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UC employees aided by Risk Services

As UC looks for innovative ways to work smarter, safer and reduce costs, Risk Services provides a good model for what’s possible.

The 14-person department, headed by Grace Crickette, is responsible for managing and reducing risk and creating a safer university environment for students, faculty, staff, medical center patients and visitors.

Crickette, who came to UCOP in 2004, has focused on several major initiatives for the University. These efforts include reducing the cost of risk, implementing system and local safety programs, improving claims management systems, developing risk financing strategies, and implementing Enterprise Risk Management (ERM), and emergency management and business continuity planning throughout the university.

The results have been dramatic, with savings of roughly $420 million over the past five years. Risk Services has cut costs even while expanding its risk management programs in foreign travel, student activities, and university-wide security.

At the annual Risk Summit earlier this month, several people from across the UC system spoke about how they have directly benefitted from some of the new initiatives.

James Buck, who graduated from UC Berkeley in May with advanced degrees in journalism and Middle Eastern studies, recounted his arrest in Egypt while covering a protest for his masters’ thesis.

“Being detained in a foreign country is often a precarious situation that can take days, weeks or months to sort through. And in Egypt some people simply disappear,” Buck said. “Thanks to the Risk Services travel insurance program, I was out in just under 24 hours. Risk Services contacted a lawyer who arranged for my release and who later advocated on behalf of my translator.”

Helping extract students, faculty and staff from precarious situations is just one part of the department’s work. The unit also helps campuses and medical centers reduce workplace injuries, provides resources for beefing up university security where it’s needed most and helps collect and analyze data aimed at identifying best practices for reducing risk.

Data analysis even extends to medical center patient outcomes.

UC San Diego emergency physician Dan Davis credited the program with helping increase the survival rate of patients following cardiac arrest.

When UCSD rolled out a new resuscitation training model, Risk Services helped

clinical staff manage data collection on the program’s effectiveness. The resulting analysis helped build support for the new model, which has decreased the rate of cardiac arrest by over 70 percent among patients not in the intensive care unit.

And for those patients who do suffer cardiac arrest, the new resuscitation training model has tripled the number of patients surviving with good neurological recovery, Davis said.

“It is incredibly gratifying to know that within just a few years of implementing our program, dozens of patients who otherwise would have died are now at home with their families,” he said.

Risk Services has also helped campuses make significant reductions to workplace injuries.

Bob Wachter, an injury prevention specialist at UC Davis said that Risk Services’ Be Smart About Safety program helped make a significant dent in on-the-job-injuries by helping pay for new tools, equipment and workplace training.

“This fiscal year, injuries are down 10 percent, which provides a lot of satisfaction for our program,” Wachter said. “The icing on the cake is that these changes often greatly increase productivity. Jobs that sometimes took three to four people now take a single person or half the time.”

More about UC Risk Services at

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