Alice Chen, MD

Clinical Professor

General Internal Medicine, General Internal Medicine ZSFG

Dr. Alice Hm Chen is chief health officer for Centene, the largest Medicaid and Marketplace managed care organization in the U.S., responsible for strategies, policies, and programs in support of improving population health for its more than 26 million members.

Prior to joining Centene Dr. Chen worked for the State of California, first as deputy secretary for policy and planning and chief of clinical affairs for the California Health and Human Services Agency (CHHS), and subsequently as chief medical officer at Covered California, the state’s health insurance marketplace. At CHHS she led many of the Agency’s signature health policy initiatives on affordability and access, and played a leadership role in the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the areas of strategic reopening, hospital surge planning, equity, data analytics and therapeutics. At Covered California she was responsible for health care strategy focused on quality, equity, and delivery system transformation, and was instrumental in driving public purchaser alignment on quality, disparities, and investment in primary care.

She has a long history of leadership in enhancing access and quality of care for under-resourced communities through patient care, teaching, policy and advocacy, delivery system innovation, and administrative leadership across a variety of settings, including community health, philanthropy and academia. For fifteen years, Dr. Chen was a professor of medicine at the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine based at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, where she served as its chief integration officer and founding director of the eConsult program.

She subsequently served as inaugural chief medical officer and deputy director for the San Francisco Health Network, where she was responsible for providing clinical and operational leadership, vision, and direction for the City’s $2 billion a year publicly funded delivery system encompassing primary, specialty, mental health, substance use, acute care, trauma, long term, jail health, and homeless health care services. During her tenure she served as executive operations sponsor for the Network’s implementation of Epic as its enterprise electronic health record, and led the transition to population health and value based payments.

Dr. Chen has published extensively, including in the New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA and Health Affairs. She has served on the board of several non-profits and foundations, and most recently served as board president of The Health Initiative. In 2019, she was elected to the Harvard University Board of Overseers.

A graduate of Yale University, Stanford University Medical School, and the Harvard School of Public Health, Dr. Chen's training includes a primary care internal medicine residency and chief residency at Brigham and Women's Hospital. She is an alumna of the Commonwealth Fund Harvard University Fellowship in Minority Health Policy, the Soros Physician Advocacy Fellowship, the California Health Care Foundation Leadership Program and the Aspen Institute’s Health Innovators Fellowship.

Proficient in Mandarin and Spanish, she provides clinical care at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and holds an appointment as clinical professor of medicine at UCSF.

2014 - Lean Black Belt Certification, Rona Consulting Group
MPH, 2001 - Health Policy and Management, Harvard School of Public Health
2000 - Internal Medicine Chief Residency, Brigham and Women's Hospital
1999 - Internal Medicine Residency, Brigham and Women's Hospital
MD, 1996 - Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine
BS, 1990 - Environmental Biology, Yale University
Honors and Awards
  • Telehealth Champion of the Year, California Telehealth Policy Coalition, 2020
  • Invited Member, Women of Impact, 2019
  • Annual Leadership Award, San Francisco Community Clinic Consortium, 2016
  • Health Innovators Fellow, Aspen Institute, 2015
  • Safety Net Award for Using Health Information Technology to Advance Performance Improvement, National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems, 2010
  • John F. Murray Award for academic excellence and dedication to the humanitarian mission of SFGH, University of California San Francisco SFGH Department of Medicine, 2008
  • Award for Improvement in System-Wide Care Integration, California Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems, 2007
  • Award for Innovation in Health Care Service Delivery, San Francisco Health Plan, 2007
  • Richard J. Haber Excellence in Teaching Award, University of California San Francisco, SFGH Division of General Internal Medicine, 2006
  • Soros Physician Advocacy Fellow, Institute on Medicine as a Profession, 2003
  • Annual Service Award, Emergency Room Interpreter Law Advisory Committee, Massachusetts Department of Public Health, 2001
  • Arnold C. Dunne Award for Compassionate Patient Care, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Department of Internal Medicine, 1997
  • Dean’s Award for Excellence in Clinical Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, 1996
  1. Phillips RL,
    Koller C,
    Chen AH. The Path to Coordinated Federal Leadership to Strengthen Primary Health Care Milbank Memorial Fund 2022. PMID:

  2. Chen AH, Ghaly MA. Medicaid as a Driver of Health Equity. JAMA 2022. PMID: 36125484

  3. Shete, PB
    Vargo, J
    Chen, AH
    Bibbins-Domingo, K. Equity Metrics: Toward A More Effective And Inclusive Pandemic Response Health Affairs Blog 2021. PMID:

  4. Lee TH, Chen AH. Last-Mile Logistics of Covid Vaccination - The Role of Health Care Organizations. The New England journal of medicine 2021. PMID: 33503340

  5. Chen AH, Chin MH. What if the Role of Healthcare Was to Maximize Health? Journal of general internal medicine 2019. PMID: 31728893

  6. Kanzaria HK, Niedzwiecki M, Cawley CL, Chapman C, Sabbagh SH, Riggs E, Chen AH, Martinez MX, Raven MC. Frequent Emergency Department Users: Focusing Solely On Medical Utilization Misses The Whole Person. Health affairs (Project Hope) 2019. PMID: 31682499

  7. Tuot DS, Liddy C, Vimalananda VG, Pecina J, Murphy EJ, Keely E, Simon SR, North F, Orlander JD, Chen AH. Evaluating diverse electronic consultation programs with a common framework. BMC health services research 2018. PMID: 30355346

  8. Ulloa JG, Russell MD, Chen AH, Tuot DS. A cohort study of a general surgery electronic consultation system: safety implications and impact on surgical yield. Volume 17 of Issue 1. BMC health services research 2017. PMID: 28645288

  9. Makaroun LK, Bowman C, Duan K, Handley N, Wheeler DJ, Pierluissi E, Chen AH. Specialty Care Access in the Safety Net-the Role of Public Hospitals and Health Systems. Journal of health care for the poor and underserved 2017. PMID: 28239019

  10. Raven MC, Guzman D, Chen AH, Kornak J, Kushel M. Out-of-Network Emergency Department Use among Managed Medicaid Beneficiaries. Volume 52 of Issue 6. Health services research 2016. PMID: 27861836

  11. Price EL, Sewell JL, Chen AH, Sarkar U. Minding the Gaps: Assessing Communication Outcomes of Electronic Preconsultation Exchange. Volume 42 of Issue 8. Joint Commission journal on quality and patient safety 2016. PMID: 27456415

  12. Kruger JF, Chen AH, Rybkin A, Leeds K, Guzman D, Vittinghoff E, Goldman LE. Displaying radiation exposure and cost information at order entry for outpatient diagnostic imaging: a strategy to inform clinician ordering. BMJ quality & safety 2016. PMID: 26740494

  13. Tuot DS, Leeds K, Murphy EJ, Sarkar U, Lyles CR, Mekonnen T, Chen AH. Facilitators and barriers to implementing electronic referral and/or consultation systems: a qualitative study of 16 health organizations. Volume 15. BMC health services research 2015. PMID: 26687507

  14. Scheibe MM, Imboden JB, Schmajuk G, Margaretten M, Graf JD, Chen AH, Yelin EH, Yazdany J. Efficiency Gains for Rheumatology Consultation Using a Novel Electronic Referral System in a Safety-Net Health Setting. Volume 67 of Issue 8. Arthritis care & research 2015. PMID: 25623810

  15. Tuot DS, Murphy EJ, McCulloch CE, Leeds K, Chan E, Chen AH. Leveraging an electronic referral system to build a medical neighborhood. Volume 3 of Issue 4. Healthcare (Amsterdam, Netherlands) 2015. PMID: 26699344

  16. Schwei RJ, Del Pozo S, Agger-Gupta N, Alvarado-Little W, Bagchi A, Chen AH, Diamond L, Gany F, Wong D, Jacobs EA. Changes in research on language barriers in health care since 2003: A cross-sectional review study. International journal of nursing studies 2015. PMID: 25816944

  17. McGeady JB, Blaschko SD, Brajtbord JS, Sewell JL, Chen AH, Breyer BN. Electronic Preconsultation as a Method of Quality Improvement for Urological Referrals Urology Practice 2014. PMID:

