Alicia Fernandez, MD

Professor of Medicine

Center for Vulnerable Populations, General Internal Medicine, General Internal Medicine ZSFG

Alicia Fernandez, M.D., is Professor of Medicine at UCSF and a general internist at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital. She is the founding Director of the UCSF Latinx Center of Excellence, a HRSA and UCSF funded initiative to increase academic diversity. Dr. Fernandez directs the Latinx and Immigrant Health Research Program at the UCSF Center for Vulnerable Populations which generates actionable research to increase health equity and reduce health disparities in at-risk populations in the San Francisco Bay Area, California, and nationally

Dr. Fernandez' research expertise includes language and literacy barriers in health care, health care equity in chronic disease, and racism in medicine. Most recently, her NIH funded research has focused on improving diabetes care among immigrant populations. Dr. Fernandez has served on the National Academy of Science Roundtable on Health Literacy since 2014. Dr. Fernandez is on the Board of Governors and Chair of the Science Oversight Committee at the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Center. Since 2020, she serves on the Board of Directors of the American Board of Internal Medicine.

At UCSF, Dr. Fernandez is a member of the UCSF Academy of Medical Educators. She received the Arnold P. Gold Foundation Professorship for Humanism in Medicine (2009-2013). Along with colleagues at UCSF, she edits the textbook, Medical Management of Vulnerable and Underserved Patients (Lange,2nd edition)

  1. Luis A Rodriguez, Stephen Shiboski, Patrick Bradshaw, Alicia Fernandez, David M Herrington, Jingzhong Ding, Ryan D Bradley, Alka M Kanaya. Abstract P282: A Simple Clinical Scoring System Using Readily Available Clinical Measures for Prediction of Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: Evidence From the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). Circulation 2020. PMID:

  2. Wheeler M, de Bourmont S, Paul-Emile K, Pfeffinger A, McMullen A, Critchfield JM, Fernandez A. Physician and Trainee Experiences With Patient Bias. JAMA internal medicine 2019. PMID: 31657839

  3. Glaser J, Pfeffinger A, Quan J, Fernandez A. Medical Students' Perceptions of and Responses to Health Care Disparities During Clinical Clerkships. Academic medicine : journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges 2019. PMID: 30640262

  4. Beck AL, Iturralde EM, Haya-Fisher J, Kim S, Keeton V, Fernandez A. Barriers and facilitators to healthy eating among low-income Latino adolescents. Appetite 2019. PMID: 30954634

  5. Khoong EC, Steinbrook E, Brown C, Fernandez A. Assessing the Use of Google Translate for Spanish and Chinese Translations of Emergency Department Discharge Instructions. JAMA internal medicine 2019. PMID: 30801626

  6. Lyles CR, Gupta R, Tieu L, Fernandez A. After-visit summaries in primary care: mixed methods results from a literature review and stakeholder interviews. Family practice 2018. PMID: 29846584

  7. Marpadga S, Fernandez A, Leung J, Tang A, Seligman H, Murphy EJ. Challenges and Successes with Food Resource Referrals for Food-Insecure Patients with Diabetes. The Permanente journal 2019. PMID: 30939269

  8. Erik J. Rodriquez, Alicia Fernández, Jennifer C. Livaudais-Toman, Eliseo J. Perez-Stable. How Does Acculturation Influence Smoking Behavior Among Latinos? The Role of Education and National Background Ethnicity and Disease 2019. PMID:

  9. Bergallo P, Castagnari V, Fernández A, Mejía R. Regulatory initiatives to reduce sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) in Latin America. PloS one 2018. PMID: 30339667

  10. Teherani A, Hauer KE, Fernandez A, King TE, Lucey C. How Small Differences in Assessed Clinical Performance Amplify to Large Differences in Grades and Awards: A Cascade With Serious Consequences for Students Underrepresented in Medicine. Academic medicine : journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges 2018. PMID: 29923892

  11. Fernandez A, Warton EM, Schillinger D, Moffet HH, Kruger J, Adler N, Karter AJ. Language barriers and LDL-C/SBP control among Latinos with diabetes. The American journal of managed care 2018. PMID: 30222919

  12. Garcia ME, Ochoa-Frongia L, Moise N, Aguilera A, Fernandez A. Collaborative Care for Depression among Patients with Limited English Proficiency: a Systematic Review. Volume 33 of Issue 3. Journal of general internal medicine 2017. PMID: 29256085

  13. Fernandez A, Rodriguez RA. Consequences of Recent Anti-Immigration Policy-Reply. JAMA internal medicine 2017. PMID: 28973280

