RISE Scholars

Maria Garcia, MD, MPH, MAS
University of California, San Francisco
RISE Cohort 6


Maria E. Garcia, MD, MPH, MAS joined the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) as junior faculty in July 2017. She was previously a Primary Care Research Fellow in the Department of General Internal Medicine at UCSF. She completed Internal Medicine Residency in the Primary Care Track at UCSF. She received her MPH in Family and Community Health from the Harvard School of Public Health and her medical degree from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Her research interests include improving mental health integration and mental health service delivery, particularly for vulnerable populations such as individuals with limited English proficiency

Personal Story

As a clinician investigator, I hope to focus on comorbid mental health and chronic diseases and their disproportionate impact on vulnerable and marginalized populations. I will begin a junior faculty position at UCSF in July 2017 and plan to conduct research on mental health integration in primary care, with a focus on diverse, low-income populations. I have long planned to pursue a career at the intersection of clinical medicine and public health, both directly with my patients and through clinical research and health care policy. As an immigrant from Mexico, I have witnessed the difficulties faced by individuals accessing care in a foreign country and in a different language. My residency training in Internal Medicine at UCSF, in the San Francisco General Hospital Primary Care Program, and subsequently the Primary Care Research Fellowship reinforced this awareness of the unique challenges faced by immigrants and minority populations. I developed an interest in improving mental health service delivery for individuals with limited English proficiency. During my fellowship, I have researched the unique challenges that patients with comorbid mental health and chronic diseases face, evaluated the models that have been developed to serve this population, and acquired implementation skills to develop, evaluate, and improve new models of care. I will continue to do implementation work on mental health integration and improvement of service delivery for vulnerable populations. I believe that attendance at UCSF RISE Program would give me important methodological expertise to pursue this research and broaden my exposure to current research areas that disproportionately impact the health of minorities and underserved communities. I believe that my diverse experiences studying and applying medicine, public health and policy have equipped me with a unique range of tools to pursue my goal of working with underserved populations directly and shaping health care policy in the U.S. and abroad. Participation in the RISE Program will help bring me closer to that goal.