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. An Ethical Framework for Allocating Scarce Inpatient Medications for COVID-19 in the US.
  2. What if the Role of Healthcare Was to Maximize Health?
  3. Frequent Emergency Department Users: Focusing Solely On Medical Utilization Misses The Whole Person.
  4. Evaluating diverse electronic consultation programs with a common framework.
  5. A cohort study of a general surgery electronic consultation system: safety implications and impact on surgical yield.
  6. Specialty Care Access in the Safety Net-the Role of Public Hospitals and Health Systems.
  7. Out-of-Network Emergency Department Use among Managed Medicaid Beneficiaries.
  8. Minding the Gaps: Assessing Communication Outcomes of Electronic Preconsultation Exchange.
  9. Displaying radiation exposure and cost information at order entry for outpatient diagnostic imaging: a strategy to inform clinician ordering.
  10. Facilitators and barriers to implementing electronic referral and/or consultation systems: a qualitative study of 16 health organizations.
  11. Efficiency Gains for Rheumatology Consultation Using a Novel Electronic Referral System in a Safety-Net Health Setting.
  12. Leveraging an electronic referral system to build a medical neighborhood.
  13. Changes in research on language barriers in health care since 2003: A cross-sectional review study.
  14. Electronic Preconsultation as a Method of Quality Improvement for Urological Referrals
  15. Assessment of HBV preventive services in a medically underserved Asian and Pacific Islander population using provider and patient data.
  16. Increasing access to specialty care: patient discharges from a gastroenterology clinic.
  17. "Choosing wisely" in an academic department of medicine.
  18. A randomized, controlled trial to increase discussion of breast cancer in primary care.
  19. Clinician perspectives on considering radiation exposure to patients when ordering imaging tests: a qualitative study.
  20. Expanding the Universal Medication Schedule: a patient-centred approach.
  21. Clinicians' views on displaying cost information to increase clinician cost-consciousness.
  22. Hepatitis B management in vulnerable populations: gaps in disease monitoring and opportunities for improved care.
  23. eReferral--a new model for integrated care.
  24. A brief, low-cost intervention improves the quality of ambulatory gastroenterology consultation notes.
  25. Preconsultation exchange for ambulatory hepatology consultations.
  26. Setting clinical priorities: a framework for incorporating individual patient preferences.
  27. The un-managed system of Medicare referrals.
  28. Evaluation of language concordant, patient-centered drug label instructions.
  29. Foreign language assessment and training in U.S. medical education is a must.
  30. Developing multilingual prescription instructions for patients with limited english proficiency.
  31. Implementation of an electronic referral system for outpatient specialty care.
  32. Patient Follow-up in an Urban Resident Continuity Clinic: An Initiative to Improve Scheduling Practices.
  33. Improving primary care-specialty care communication: lessons from San Francisco's safety net: comment on "Referral and consultation communication between primary care and specialist physicians".
  34. Evaluating electronic referrals for specialty care at a public hospital.
  35. Practice profile. A safety-net system gains efficiencies through 'eReferrals' to specialists.
  36. Improving the primary care-specialty care interface: getting from here to there.
  37. Not perfect, but better: primary care providers' experiences with electronic referrals in a safety net health system.
  38. The legal framework for language access in healthcare settings: Title VI and beyond.
  39. Do professional interpreters improve clinical care for patients with limited English proficiency? A systematic review of the literature.
  40. Providing care to patients who speak limited English
  41. Insights into the problems that language barriers may pose for the medical interview.
  42. Effect of awareness of language law on language access in the health care setting.
  43. Doctoring across the language divide.
  44. Case studies in multicultural medicine and health disparities
  45. The need for more research on language barriers in health care: a proposed research agenda.
  46. Effects of limited English proficiency and physician language on health care comprehension.
  47. Legal and regulatory obligations to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate emergency department services
  48. Literacy and language: disentangling measures of access, utilization, and quality.
  49. Reasons for outpatient referrals from generalists to specialists.
  50. Airway reactivity in welders: a controlled prospective cohort study.
  51. Gender-associated differences in emergency department pain management.