Leah S. Karliner, MD, MAS 

Dr. Karliner is Professor in Residence in the Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). In addition to being the Director of the Multiethnic Health Equity Research Center at UCSF, she is Director of the Center for Aging in Diverse Communities at UCSF which is funded by the National Institute on Aging. She is also a member of the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. She is both a practicing general internist and a health services and implementation science researcher. She received her BA in History from Columbia University. She completed her medical and research training - including her MD degree, a residency in primary care internal medicine, a general internal medicine research fellowship and a Master’s of Advanced Studies in Clinical Research - at UCSF.

Her research is focused at the nexus of health disparities, health communication, and systems interventions to improve quality of care delivery for older patients. She has focused her communication work on under-served and high-risk patients, their families, and communities. She has expertise in diverse participant recruitment, survey-based research design, as well as implementation and evaluation of technology-mediated interventions. She is currently PI or co-PI on two NIH funded grants and one Patient Centered Outcomes Research Insitute (PCORI) contract. Her PCORI funded study is aimed at evaluating communication and process outcomes with older Spanish, Chinese and English-speaking primary care patients before and after implementation of enhanced professional interpreter services and clinician certification of bilingual language skills. Her recently completed NCI funded study was designed to identify actionable systems and communication factors contributing to timely or untimely follow-up for minority women after an abnormal mammogram. Dr. Karliner is co-PI on an NIDDK funded pragmatic RCT of an electronic health record-based clinical decision support tool for primary care physicians to deliver guideline driven care for chronic kidney disease. All of these studies focus on systems and communication approaches to improving care and reducing disparities for an aging, diverse population.


Jane Jih, MD, MPH, MAS

Dr. Jih is a practicing general internist-investigator and Associate Professor in the Division of General Internal Medicine (DGIM) at UCSF. In addition to serving as the Co-Director of the Multiethnic Health Equity Research Center in DGIM at UCSF, she is also Research Director of the Asian American Research Center on Health. Dr. Jih’s overall research program aims to reduce health disparities and promote health equity among multiethnic and linguistically diverse older adults by developing and evaluating innovative, patient-centered interventions. Her current work supported by NIH including a NIA GEMSSTAR R03 grant focuses on a) the influence of contextual factors (e.g. race/ethnicity, language, culture, health behaviors, patient preferences and goals) on chronic disease self-management, particularly among patients with multiple chronic conditions and b) patient-provider communication about contextual factors with particular interest in unmet health-related social needs such as food insecurity. Dr. Jih has also been developing a novel phot-based intervention to enhance patient-provider communication in the primary care setting that incorporates the use of photos as a tool to communicate about contextual factors important in chronic disease self-management. This work is based on the premise that photos can promote efficient information exchange and activate patients to communicate their complex lived experiences, including their goals and preferences that may otherwise be difficult to elicit or challenging to discuss in current clinical practice. Dr. Jih is also an active mentor of trainees in aging and health disparities research with a focus on mixed methods and stakeholder engagement approaches.


Maria Garcia, MD, MPH, MAS

As a clinician investigator, Dr. Garcia focuses on co-morbid mental health and chronic diseases and their disproportionate impact on vulnerable and marginalized populations. As an Assistant Professor in the Division of General Internal Medicine, she conducts research on mental health integration in primary care, with a focus on racially, ethnically and linguistically diverse populations. Dr. Garcia completed residency training in Internal Medicine at UCSF, in the San Francisco General Hospital Primary Care Program, and subsequently the UCSF Primary Care Research Fellowship. During her fellowship, she developed an interest in improving mental health service delivery for individuals with limited English proficiency. Dr. Garcia has researched the unique challenges that patients with co-morbid mental health and chronic diseases face and focused on implementation work in mental health integration and improvement of service delivery for populations with language barriers.