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About Us: Faculty


Leah Karliner, MD, MAS, is the Director of the Center for Aging in Diverse Communities

Dr. Karliner is Associate 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 new Director of the Center on Aging in Diverse Communities, she is also a member of the Multiethnic Health Equity Research Center at UCSF as well as 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 NCI funded study is 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.

Anita Stewart, PhD, is the Analysis Core Leader. She is Professor Emerita at the Institute for Health & Aging at UCSF. She has extensive experience conceptualizing and measuring health, functioning, well-being, social support, physical activity, quality of care, and other health-related concepts. As director of the Analysis Core, she identifies issues in using measures that have been tested primarily on mainstream groups in studies of diverse population groups, and how to test the conceptual and psychometric adequacy of those measures.
Steve Gregorich, PhD, is the Analysis Core Co-Leader and member of the Investigator Development Core. He is Professor of Medicine in the Division of General Internal Medicine at UCSF. He is an applied statistician with interest in behavioral public health research related to prevention. His methodological interests focus upon analysis of longitudinal and clustered data; structural equation models with latent variables; analysis with missing data; statistical power; and psychometrics.
Celia P. Kaplan, DrPH, MA, is a Leader of the Community Liaison Core and Investigator Development Core member. She is a Professor in the Department of Medicine, UCSF. She is the Director of the The Multiethnic Health Equity Research Center (MERC). A Latina researcher, she holds a doctorate in public health and a master’s degree in Latin American studies from the University of California, Los Angeles. Her past, current and future projects attest to her commitment to cancer prevention and control among minority populations. Dr. Kaplan is the Co-Director of the Minority Task Force, which promotes recruitment and retention of minorities into UCSF cancer-related clinical research projects.
Julene Johnson, PhD, is a Community Liaison and Investigator Development Core member. She is a cognitive neuroscientist and Professor at the UCSF Institute for Health & Aging. Her research program focuses on cognitive aging and covers two primary themes: 1) developing cost-effective and novel community-based programs to promote health for diverse older adults and 2) studying mild cognitive impairment as a risk for dementia and functional decline. She is currently collaborating with 12 Department of Aging and Adult Services Senior Centers in San Francisco to study the effect of a community choir program on the health and well-being of diverse older adults. She is currently on the Fulbright Specialist Roster (2012-2017).
Tung Nguyen, MD, is the Co-Leader of the Community Liaison Core and Investigator Development Core member. He holds several health disparities-focused leadership positions, e.g., Dean's Diversity Leader in charge of Diversity in Research, Director of the Asian American Research Center on Health. Dr. Nguyen was Chair of President Obama’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders from 2014-2017. He has conducted numerous community-engaged research projects with Asian American populations, including RCTs of interventions to promote cancer screening and hepatitis B and C testing.