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UC San Diego Health Ranked #1 by U.S. News & World Report

Region’s only academic health system ranks #1 in San Diego and #5 in California with 10 medical and surgical specialties rated among nation’s best

Jacobs Medical Center at UC San Diego Health
Jacobs Medical Center at UC San Diego Health is a 364-bed advanced medical center in La Jolla that is home to inpatient care, surgical facilities, outpatient clinics, a blood bank and a pharmacy.


  • Michelle Brubaker

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  • Michelle Brubaker

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UC San Diego Health is ranked #1 in San Diego, placing it among the nation’s best hospitals, according to the 2021-2022 U.S. News & World Report survey. The annual rankings are designed to assist patients and their doctors in making informed decisions about where to receive care for a variety of health conditions, common elective procedures and complex surgeries.

“Given all that has happened in the past eighteen months related to the pandemic, we are extremely honored to be named as the top health system in San Diego and #5 in California,” said Patty Maysent, CEO, UC San Diego Health. “This national recognition is a testament to the continued dedication of our team members to provide superb care to our patients, our community and our region.”

“Patients seek out UC San Diego Health for its excellent patient care and its ability to provide effective traditional and emerging therapies for a full spectrum of common, serious and rare conditions,” said UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “I express my sincere appreciation to our extraordinary team of physicians, nurses, technologists and staff at UC San Diego Health.”

For the 2021-22 rankings and ratings, U.S. News & World Report evaluated more than 4,750 medical centers nationwide in 15 specialties and 17 procedures and conditions. In the 15 specialty areas, 175 hospitals (approximately 3.7 percent) were ranked in the top 50 in at least one specialty. UC San Diego Health was ranked in 10 specialties: 

  • Pulmonology (9): UC San Diego Health has been consistently rated in the top tier of this medical specialty, involving medical and surgical therapies for pulmonary (lung) disease. Our Pulmonary and Critical Care division provides state-of-the-art diagnosis and management of the full range of common and rare respiratory, critical care and sleep medicine symptoms and conditions. Most recently, we have led the way regionally in COVID-19 treatment and research; including our Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) program, which established and led the Southern California ECMO Consortium that allowed for equitable provision of ECMO across the region and assessed more than 300 patients in need of life support during the height of the pandemic. In 2021, the ECMO program at UC San Diego Health received the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization (ELSO) Gold Level Center of Excellence award.
  • Geriatrics (13): The Geriatrics and Gerontology team is committed to providing top quality, evidence-based care to older adults, including addressing social and emotional needs. In July 2021, UC San Diego Health opened an innovative geriatric medicine clinic that provides robust home care programs, inpatient consultation services and a continuum of high-quality care. The geriatrics team at UC San Diego Health also leads a Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program in partnership with San Diego State University, which trains and builds the work force to better care for older adults in San Diego and Imperial counties. In 2020, UC San Diego, the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute established a National Institutes of Health-funded Nathan Shock Center of Excellence to understand the diversity of issues related to aging and develop personalized interventions to increase health span. UC San Diego Health is also home to California's first accredited senior emergency care unit at Jacobs Medical Center in La Jolla.
  • Cancer (17): Established in 1978, Moores Cancer Center at UC San Diego Health is the region’s only National Cancer Institute-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. The NCI designation is awarded only to the nation’s top centers and signifies that UC San Diego Health oncology provides broad, multi-disciplinary cancer care. Moores Cancer Center sets treatment standards nationwide for more than 200 types of cancer, is at the forefront in developing tailored combinations of promising new therapies, is currently enrolling patients in more than 400 active clinical trials and is pioneering the latest surgical techniques to deliver cancer care as unique as its patients.
  • Gastroenterology and GI Surgery (18): Nationally recognized for its groundbreaking care of patients with gastrointestinal and liver diseases, including colorectal cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, liver cirrhosis requiring transplant, fatty liver disease and esophageal and motility disorders by multidisciplinary teams of specialists, including endoscopists, oncologists, surgeons and radiologists. The Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center at UC San Diego Health diagnoses and treats people with IBD from around the world, and the UC San Diego NAFLD Research Center is dedicated to performing leading-edge translational research in all aspects of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. In 2020, U.S. News & World Report named University of California San Diego School of Medicine as a top global university and ranked the divisions of Gastroenterology and Hepatology first in the world for research.
  • Cardiology and Heart Surgery (23): The Cardiovascular Institute at UC San Diego Health offers comprehensive care for advanced heart failure, heart and lung transplantation, complex coronary interventions, heart rhythm disorders, robotic and minimally invasive cardiac surgery, structural and adult congenital heart disease, percutaneous and surgical treatment of thromboembolic pulmonary vascular disease and intensive cardiac rehabilitation. Our heart and lung transplant programs boast superb one-year survival rates. Our physician-scientists are also involved in a robust basic science, clinical and translational research program of cardiovascular diseases. In 2021, the Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center at UC San Diego Health celebrated 10 years of community service, offering multidisciplinary, state-of-the-art, individualized cardiovascular care.
  • Ear, Nose & Throat (26): UC San Diego Health’s Ear, Nose and Throat team is dedicated to treating the full spectrum of head and neck disorders, including surgery for acoustic neuroma, hearing loss and deafness, sinus disease, facial nerve paralysis, swallowing and voice disorders, as well as comprehensive treatment for head and neck cancers. Its groundbreaking researchers are among the first in the nation to use fluorescence to tag tumors during surgery, leaders in human papillomavirus-related cancers, first in the region to perform cochlear implant surgery and first to define the role of anosmia with COVID-19.
  • Neurology & Neurosurgery (26): UC San Diego Health serves as an international destination for specialized, innovative neurologic and procedural care. The program at UC San Diego Health covers the full range of contemporary neurosurgical practice. Specialty divisions include neuro-oncology, skull-base surgery, neurovascular, neuro-spine, pediatric neurosurgery and functional and epilepsy surgery. Deep sub-specialty expertise supports Level 4 Epilepsy and Comprehensive Stroke Center certifications, as well as Centers of Excellence in Parkinson’s disease, Lewy Body Dementia, Huntington’s disease, multiple sclerosis and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Our renowned brain tumor, skull base and spine centers advance the performance of path-defining procedures.
  • Gynecology (29): UC San Diego Health offers the full spectrum of obstetric services from prenatal care by certified midwives to highly specialized care for patients with complex pregnancies. We provide more birthing options than any other hospital in San Diego. UC San Diego Health also offers general and highly specialized gynecologic care to patients in every stage of life with diverse needs and diagnoses. UC San Diego Health experts are highly skilled and internationally recognized for managing multiple conditions, including fibroids, endometriosis, infertility and gynecologic cancer. The Women’s Pelvic Medicine Center is the first in the region to specialize in issues such as incontinence, vaginal prolapse and urinary tract infections.
  • Urology (39): The Department of Urology at UC San Diego Health leads national clinical trials in kidney stone disease, men’s health, reconstructive urology, urinary incontinence and prostate, kidney and bladder cancer. New, innovative initiatives underway focus on focal therapy for prostate cancer, novel diagnostic markers for testis cancer and female sexual health.
  • Orthopedics (45): The Department of Orthopedics and Sports Medicine offers expert treatments and surgeries for all types of muscular and skeletal conditions and injuries. Using leading-edge technologies, including robotics and augmented reality, our doctors personalize care for our patients in sports medicine, oncology, trauma, spine and rehabilitation. UC San Diego Health is the Official Health Care Provider of the San Diego Padres, UC San Diego Athletics and San Diego Seals Lacrosse.

