About Us

MERC is housed within the Division of General Internal Medicine in the UCSF School of Medicine and unites investigators from multiple disciplines, departments and schools. We conduct community and practice-based, clinical and outcomes research on health services, specific medical conditions, and prevention that addresses racial and ethnic disparities in health and health care in pursuit of health equity. MERC is committed to promoting the development of minority investigators and supports training and mentoring of students, residents, fellows and junior faculty. MERC has built a network of relationships with diverse community-based organizations and strives to incorporate the community perspective in training and research.

The Multiethnic Health Equity Research Center (formerly Medical Effectiveness Research Center) was established within the UCSF School of Medicine in 1993 under the guidance of Drs. Gene Washington and Eliseo Perez-Stable. Recent Directors include Drs. Celia Kaplan and Tung Nguyen. The current Director is Dr. Leah Karliner, and Co-Directors are Drs. Maria Garcia and Jane Jih.


Our Mission Statement

The mission of MERC is to promote equity in health and healthcare for ethnically and linguistically diverse groups through applied multidisciplinary research and by training the next generation of investigators committed to achieving health equity. We seek to discover the mechanisms that explain health disparities and to develop, evaluate, and implement interventions that prevent and treat disease and advance health equity within healthcare systems and communities.

To achieve our mission, we are committed to:

  • Ensuring research questions and results are relevant to the study populations and communities 
  • Using culturally appropriate and community-engaged methods to recruit study participants
  • Collecting disaggregated race/ethnicity data to track, monitor and eliminate disparities
  • Advocating for evidence-based policy and structural changes to advance equity in health and healthcare