Friends Establish Neurohospitalist Distinguished Professorship

Carmen Castro Franceschi (bottom right), Gladyne Mitchell, Andy Josephson, and Stephen Hauser, chair of the Department of Neurology, celebrate at the investiture ceremony.

When Carmen Castro Franceschi met UCSF physician S. Andrew Josephson, MD, she was so impressed with the care he gave to hospitalized neurology patients, she became determined to further his innovative work. Josephson not only helped found the emerging neurohospitalist specialty, but he also started the UCSF Neurohospitalist Program, one of the first of its kind nationally.

Castro Franceschi recruited her dear friend Gladyne Mitchell, whom she calls her "angel" for making a generous gift to the cause. The two enlisted other friends and, through the group’s contributions, UCSF was able to establish the Carmen Castro Franceschi and Gladyne K. Mitchell Neurohospitalist Distinguished Professorship. The inaugural recipient is Josephson.

Neurohospitalists specialize in caring for patients with neurological disorders in hospital settings. Their proximity to patients is key – how rapidly they administer interventions can deeply impact outcomes. "The quicker we can treat people with a number of emergent neurological conditions, the better they will do, so it’s important to have available inpatient specialists to care for them," says Josephson.

These specialists will also look beyond conditions such as a broken hip, assumed by most doctors to be caused by a fall, and determine whether an underlying neurological condition like Parkinson's disease or stroke might be the true culprit. They will evaluate patients admitted for pneumonia who are showing signs of delirium and discern if their confusion is actually a symptom of a hidden neurological disease.

The benefit, Josephson says, will be overall shorter hospital stays, less expensive health care, fewer hospital-acquired infections, and better outcomes for patients with neurologic disease. "As our population ages, more and more of us will find ourselves in the emergency room in a neurological crisis. We need hospitals staffed with experts in neurological care. Thanks to Carmen Castro Franceschi and Gladyne Mitchell, my team at UCSF and I are taking the lead in this effort nationwide."

Published for UCSF Insider, June 2013