“San Diegans are fortunate to have so many options for quality health care,” said Maysent. “UC San Diego Health stands apart because of our dedicated and talented team members whose many contributions to research, clinical care and education enable us to treat the most complex cases. Our experts, combined with their multidisciplinary approach to care, reinforce our reputation as a premier academic medical center.”

UC San Diego Medical Center

UC San Diego Medical Center in Hillcrest is a 390-bed hospital and a critical regional resource, housing a Level 1 Trauma Center, Regional Burn Center and Comprehensive Stroke Center.

UC San Diego Health is also rated by U.S. News & World Report as “high performing” in 15 common procedures and conditions, which cover a spectrum of care from heart procedures and hip and knee replacements to cancer surgeries for the lung and colon. 

“The pandemic tested our health care system, processes and care teams. The rankings illustrate the resilience and dedication of each,” said Chad VanDenBerg, MPH, chief quality and patient safety officer at UC San Diego Health. “Our staff come to work every day with the goal of providing the safest and most compassionate and advanced care to our patients. It is those extraordinary efforts that make these impressive outcomes possible, like so many of our specialties rising in the rankings, especially cancer, which has gone from #47 to #17 in the nation this year.”

U.S. News & World Report “Best Hospitals” methodologies in most areas of care are based largely on objective measures, such as risk-adjusted survival and discharge-to-home rates, volume and staffing of nursing, among other care-related indicators. 

Another key component of U.S. News & World Report rankings is the expert opinion score, which is based on physicians around the nation voting for the best hospitals in their specialty. 

“The reputation of our extraordinary physicians among their colleagues across the country is a reflection of the strength of our diverse faculty and trainees across multiple specialties, and drives referrals for challenging cases,” said Chris Longhurst, MD, associate chief medical officer for quality and safety at UC San Diego Health. “It is these contributors that allow us to be successful and remain on the forefront of care both locally and nationally.”

Through its rankings, U.S. News & World Report has worked to make hospital quality more transparent to health care consumers nationwide for three decades. 

“This year’s expanded report from U.S. News & World Report includes new ratings for important procedures and conditions to help each patient pick the right hospital for the type of care they need,” said Ben Harder, managing editor and chief of health analysis at U.S. News. “Hospitals faced incredible challenges this past year, and the best of them have provided great care throughout the pandemic and continue to offer excellent care today.”

CEO Maysent said UC San Diego Health was gratified by the recognition. “These rankings remind us all of the importance of our work, and we appreciate every patient who chooses us for care.” 

UC San Diego Health is comprised of UC San Diego Medical Center in Hillcrest and Jacobs Medical Center, Sulpizio Cardiovascular Institute, Moores Cancer Center, Shiley Eye Institute, and the Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute, all in La Jolla, as well as primary care and same-day services at clinics throughout Southern California. UC San Diego Health Medical Center is home to the area’s only Regional Burn Center and one of only two Level I trauma centers in the county.

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