Wagahta Semere, MD, MHS

Director, Champion Provider Fellowship

I am an Assistant Professor of Medicine at UCSF in the Division of General Internal Medicine and a primary care provider in the Richard H. Fine People’s Clinic at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital. I am trained in health services research, with a background in quantitative, qualitative, and community-based participatory research (CBPR) methods. My work is focused on developing strategies, informatics-based tools, and using CBPR and computer science to better engage racially/ethnically diverse patients and their caregivers with providers in chronic disease management.

My current work focuses on examining communication between culturally and linguistically diverse patients, their caregivers, and providers. I am analyzing over 400,000 secure messages exchanged over an online patient portal between more than 9,500 ethnically diverse diabetes patients with limited health literacy, their caregivers, and their providers. I have applied machine learning, natural language processing, and novel computational linguistics techniques to characterize secure message communication. As an example, through the application of natural language processing, I have worked with computational linguists to identify caregivers’ “hidden proxy” communication on behalf of patients. We have characterized a socially and medically vulnerable group of patients who rely on proxies.

My research has been supported by an RWJF Clinical Scholar award, a UCSF John A. Watson Faculty Scholar award, a Center for Aging in Diverse Communities grant, and is now supported by an NIH KL2 award with which I am “Leveraging Secure Messaging for Diverse Diabetes Patients and their Caregivers.” I am particularly interested in leveraging technology-based platforms and clinical informatics methods to develop communication tools that promote safe and effective family-centered care.

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