Vulnerable Populations seeks to understand the policy levers that influence the food environment in ways that make healthy food choices easy food choices.


The CVP mural is a collage of images and ideas generated through a collaborative and participatory design process involving faculty, staff, and patients led by Precita Eyes, a San Francisco Mission District based community muralist organization. Workshops were held with faculty, staff and patients to determine what CVP meant to each person through individual sketches and group brainstorming sessions. Key words, ideas, or images that came from these sessions were physical activity, fresh fruits and vegetables, farmers’ markets, safe community spaces, diverse communities, double helix DNA, challenges of the system and breaking through these systemic barriers to enact change. Additionally, focus was placed on the development of the new San Francisco General Hospital and the diverse patient population that it serves.

CVP Mural Project: Precita Eyes
Photo of Mural: Casey Dominguez, (530) 615-6087