  14. Beck AL, Fernandez A, Rojina J, Cabana M. Randomized Controlled Trial of a Clinic-Based Intervention to Promote Healthy Beverage Consumption Among Latino Children. Volume 56 of Issue 9. Clinical pediatrics 2017. PMID: 28553726

  15. Mao AY, Willard-Grace R, Dubbin L, Aronson L, Fernandez A, Burke NJ, Finch J, Davis E. Perspectives of low-income chronically ill patients on complex care management. Families, systems & health : the journal of collaborative family healthcare 2017. PMID: 28447834

  16. Peek M, Lo B, Fernandez A. How Should Physicians Respond When Patients Distrust Them Because of Their Gender? AMA journal of ethics 2017. PMID: 28430566

  17. Fernández A, Rodriguez RA. Undocumented Immigrants and Access to Health Care. JAMA internal medicine 2017. PMID: 28166329

  18. Fernández A, Quan J, Moffet H, Parker MM, Schillinger D, Karter AJ. Adherence to Newly Prescribed Diabetes Medications Among Insured Latino and White Patients With Diabetes. JAMA internal medicine 2017. PMID: 28114642

  19. Parker MM, Fernández A, Moffet HH, Grant RW, Torreblanca A, Karter AJ. Association of Patient-Physician Language Concordance and Glycemic Control for Limited-English Proficiency Latinos With Type 2 Diabetes. JAMA internal medicine 2017. PMID: 28114680

  20. Konfino J, Fernandez A, Penko J, Mason A, Martinez E, Coxson P, Heller D, Moran A, Bibbins-Domingo K, Pérez-Stable EJ, Mejía R. Comparing Strategies for Lipid Lowering in Argentina: An Analysis from the CVD Policy Model-Argentina. Journal of general internal medicine 2016. PMID: 27853916

  21. Sánchez-Romero LM, Penko J, Coxson PG, Fernández A, Mason A, Moran AE, Ávila-Burgos L, Odden M, Barquera S, Bibbins-Domingo K. Projected Impact of Mexico's Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Tax Policy on Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease: A Modeling Study. PLoS medicine 2016. PMID: 27802278

  22. Chaufan C, Karter AJ, Moffet HH, Quan J, Parker MM, Kruger J, Schillinger D, Fernandez A. Identifying Spanish Language Competent Physicians: The Diabetes Study of Northern California (DISTANCE). Ethnicity & disease 2016. PMID: 27773981

  23. Young CA, Stookey J, Patel AI, Chan C, Evans J, Cohn K, Agana L, Yen IH, Fernandez A, Cabana MD. San Francisco childcare centers' preparedness in the prevention and management of asthma among preschool-aged children. Volume 53 of Issue 7. The Journal of asthma : official journal of the Association for the Care of Asthma 2016. PMID: 27164036

  24. Ngai KM, Grudzen CR, Lee R, Tong VY, Richardson LD, Fernandez A. The Association Between Limited English Proficiency and Unplanned Emergency Department Revisit Within 72 Hours. Annals of emergency medicine 2016. PMID: 27033142

  25. Paul-Emile K, Smith AK, Lo B, Fernández A. Dealing with Racist Patients. The New England journal of medicine 2016. PMID: 26933847

  26. Fernández A, Pérez-Stable EJ. ¿Doctor, habla español? Increasing the Supply and Quality of Language-Concordant Physicians for Spanish-Speaking Patients. Journal of general internal medicine 2015. PMID: 26209178

  27. Chaufan C, Fielding H, Chesla C, Fernandez A.. Research in the Sociology of Health Care "It's not the doctor - it's me." How self-blame obscures language and other structural barriers to diabetes care mong low-income Latinos with limited English Proficiency. 2015. PMID:

  28. Young CA, Chan C, Stookey J, Patel AI, Evans J, Cohn K, Agana L, Yen IH, Fernandez A, Cabana MD. Development of a Tool to Evaluate Asthma Preparedness and Management in Child-Care Centers. Volume 28 of Issue 2. Pediatric allergy, immunology, and pulmonology 2015. PMID: 26155370

  29. Jih J, Vittinghoff E, Fernandez A. Patient-physician language concordance and use of preventive care services among limited English proficient Latinos and Asians. Public health reports (Washington, D.C. : 1974) 2015. PMID: 25729102

  30. Tang AS, Kruger JF, Quan J, Fernandez A. From admission to discharge: patterns of interpreter use among resident physicians caring for hospitalized patients with limited english proficiency. Journal of health care for the poor and underserved 2014. PMID: 25418242

