Our love was recognized as the 2018 UCSF Chancellor’s Award for Public Service. An astounding and humbling award, I am also honored to have accepted on behalf of our love.
The introduction video by Dr. Michael Reyes is one I’ll play again and again whenever I am feeling down.
My comments at the award luncheon:
I am profoundly grateful for Dr. Michael Reyes, Dr. Deb Cohan and Tom Foster for nominating me for this award. Among an entire University of people who show up to do good each day, it is humbling experience. Thank you for seeing me.
I started working at UCSF the same day my youngest child started preschool. He confidently strode into class with his lunch. I nervously dove into learning about HIV and maternal health.
Within a short time, I fell madly in love with the work and the people.
The intersection of sexual and reproductive health at and the possibility of contributing to health equity became a way of life, more than a job. Soon my kids joined in stuffing envelopes, making videos, and attending evening and weekend events.
Seeing how brief interactions can have great impact, I then had a vision of changing the world one love note at a time. I call it a “Get Love. Give Love.” revolution. On the weekends, I began painting and hanging love notes in public places, geotagging these locations at LoveYou2.org. Later creating love note templates and hosting live love note writing events.
Pierre Reverdy said, there is no love, only proofs of love. These love notes give tangible evidence of what cannot be seen but can only be felt.
The Get love. Give love. circled back to me in the biggest way. The skills I’d gained from my passion project, helped me launch four public health initiatives in recent years, two of the websites with geotagging features. For me, it’s all love notes. And my kids are still in the thick of it with me.
I had written love note to the 300 attendees, hidden under their chairs. At the end of my comments they were surprised with their notes. Many people came to talk with me afterward about how spot-on the particular note was for them. Love is always like this.
From the UCSF media coverage of the awards luncheon:
The Chancellor Award for Public Service in the staff category was awarded to Shannon Weber, who has worked steadfastly on HIV prevention, care and treatment projects. Weber was hired in 2004 to direct the National Perinatal HIV Hotline, a free 24/7, expert consultation service based in UCSF’s Department of Family and Community Medicine that provides direct access to experts for questions on HIV and pregnancy. She created the nation’s only referral network of clinicians equipped to care for HIV-infected pregnant women and their infants. She also created and directed the nation’s only referral network of infertility clinics willing to care for couples affected by HIV, the Bay Area Perinatal AIDS Center (now called HIVE).
“I cannot overestimate Shannon’s impact on the world of perinatal, women’s health and sexual HIV prevention and care,” said Deborah Cohan, MD, MPH, professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences, in nominating Weber. “Over a period of 10 years she went from being a total newcomer to now one of the best-known, most-respected, go-to international experts in the field that is dominated by physicians.”
Cohan also noted that in addition to all of her contributions to the workplace, Weber launched a project that began as a simple love note-writing exercise between her and her three kids that has become a vibrant website, LoveYou2, and the topic of a TED talk. Weber’s creative approaches have provided fundraising opportunities for HIVE. Weber demonstrated that point on Friday leaving love notes taped underneath the seats for every person gathered at the awards luncheon.
Thank you to UCSF for being a workplace that supports values driven initiatives and recognizes the impact of love in creating a better world.