  18. Mukhtar NA, Toy BC, Burman BE, Yu A, Chen AH, Berman P, Nguyen T, Chan D, Hammer H, McCulloch CE, Khalili M. Assessment of HBV preventive services in a medically underserved Asian and Pacific Islander population using provider and patient data. Journal of general internal medicine 2014. PMID: 25324148

  19. Tuot DS, Sewell JL, Day L, Leeds K, Chen AH. Increasing access to specialty care: patient discharges from a gastroenterology clinic. Volume 20 of Issue 10. The American journal of managed care 2014. PMID: 25365684

  20. Hines JZ, Sewell JL, Sehgal NL, Moriates C, Horton CK, Chen AH. "Choosing wisely" in an academic department of medicine. American journal of medical quality : the official journal of the American College of Medical Quality 2014. PMID: 24970279

  21. Kaplan CP, Livaudais-Toman J, Tice JA, Kerlikowske K, Gregorich SE, Pérez-Stable EJ, Pasick RJ, Chen A, Quinn J, Karliner LS. A randomized, controlled trial to increase discussion of breast cancer in primary care. Volume 23 of Issue 7. Cancer epidemiology, biomarkers & prevention : a publication of the American Association for Cancer Research, cosponsored by the American Society of Preventive Oncology 2014. PMID: 24762560

  22. Kruger JF, Chen AH, Rybkin A, Leeds K, Frosch DL, Goldman LE. Clinician perspectives on considering radiation exposure to patients when ordering imaging tests: a qualitative study. BMJ quality & safety 2014. PMID: 24764135

  23. Bailey SC, Wolf MS, Lopez A, Russell A, Chen AH, Schillinger D, Moy G, Sarkar U. Expanding the Universal Medication Schedule: a patient-centred approach. Volume 4 of Issue 1. BMJ open 2014. PMID: 24413344

  24. Kruger JF, Chen AH, Rybkin A, Leeds K, Frosch DL, Goldman E. Clinicians' views on displaying cost information to increase clinician cost-consciousness. The American journal of managed care 2014. PMID: 25495110

  25. Burman BE, Mukhtar NA, Toy BC, Nguyen TT, Chen AH, Yu A, Berman P, Hammer H, Chan D, McCulloch CE, Khalili M. Hepatitis B management in vulnerable populations: gaps in disease monitoring and opportunities for improved care. Digestive diseases and sciences 2013. PMID: 24052195

  26. Chen AH, Murphy EJ, Yee HF. eReferral--a new model for integrated care. Volume 368 of Issue 26. The New England journal of medicine 2013. PMID: 23802515

  27. Sewell JL, Day LW, Tuot DS, Alvarez R, Yu A, Chen AH. A brief, low-cost intervention improves the quality of ambulatory gastroenterology consultation notes. Volume 126 of Issue 8. The American journal of medicine 2013. PMID: 23791206

  28. Sewell JL, Guy J, Kwon A, Chen AH, Yee HF. Preconsultation exchange for ambulatory hepatology consultations. Volume 126 of Issue 6. The American journal of medicine 2013. PMID: 23597797

  29. Dowdy D, Bishai D, Chen AH. Setting clinical priorities: a framework for incorporating individual patient preferences. Patient education and counseling 2012. PMID: 23073315

  30. Chen AH, Rittenhouse D. The un-managed system of Medicare referrals. Journal of general internal medicine 2012. PMID: 22374409

  31. Bailey SC, Sarkar U, Chen AH, Schillinger D, Wolf MS. Evaluation of language concordant, patient-centered drug label instructions. Volume 27 of Issue 12. Journal of general internal medicine 2012. PMID: 22451015

  32. Tucker JD, Chen AH, Glass RI. Foreign language assessment and training in U.S. medical education is a must. Academic medicine : journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges 2012. PMID: 22373612

  33. Bailey SC, Hasnain-Wynia R, Chen AH, Sarkar U, Schoua-Glusberg A, Lindquist LA, Schillinger D, Wolf MS. Developing multilingual prescription instructions for patients with limited english proficiency. Volume 23 of Issue 1. Journal of health care for the poor and underserved 2012. PMID: 22643463

  34. Straus SG, Chen AH, Yee H, Kushel MB, Bell DS. Implementation of an electronic referral system for outpatient specialty care. Volume 2011. AMIA ... Annual Symposium proceedings. AMIA Symposium 2011. PMID: 22195195