  31. Seligman R, Mendenhall E, Valdovinos MD, Fernandez A, Jacobs EA. Self-care and Subjectivity among Mexican Diabetes Patients in the United States. Medical anthropology quarterly 2014. PMID: 24942832

  32. Gandhi M, Fernandez A, Stoff DM, Narahari S, Blank M, Fuchs J, Evans CH, Kahn JS, Johnson MO. Development and implementation of a workshop to enhance the effectiveness of mentors working with diverse mentees in HIV research. AIDS research and human retroviruses 2014. PMID: 24735004

  33. Iten AE, Jacobs EA, Lahiff M, Fernández A. Undocumented immigration status and diabetes care among Mexican immigrants in two immigration "sanctuary" areas. Journal of immigrant and minority health 2014. PMID: 23114690

  34. Naranjo DM, Jacobs EA, Fisher L, Hessler D, Fernandez A. Age and glycemic control among low-income Latinos. Journal of immigrant and minority health 2013. PMID: 22843322

  35. Hudson DL, Karter AJ, Fernandez A, Parker M, Adams AS, Schillinger D, Moffet HH, Zhou J, Adler NE. Differences in the clinical recognition of depression in diabetes patients: the Diabetes Study of Northern California (DISTANCE). The American journal of managed care 2013. PMID: 23781889

  36. Stern RJ, Fernandez A, Jacobs EA, Neilands TB, Weech-Maldonado R, Quan J, Carle A, Seligman HK. Advances in measuring culturally competent care: a confirmatory factor analysis of CAHPS-CC in a safety-net population. Medical care 2012. PMID: 22895231

  37. Slean GR, Jacobs EA, Lahiff M, Fisher L, Fernandez A. Aspects of culturally competent care are associated with less emotional burden among patients with diabetes. Medical care 2012. PMID: 22895234

  38. Fernandez A, Seligman H, Quan J, Stern RJ, Jacobs EA. Associations between aspects of culturally competent care and clinical outcomes among patients with diabetes. Medical care 2012. PMID: 22895235

  39. Seligman HK, Fernandez A, Stern RJ, Weech-Maldonado R, Quan J, Jacobs EA. Risk factors for reporting poor cultural competency among patients with diabetes in safety net clinics. Medical care 2012. PMID: 22895232

  40. Mendenhall E, Fernandez A, Adler N, Jacobs EA. Susto, coraje, and abuse: depression and beliefs about diabetes. Culture, medicine and psychiatry 2012. PMID: 22539060

  41. Schenker Y, Fernandez A, Kerr K, O'Riordan D, Pantilat SZ. Interpretation for discussions about end-of-life issues: results from a National Survey of Health Care Interpreters. Journal of palliative medicine 2012. PMID: 22788909

  42. Reuland DS, Ko LK, Fernandez A, Braswell LC, Pignone M. Testing a Spanish-language colorectal cancer screening decision aid in Latinos with limited English proficiency: results from a pre-post trial and four month follow-up survey. BMC medical informatics and decision making 2012. PMID: 22691191

  43. Lynch EB, Fernandez A, Lighthouse N, Mendenhall E, Jacobs E. Concepts of diabetes self-management in Mexican American and African American low-income patients with diabetes. Health education research 2012. PMID: 22641792

  44. Reuland DS, Slatt LM, Alemán MA, Fernandez A, Dewalt D. Effect of Spanish language immersion rotations on medical student Spanish fluency. Family medicine 2012. PMID: 22328477

  45. Seligman HK, Jacobs EA, López A, Tschann J, Fernandez A. Food insecurity and glycemic control among low-income patients with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes care 2011. PMID: 22210570

  46. Schenker Y, Smith AK, Arnold RM, Fernandez A. "Her husband doesn't speak much English": conducting a family meeting with an interpreter. Journal of palliative medicine 2011. PMID: 22107068

  47. Vijayaraghavan M, Jacobs EA, Seligman H, Fernandez A. The association between housing instability, food insecurity, and diabetes self-efficacy in low-income adults. Journal of health care for the poor and underserved 2011. PMID: 22080709

  48. Parker MM, Moffet HH, Schillinger D, Adler N, Fernandez A, Ciechanowski P, Karter AJ. Ethnic differences in appointment-keeping and implications for the patient-centered medical home--findings from the Diabetes Study of Northern California (DISTANCE). Health services research 2011. PMID: 22091785

  49. Seligman HK, Jacobs EA, Lopez A, Sarkar U, Tschann J, Fernandez A. Food insecurity and hypoglycemia among safety net patients with diabetes. Volume 171 of Issue 13. Archives of internal medicine 2011. PMID: 21747017

