Medical stalwarts to help reopen 49ers venue


San Francisco 49ers create medical advisory committee Image: San Francisco 49ers

The San Francisco 49ers have assembled an advisory committee with leading medical experts to explore the best practices and health considerations that will underpin an eventual safe reopening of Levi’s® Stadium.

A statement on the 49ers website stated, “The committee’s ongoing expert advice will guide how the 49ers determine safety protocols and leverage the newest technologies to support effective stadium design for the fans, employees and local community surrounding Levi’s® Stadium.”

The San Francisco 49ers are a professional American football team based in the San Francisco Bay Area, US. They compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member of the league’s National Football Conference West division.

The 68,500-capacity Levi’s® Stadium is an American football stadium located in Santa Clara, California, in the San Francisco Bay Area. It has served as the home venue for the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers since 2014.

Members of the committee include:

  • Dr. Robert ‘Bob’ Wachter, Chair of the Department of Medicine at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF);
  • Lloyd Dean, CEO, CommonSpirit Health, parent of Dignity Health;
  • Dr. Monica Gandhi, Professor of Medicine and Associate Division Chief of the Division of HIV, Infectious Diseases and Global Medicine at UCSF & San Francisco General Hospital; and
  • Dr. Lillian Brown, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of HIV, Infectious Diseases, and Global Medicine at UCSF & San Francisco General Hospital.

The 49ers website quoted 49ers President Al Guido as stating, “Opening Levi’s® Stadium as a mass vaccination site was just the first step in doing our part to protect our community. As vaccinations continue and preparations begin for the return of fans at Levi’s® Stadium, we want to set the standard for safety, and this committee of esteemed medical experts will help us to do just that. With the help of this committee, we hope to make informed, equitable and transparent choices to protect not just our fans but our employees and the local community as well. The members of this committee have spent the past 12 months on the frontlines of the COVID response and we look forward to leveraging the depth of their experience.”

The medical advisory committee will begin its work this month by looking into the public health considerations that will support the return to the stadium.

Dr. Wachter of UCSF remarked, “I’m happy to be working with the 49ers on this. We’ll eventually be returning to in-person events including live sports and it’s important that the way we do so is guided by science. It’s great to see Bay Area organizations like the 49ers taking the science seriously and I look forward to working with them on developing a sound plan that reinforces public health imperatives.”

Dean of CommonSpirit Health added, “The 49ers have long been a partner of Dignity Health, so I’m unsurprised at their thoughtful, conscientious approach to reopening and very happy to partner up with them again alongside leading medical experts.”

The committee will initially support the 49ers on the return of fans and employees, but the team is also committed to sharing the expert advice with other organizations in the Bay Area and beyond.

Dr. Gandhi of UCSF opined, “I’m looking forward to working with the 49ers on these important issues around a safe reopening. We’ll need to make sure the return of fans not only protects the fans but is safe for everyone involved – including the employees of Levi’s® Stadium and the local community.”

Dr. Brown of UCSF added, “The more groups that operate under public health best practices, the better. I think the 49ers’ approach to be as open as possible with other teams interested in a safe return to their stadiums is great. Our aim is to produce important insights and determine protocols that can be used as standards for stadiums across the country.”

Additional details about the work of the committee and its impact on the plans for the return to Levi’s® Stadium will be shared by the 49ers in the coming months.

The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) is a public land-grant research university in San Francisco, California. It is part of the University of California system and it is dedicated entirely to health science.

CommonSpirit Health, formed in 2019 by the alignment of Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI) and Dignity Health, is the largest nonprofit health system in the United States with more than 1,000 care sites in 21 States.

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