  35. Dowdy DW, Horton CK, Lau B, Ferrer R, Chen AH. Patient Follow-up in an Urban Resident Continuity Clinic: An Initiative to Improve Scheduling Practices. Journal of graduate medical education 2011. PMID: 22655154

  36. Kim-Hwang JE, Chen AH, Bell DS, Guzman D, Yee HF, Kushel MB. Evaluating electronic referrals for specialty care at a public hospital. Volume 25 of Issue 10. Journal of general internal medicine 2010. PMID: 20512531

  37. Chen AH, Kushel MB, Grumbach K, Yee HF. Practice profile. A safety-net system gains efficiencies through 'eReferrals' to specialists. Volume 29 of Issue 5. Health affairs (Project Hope) 2010. PMID: 20439891

  38. Chen AH, Yee HF. Improving the primary care-specialty care interface: getting from here to there. Volume 169 of Issue 11. Archives of internal medicine 2009. PMID: 19506170

  39. Kim Y, Chen AH, Keith E, Yee HF, Kushel MB. Not perfect, but better: primary care providers' experiences with electronic referrals in a safety net health system. Volume 24 of Issue 5. Journal of general internal medicine 2009. PMID: 19308334

  40. Chen AH, Youdelman MK, Brooks J. The legal framework for language access in healthcare settings: Title VI and beyond. Journal of general internal medicine 2007. PMID: 17957427

  41. Karliner LS, Jacobs EA, Chen AH, Mutha S. Do professional interpreters improve clinical care for patients with limited English proficiency? A systematic review of the literature. Volume 42 of Issue 2. Health services research 2007. PMID: 17362215

  42. Chen AH, Jacobs E. Providing care to patients who speak limited English Medical Management of Vulnerable and Underserved Patients: Principles, Practice, and Populations. Editors: Talmadge King, Margaret Wheeler, Andy Bindman, Alicia Fernandez, Kevin Grumbach, Dean Schillinger, and Teresa Villela 2007. PMID:

  43. Hardt E, Jacobs EA, Chen A. Insights into the problems that language barriers may pose for the medical interview. Journal of general internal medicine 2006. PMID: 16995888

  44. Grubbs V, Chen AH, Bindman AB, Vittinghoff E, Fernandez A. Effect of awareness of language law on language access in the health care setting. Volume 21 of Issue 7. Journal of general internal medicine 2006. PMID: 16808766

  45. Chen A. Doctoring across the language divide. Health affairs (Project Hope) 2006. PMID: 16684747

  46. Smith WR, Bussey-Jones J, Horowitz CR, Whitehurst-Cook M, Chen, AH. Case studies in multicultural medicine and health disparities Multicultural Medicine and Health Disparities. Editors: David Satcher and Rubens Pamies 2006. PMID:

  47. Jacobs E, Chen AH, Karliner LS, Agger-Gupta N, Mutha S. The need for more research on language barriers in health care: a proposed research agenda. Volume 84 of Issue 1. The Milbank quarterly 2006. PMID: 16529570

  48. Wilson E, Chen AH, Grumbach K, Wang F, Fernandez A. Effects of limited English proficiency and physician language on health care comprehension. Journal of general internal medicine 2005. PMID: 16117746

  49. Jacobs EA, Chen AH, Karliner L, Fortier JP, Mutha S. Legal and regulatory obligations to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate emergency department services Clin Ped Emerg Med 2004. PMID:

  50. Schillinger D, Chen AH. Literacy and language: disentangling measures of access, utilization, and quality. Journal of general internal medicine 2004. PMID: 15009787

  51. Donohoe MT, Kravitz RL, Wheeler DB, Chandra R, Chen A, Humphries N. Reasons for outpatient referrals from generalists to specialists. Journal of general internal medicine 1999. PMID: 10337037

  52. Beckett WS, Pace PE, Sferlazza SJ, Perlman GD, Chen AH, Xu XP. Airway reactivity in welders: a controlled prospective cohort study. Journal of occupational and environmental medicine 1996. PMID: 8978514

  53. Raftery KA, Smith-Coggins R, Chen AH. Gender-associated differences in emergency department pain management. Annals of emergency medicine 1995. PMID: 7574121