  50. Moffet HH, Parker MM, Sarkar U, Schillinger D, Fernandez A, Adler NE, Adams AS, Karter AJ. Adherence to laboratory test requests by patients with diabetes: the Diabetes Study of Northern California (DISTANCE). Volume 17 of Issue 5. The American journal of managed care 2011. PMID: 21718081

  51. Guendelman S, Fernandez A, Thornton D, Brindis C. Birthplace, language use, and body size among Mexican American women and men: findings from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2001-2006. Journal of health care for the poor and underserved 2011. PMID: 21551936

  52. Rosenthal A, Wang F, Schillinger D, Pérez Stable EJ, Fernandez A. Accuracy of physician self-report of Spanish language proficiency. Journal of immigrant and minority health 2011. PMID: 20151191

  53. Wang S, Quan J, Kanaya AM, Fernandez A. Asian Americans and obesity in California: a protective effect of biculturalism. Journal of immigrant and minority health 2011. PMID: 21153765

  54. Fernandez A, Ettinger KM, Lo B. Case 34-2010: A woman with an incorrect operation. The New England journal of medicine 2011. PMID: 21366488

  55. Hauer KE, Fernandez A, Teherani A, Boscardin CK, Saba GW. Assessment of medical students' shared decision-making in standardized patient encounters. Journal of general internal medicine 2010. PMID: 21108048

  56. Fernandez A, Schillinger D, Warton EM, Adler N, Moffet HH, Schenker Y, Salgado MV, Ahmed A, Karter AJ. Language barriers, physician-patient language concordance, and glycemic control among insured Latinos with diabetes: the Diabetes Study of Northern California (DISTANCE). Journal of general internal medicine 2010. PMID: 20878497

  57. Fernandez A. Improving the quality of informed consent: it is not all about the risks. Annals of internal medicine 2010. PMID: 20820045

  58. Hauer KE, Boscardin C, Gesundheit N, Nevins A, Srinivasan M, Fernandez A. Impact of student ethnicity and patient-centredness on communication skills performance. Medical education 2010. PMID: 20636584

  59. Prakash S, Rodriguez RA, Austin PC, Saskin R, Fernandez A, Moist LM, O'Hare AM. Racial composition of residential areas associates with access to pre-ESRD nephrology care. Journal of the American Society of Nephrology : JASN 2010. PMID: 20558541

  60. Mendenhall E, Seligman RA, Fernandez A, Jacobs EA. Speaking through diabetes: Rethinking the significance of lay discourses on diabetes. Medical anthropology quarterly 2010. PMID: 20550094

  61. Ross PT, Wiley Cené C, Bussey-Jones J, Brown AF, Blackman D, Fernández A, Fernández L, Glick SB, Horowitz CR, Jacobs EA, Peek ME, Wilkerson L, Lypson ML. A strategy for improving health disparities education in medicine. Journal of general internal medicine 2010. PMID: 20352512

  62. Glick SB, Fernandez L, Irby DM, Harleman E, Fernandez A. Teaching about health care disparities in the clinical setting. Journal of general internal medicine 2010. PMID: 20352501

  63. Schenker Y, Fernandez A, Sudore R, Schillinger D. Interventions to improve patient comprehension in informed consent for medical and surgical procedures: a systematic review. Volume 31 of Issue 1. Medical decision making : an international journal of the Society for Medical Decision Making 2010. PMID: 20357225

  64. Schenker Y, Karter AJ, Schillinger D, Warton EM, Adler NE, Moffet HH, Ahmed AT, Fernandez A. The impact of limited English proficiency and physician language concordance on reports of clinical interactions among patients with diabetes: the DISTANCE study. Patient education and counseling 2010. PMID: 20223615

  65. Fernandez A, Schenker Y. Time to establish national standards and certification for health care interpreters. Patient education and counseling 2010. PMID: 20117487

  66. Schenker Y, Fernandez A, Lo B. Placebo prescriptions are missed opportunities for doctor-patient communication. The American journal of bioethics : AJOB 2009. PMID: 20013500

  67. Reuland DS, Frasier PY, Olson MD, Slatt LM, Aleman MA, Fernandez A. Accuracy of self-assessed Spanish fluency in medical students. Teaching and learning in medicine 2009. PMID: 20183357

  68. Meyers K, Tang G, Fernandez A. Responding to the Language Challenge: Kaiser Permanente's Approach. The Permanente journal 2009. PMID: 20740094

