Alice Chen, MD

Professor of Clinical Medicine

General Internal Medicine, General Internal Medicine ZSFG

Dr. Alice Hm Chen is deputy secretary for policy and planning and chief of clinical affairs for the California Health and Human Services Agency (CHHS). She has led the Agency’s signature health policy initiatives on affordability and access, including the Office of Health Care Affordability, generic drug manufacturing, and the Healthy California for All Commission. Since March 2020, she has been a member of the Agency’s core leadership team for COVID-19 response focused on therapeutics, data analytics, hospital surge planning, and strategic reopening.

Prior to joining CHHS, she served as chief medical officer and deputy director for the San Francisco Health Network (SFHN), 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. She served as the executive operational sponsor for the Network’s implementation of an enterprise electronic health record, and led its work responding to value-based payments, addressing patient-level social determinants of health, and creating an integrated system of care.

Known for her work with vulnerable populations and delivery system innovations to improve access and quality of care for safety net systems, Dr. Chen was on the faculty of the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) School of Medicine for 15 years, and has published over 50 book chapters, research and peer-reviewed articles, 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 currently serves 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 HealthCare Foundation Leadership Program and the Aspen Institute’s Health Innovators Fellowship.

Proficient in Mandarin and Spanish, she maintains an active primary care practice 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
  • Invited Member, Women of Impact, 2019
  • 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
  • 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. Chen AH, Chin MH. What if the Role of Healthcare Was to Maximize Health? 2019. PMID: 31728893

  2. 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. 2019. PMID: 31682499

  3. 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. 2018. PMID: 30355346

  4. 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. 2017. PMID: 28645288

  5. 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. 2017. PMID: 28239019

  6. 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. 2016. PMID: 27861836

  7. Price EL, Sewell JL, Chen AH, Sarkar U. Minding the Gaps: Assessing Communication Outcomes of Electronic Preconsultation Exchange. Volume 42 of Issue 8. 2016. PMID: 27456415

  8. 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. 2016. PMID: 26740494

  9. 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. 2015. PMID: 26687507

  10. 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. 2015. PMID: 25623810

  11. 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. 2015. PMID: 26699344

  12. 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. 2015. PMID: 25816944

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

  14. 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. 2014. PMID: 25324148

  15. 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. 2014. PMID: 25365684

  16. Hines JZ, Sewell JL, Sehgal NL, Moriates C, Horton CK, Chen AH. "Choosing wisely" in an academic department of medicine. 2014. PMID: 24970279

  17. 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. 2014. PMID: 24762560

  18. 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. 2014. PMID: 24764135

  19. 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. 2014. PMID: 24413344

  20. Kruger JF, Chen AH, Rybkin A, Leeds K, Frosch DL, Goldman E. Clinicians' views on displaying cost information to increase clinician cost-consciousness. 2014. PMID: 25495110

  21. 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. 2013. PMID: 24052195

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

  23. 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. 2013. PMID: 23791206

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

  25. Chen AH, Rittenhouse D. The un-managed system of Medicare referrals. 2012. PMID: 22374409

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

  27. Tucker JD, Chen AH, Glass RI. Foreign language assessment and training in U.S. medical education is a must. 2012. PMID: 22373612

  28. 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. 2012. PMID: 22643463

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

  30. 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. 2011. PMID: 22655154

  31. 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. 2010. PMID: 20512531

  32. 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. 2010. PMID: 20439891

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

  34. 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. 2009. PMID: 19308334

  35. Chen AH, Youdelman MK, Brooks J. The legal framework for language access in healthcare settings: Title VI and beyond. 2007. PMID: 17957427

  36. 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. 2006. PMID: 16808766

  37. Chen A. Doctoring across the language divide. 2006. PMID: 16684747

  38. Smith WR, Bussey-Jones J, Horowitz CR, Whitehurst-Cook M, Chen, AH. Case studies in multicultural medicine and health disparities 2006. PMID:

  39. 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. 2006. PMID: 16529570

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

  41. Donohoe MT, Kravitz RL, Wheeler DB, Chandra R, Chen A, Humphries N. Reasons for outpatient referrals from generalists to specialists. 1999. PMID: 10337037

  42. Beckett WS, Pace PE, Sferlazza SJ, Perlman GD, Chen AH, Xu XP. Airway reactivity in welders: a controlled prospective cohort study. 1996. PMID: 8978514

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