  69. Diamond LC, Schenker Y, Curry L, Bradley EH, Fernandez A. Getting by: underuse of interpreters by resident physicians. Journal of general internal medicine 2008. PMID: 19089503

  70. Schenker Y, Lo B, Ettinger KM, Fernandez A. Navigating language barriers under difficult circumstances. Annals of internal medicine 2008. PMID: 18711157

  71. Grubbs V, Bibbins-Domingo K, Fernandez A, Chattopadhyay A, Bindman AB. Acute myocardial infarction length of stay and hospital mortality are not associated with language preference. Volume 23 of Issue 2. Journal of general internal medicine 2007. PMID: 18043984

  72. Smith WR, Betancourt JR, Wynia MK, Bussey-Jones J, Stone VE, Phillips CO, Fernandez A, Jacobs E, Bowles J. Recommendations for teaching about racial and ethnic disparities in health and health care. Annals of internal medicine 2007. PMID: 17975188

  73. Saha S, Fernandez A. Language barriers in health care. Journal of general internal medicine 2007. PMID: 17924172

  74. Saha S, Fernandez A, Perez-Stable E. Reducing language barriers and racial/ethnic disparities in health care: an investment in our future. Journal of general internal medicine 2007. PMID: 17896164

  75. Schenker Y, Wang F, Selig SJ, Ng R, Fernandez A. The impact of language barriers on documentation of informed consent at a hospital with on-site interpreter services. Journal of general internal medicine 2007. PMID: 17957414

  76. Bibbins-Domingo K, Fernandez A. BiDil for heart failure in black patients. Annals of internal medicine 2007. PMID: 17679712

  77. Fernandez A, Wang F, Braveman M, Finkas LK, Hauer KE. Impact of student ethnicity and primary childhood language on communication skill assessment in a clinical performance examination. Journal of general internal medicine 2007. PMID: 17558538

  78. 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

  79. Saba GW, Wong ST, Schillinger D, Fernandez A, Somkin CP, Wilson CC, Grumbach K. Shared decision making and the experience of partnership in primary care. Annals of family medicine 2006. PMID: 16449397

  80. 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

  81. Bodenheimer T, Fernandez A. High and rising health care costs. Part 4: can costs be controlled while preserving quality? Annals of internal medicine 2005. PMID: 15998752

  82. Pletcher MJ, Fernandez A, May TA, Westphal JR, Gamez CA, Hersh DF, Gonzales R. Unintended consequences of a quality improvement program designed to improve treatment of alcohol withdrawal in hospitalized patients. Joint Commission journal on quality and patient safety 2005. PMID: 15828598

  83. Fernandez A, Goldstein L. Primary care physicians who treat blacks and whites. The New England journal of medicine 2004. PMID: 15543658

  84. Fernandez A, Schillinger D, Grumbach K, Rosenthal A, Stewart AL, Wang F, Pérez-Stable EJ. Physician language ability and cultural competence. An exploratory study of communication with Spanish-speaking patients. Journal of general internal medicine 2004. PMID: 15009796

  85. Pontecorvo C, Mejía R, Aleman M, Vidal A, Majdalani MP, Fayanás R, Fernández A, Pérez Stable EJ. [Detection of domestic violence against women. Survey in a primary health care clinic]. Medicina 2004. PMID: 15637825

  86. Pignone M, Phillips CJ, Elasy TA, Fernandez A. Physicians' ability to predict the risk of coronary heart disease. BMC health services research 2003. PMID: 12857356

  87. Majdalani M, Mejia R, Fayanas R, Fernandez A, Perez-Stable EJ. Educacion Medica Residentes de primer ano de Medicina Interna: distribucion horaria de las tareas 2003. PMID:

  88. Fernandez A, Grumbach K, Vranizan K, Osmond DH, Bindman AB. Primary care physicians' experience with disease management programs. Journal of general internal medicine 2001. PMID: 11318911

  89. Fernandez A, Grumbach K, Goitein L, Vranizan K, Osmond DH, Bindman AB. Friend or foe? How primary care physicians perceive hospitalists. Archives of internal medicine 2000. PMID: 11041896

  90. Schillinger D, Wheeler M, Fernandez A. The populations and quality improvement seminar for medical residents. Academic medicine : journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges 2000. PMID: 10824850

  91. Mejia R, Aleman M, Férnandez A, Pérez Stable EJ. [Awareness and detection of domestic violence by clinical physicians]. Medicina 2000. PMID: 11188898

  92. Fernandez A and Goldschlager N. Heart Failure Anticoagulation in Patients with Heart Failure and Atrial Fibrillation 1997. PMID: