Brie Williams, MD, MS


Dr. Brie Williams is a Professor of Medicine in the UCSF Center for Vulnerable Populations and a physician trained in geriatrics and palliative care. She directs Amend at UCSF and co-directs the Aging Research In Criminal Justice Health (ARCH) Network. Her work focuses on transforming correctional culture to focus on the health of residents and staff, dignity and humanity, and on bringing the science of geriatrics and palliative care to criminal justice reform. She collaborates with colleagues from diverse disciplines (including criminal justice, public safety, and the law) to conduct impact-oriented research and education.

Dr. Williams' clinical research has called for improved responses to disability, cognitive impairment, and symptom distress in older or seriously ill incarcerated persons; a more scientific development of compassionate release policies; and a broader inclusion of incarcerated people in national health datasets and in clinical research. Dr. Williams has served as a member of multiple national initiatives in the US, including the Workshop on Incarceration and Health sponsored by the Institute of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences, and the Urban Institute’s Research in Penal Institutions. Her research has been supported by the Jacob and Valeria Langeloth Foundation, the Schusterman Foundation, the National Palliative Care Research Center, the National Institute on Aging, the UC Office of the President, and the Cambia Foundation among others.

Dr. Williams directs Amend, a training and leadership development program focused on giving correctional leaders, prison officers, and policymakers the tools needed to transform the toxic environments of many US prisons to instead focus more on health, dignity, and wellbeing. She is also a founding co-director of the Aging Research in Criminal Justice Network, funded by the National Institute on Aging, which has created a research network of over 200 academic and community members in the US working to expand research at the intersection of aging and criminal justice involvement.

Dr. Williams has served as a consultant to jails, prisons, and legal organizations nationwide, including for the Federal Receiver of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and the National ACLU. She has participated as an expert witness in several lawsuits related to the health effects of solitary confinement. In 2016, Dr. Williams provided expert testimony to the US Sentencing Commission on proposed changes to Compassionate Release policies, recommendations which were later incorporated into the First Step Act.
2018 - Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Champion Training, University of California
MS - Community Medicine, - Community Medicine, The Icahn School of Medicine
MD, - School of Medicine, The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Geriatrics Fellowship, - Division of Geriatrics, University of California, San Francisco
Training in Aging Research, - Division of Geriatrics, University of California, San Francisco
Residency, - School of Medicine - Primary Care, University of California, San Francisco
  1. Garcia-Grossman IR, Gransee L, Williams B. Strategies for Addressing Vaccine Hesitancy Within California State Prisons in 2021 and Beyond. 2022. PMID: 36075008

  2. Kwan A, Garcia-Grossman I, Sears D, Bertozzi SM, Williams BA. The Impact Of COVID-19 On The Health Of Incarcerated Older Adults In California State Prisons. 2022. PMID: 35914202

  3. Kanbergs A, Garcia-Grossman I, Ahalt C, DiTomas M, Bedard R, Williams B. A stepwise guide for healthcare professionals requesting compassionate release for patients who are incarcerated. 2022. PMID: 35820056

  4. Kwan A, Sklar R, Cameron DB, Schell RC, Bertozzi SM, McCoy SI, Williams B, Sears DA. Respiratory pandemic preparedness learnings from the June 2020 COVID-19 outbreak at San Quentin California State Prison. 2022. PMID: 35678718

  5. Kwan A, Sears D, Bertozzi SM, Williams B, editors.. California state prisons during the COVID-19
    Pandemic: A Report by the CalPROTECT Project
    2022. PMID:

  6. Kuffel RL, Byers AL, Williams B, Fortinsky R, Li Y, Ruderman MA, Barry LC. Prevalence of dementia and mild cognitive impairment before incarceration. 2022. PMID: 35212389

  7. Novisky MA, Schnellinger RP, Adams RE, Williams B. Health Information Seeking Behaviors in Prison: Results From the U.S. PIAAC Survey. 2022. PMID: 35166577

  8. Haber LA, Pratt LA, Erickson HP, Williams BA. Shackling in the Hospital. 2022. PMID: 35091917

  9. Cloud DH, Augustine D, Ahalt C, Haney C, Peterson L, Braun C, Williams B. Correction to: "We just needed to open the door": a case study of the quest to end solitary confinement in North Dakota. 2021. PMID: 34751820

  10. Cloud DH, Augustine D, Ahalt C, Haney C, Peterson L, Braun C, Williams B. "We just needed to open the door": a case study of the quest to end solitary confinement in North Dakota. 2021. PMID: 34664150

  11. Garcia-Grossman I, Kaplan L, Valle K, Guzman D, Williams B, Kushel M. Factors Associated with Incarceration in Older Adults Experiencing Homelessness: Results from the HOPE HOME Study. 2021. PMID: 34109543

  12. Hwang YIJ, Ginnivan NA, Simpson PL, Baidawi S, Withall A, Williams B, Butler T. COVID-19 and incarcerated older adults: a commentary on risk, care and early release in Australia. 2021. PMID: 33988936

  13. Prost SG, Novisky MA, Rorvig L, Zaller N, Williams B. Prisons and COVID-19: A Desperate Call for Gerontological Expertise in Correctional Healthcare. 2020. PMID: 32706885

  14. Cynthia Golembeski, Carolyn Sufrin, Brie Williams, Precious Bedell, Sherry Glied, Ingrid Binswanger, Donna Hylton, Tyler Winkelman, and Jaimie Meyer. COVID-19 and Women in the US Criminal Legal System 2020. PMID:

  15. Golembeski CA, Sufrin CB, Williams B, Bedell PS, Glied SA, Binswanger IA, Hylton D, Winkelman TNA, Meyer JP. Improving Health Equity for Women Involved in the Criminal Legal System. 2020. PMID: 32739132

  16. Sears D, Ahalt C, Augustine D, Williams B. Occupational Health: A Key to the Control of COVID-19 in Correctional Facilities. 2020. PMID: 32716628

  17. Cloud DH, Ahalt C, Augustine D, Sears D, Williams B. Medical Isolation and Solitary Confinement: Balancing Health and Humanity in US Jails and Prisons During COVID-19. 2020. PMID: 32632787

  18. Barnert E, Ahalt C, Williams B. Prisons: Amplifiers of the COVID-19 Pandemic Hiding in Plain Sight. 2020. PMID: 32407126

  19. Howell B, Ramirez Batlle H, Ahalt C, Shavit S, Augustine D, Wang E, Zaller N, Williams B.. Protecting Decarcerated Populations In The Era of COVID-19: Priorities For Emergency Discharge Planning. Health Affairs Blog 2020. PMID:

  20. Williams B, Ahalt C, Cloud D, Augustine D, Rorvig L, Sears D. Correctional Facilities In The Shadow Of COVID-19: Unique Challenges And Proposed Solutions 2020. PMID:

  21. Ahalt C, Haney C, Ekhaugen K, Williams B. Role of a US-Norway Exchange in Placing Health and Well-Being at the Center of US Prison Reform. 2020. PMID: 31967893

  22. Williams BA, Li A, Ahalt C, Coxson P, Kahn JG, Bibbins-Domingo K. The Cardiovascular Health Burdens of Solitary Confinement. 2019. PMID: 31228050

  23. Oladeru OT, Perni S, Williams B. Improving care for the overlooked in oncology: incarcerated patients. 2019. PMID: 31578989

  24. DiTomas M, Bick J, Williams B. Shackled at the End of Life: We Can Do Better. 2019. PMID: 31237520

  25. Brown RT, Diaz-Ramirez LG, Boscardin WJ, Lee SJ, Williams BA, Steinman MA. Association of Functional Impairment in Middle Age With Hospitalization, Nursing Home Admission, and Death. 2019. PMID: 30958504

  26. Bryson WC, Cotton BP, Barry LC, Bruce ML, Piel J, Thielke SM, Williams BA. Mental health treatment among older adults with mental illness on parole or probation. 2019. PMID: 30923982

  27. Ahalt C, Buisker T, Myers J, Williams B. Smoking and Smoking Cessation Among Criminal Justice-Involved Older Adults. 2019. PMID: 30890860

  28. Dahlin C, Sanders J, Calton B, DeSanto-Madeya S, Donesky D, Lakin JR, Roeland E, Scherer JS, Walling A, Williams B. The Cambia Sojourns Scholars Leadership Program: Projects and Reflections on Leadership in Palliative Care. 2019. PMID: 30810459

  29. Chang A, Lundebjerg NE, Abrams J, Barnes DE, Fain MJ, Hall WJ, Johnson TM, Michael Harper G, Williams B, Ritchie CS. Leadership, Inside and Out: The Tideswell-AGS-ADGAP Emerging Leaders in Aging Program. 2019. PMID: 30604860

  30. Kanbergs A, Ahalt C, Cenzer IS, Morrison RS, Williams BA. "No One Wants to Die Alone": Incarcerated Patients' Knowledge and Attitudes About Early Medical Release. 2018. PMID: 30593912

  31. Ahalt C, Williams BA. Reply to "Cognitive Health and Incarceration among Older Adults". 2018. PMID: 30521093

  32. Tran NT, Baggio S, Dawson A, O'Moore É, Williams B, Bedell P, Simon O, Scholten W, Getaz L, Wolff H. Words matter: a call for humanizing and respectful language to describe people who experience incarceration. 2018. PMID: 30445949

  33. Ekaireb R, Ahalt C, Sudore R, Metzger L, Williams B. "We Take Care of Patients, but We Don't Advocate for Them": Advance Care Planning in Prison or Jail. 2018. PMID: 30300941

  34. Ahalt C, Stijacic-Cenzer I, Miller BL, Rosen HJ, Barnes DE, Williams BA. Cognition and Incarceration: Cognitive Impairment and Its Associated Outcomes in Older Adults in Jail. 2018. PMID: 30232805

  35. Humphreys J, Ahalt C, Stijacic-Cenzer I, Widera E, Williams B. Six-Month Emergency Department Use among Older Adults Following Jail Incarceration. 2018. PMID: 29204845

  36. Romo RD, Cenzer IS, Williams BA, Smith AK. Relationship Between Expectation of Death and Location of Death Varies by Race/Ethnicity. 2018. PMID: 29724110

  37. Pont J, Enggist S, Stöver H, Williams B, Greifinger R, Wolff H. Prison Health Care Governance: Guaranteeing Clinical Independence. 2018. PMID: 29470125

  38. Greene M, Ahalt C, Stijacic-Cenzer I, Metzger L, Williams B. Older adults in jail: high rates and early onset of geriatric conditions. 2018. PMID: 29455436

  39. Myers JJ, Kang Dufour MS, Koester KA, Morewitz M, Packard R, Monico Klein K, Estes M, Williams B, Riker A, Tulsky J. The Effect of Patient Navigation on the Likelihood of Engagement in Clinical Care for HIV-Infected Individuals Leaving Jail. 2018. PMID: 29345992

  40. Ahalt C, Rothman A, Williams BA. Examining the role of healthcare professionals in the use of solitary confinement. 2017. PMID: 29066498

  41. Metzger L, Ahalt C, Kushel M, Riker A, Williams B. Mobilizing cross-sector community partnerships to address the needs of criminal justice-involved older adults: a framework for action. Volume 13 of Issue 3-4. 2017. PMID: 28914125

  42. Ahalt C, Sudore R, Bolano M, Metzger L, Darby AM, Williams B. "Teach-to-Goal" to Better Assess Informed Consent Comprehension among Incarcerated Clinical Research Participants. Volume 19 of Issue 9. 2017. PMID: 28905727

  43. Baillargeon J, Pulvino JS, Leonardson JE, Linthicum LC, Williams B, Penn J, Williams RS, Baillargeon G, Murray OJ. The changing epidemiology of HIV in the criminal justice system. 2017. PMID: 28449629

  44. Brown RT, Ahalt C, Rivera J, Stijacic Cenzer I, Wilhelm A, Williams BA. Good Cop, Better Cop: Evaluation of a Geriatrics Training Program for Police. 2017. PMID: 28436006

  45. Ahalt C, Williams B. Guest editorial. 2017. PMID: 28299965

  46. Ahalt C, Haney C, Rios S, Fox MP, Farabee D, Williams B. Reducing the use and impact of solitary confinement in corrections. 2017. PMID: 28299967

  47. Bolano M, Ahalt C, Ritchie C, Stijacic-Cenzer I, Williams B. Detained and Distressed: Persistent Distressing Symptoms in a Population of Older Jail Inmates. 2016. PMID: 27534904

  48. Flatt JD, Williams BA, Barnes D, Goldenson J, Ahalt C. Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms and associated health and social vulnerabilities in older jail inmates. 2016. PMID: 27367335

  49. Semere W, Yun K, Ahalt C, Williams B, Wang EA. Challenges in Identifying Refugees in National Health Data Sets. 2016. PMID: 27196649

  50. Lisa C. Barry and Brie A. Williams. A call to understand the mental health needs of older prisoners 2015. PMID:

  51. Rich JD, Allen SA, Williams BA. The need for higher standards in correctional healthcare to improve public health. 2014. PMID: 25523471

  52. Williams BA, Ahalt C, Stijacic-Cenzer I, Smith AK, Goldenson J, Ritchie CS. Pain behind bars: the epidemiology of pain in older jail inmates in a county jail. 2014. PMID: 25265035

  53. Brown RT, Ahalt C, Steinman MA, Kruger K, Williams BA. Police on the front line of community geriatric health care: challenges and opportunities. 2014. PMID: 25378267

  54. Chodos AH, Ahalt C, Cenzer IS, Myers J, Goldenson J, Williams BA. Older jail inmates and community acute care use. 2014. PMID: 25033146

  55. Meziab O, Kirby KA, Williams B, Yaffe K, Byers AL, Barnes DE. Prisoner of war status, posttraumatic stress disorder, and dementia in older veterans. 2014. PMID: 24924674

  56. Rich JD, Allen SA, Williams BA. Responding to hepatitis C through the criminal justice system. 2014. PMID: 24827032

  57. Soones T, Ahalt C, Garrigues S, Faigman D, Williams BA. "My older clients fall through every crack in the system": geriatrics knowledge of legal professionals. 2014. PMID: 24611718

  58. Rich JD, Chandler R, Williams BA, Dumont D, Wang EA, Taxman FS, Allen SA, Clarke JG, Greifinger RB, Wildeman C, Osher FC, Rosenberg S, Haney C, Mauer M, Western B. How health care reform can transform the health of criminal justice-involved individuals. 2014. PMID: 24590946

  59. Su CT, McMahan RD, Williams BA, Sharma RK, Sudore RL. Family matters: effects of birth order, culture, and family dynamics on surrogate decision-making. Volume 62 of Issue 1. 2014. PMID: 24383459

  60. Williams BA, Stern MF, Mellow J, Safer M, Greifinger RB. Aging in correctional custody: setting a policy agenda for older prisoner health care. 2012. PMID: 22698042

  61. Williams BA, Goodwin JS, Baillargeon J, Ahalt C, Walter LC. Addressing the aging crisis in U.S. criminal justice health care. 2012. PMID: 22642489

  62. Chen B, Covinsky KE, Stijacic Cenzer I, Adler N, Williams BA. Subjective social status and functional decline in older adults. 2012. PMID: 22215272

  63. Sun VK, Stijacic Cenzer I, Kao H, Ahalt C, Williams BA. How safe is your neighborhood? Perceived neighborhood safety and functional decline in older adults. 2011. PMID: 22160889

  64. Smith AK, Williams BA, Lo B. Discussing overall prognosis with the very elderly. 2011. PMID: 22150033

  65. Chang A, Chur E, Kao H, Kawahara S, Williams B. Training clinicians and building systems for an aging century 2011. PMID:

  66. Ahalt C, Binswanger IA, Steinman M, Tulsky J, Williams BA. Confined to ignorance: the absence of prisoner information from nationally representative health data sets. 2011. PMID: 21922160

  67. Williams BA, Sudore RL, Greifinger R, Morrison RS. Balancing punishment and compassion for seriously ill prisoners. Volume 155 of Issue 2. 2011. PMID: 21628351

  68. Asch SM, Damberg CL, Hiatt L, Teleki SS, Shaw R, Hill TE, Benjamin-Johnson R, Eisenman DP, Kulkarni SP, Wang E, Williams B, Yesus A, Grudzen CR. Selecting performance indicators for prison health care. 2011. PMID: 21525117

  69. Teleki SS, Damberg CL, Shaw R, Hiatt L, Williams B, Hill TE, Asch SM. The current state of quality of care measurement in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. 2011. PMID: 21525115

  70. Castillo LS, Williams BA, Hooper SM, Sabatino CP, Weithorn LA, Sudore RL. Lost in translation: the unintended consequences of advance directive law on clinical care. Volume 154 of Issue 2. 2011. PMID: 21242368

  71. Smith AK, Cenzer IS, Knight SJ, Puntillo KA, Widera E, Williams BA, Boscardin WJ, Covinsky KE. The epidemiology of pain during the last 2 years of life. 2010. PMID: 21041575

  72. Williams BA, McGuire J, Lindsay RG, Baillargeon J, Cenzer IS, Lee SJ, Kushel M. Coming home: health status and homelessness risk of older pre-release prisoners. Volume 25 of Issue 10. 2010. PMID: 20532651

  73. Baillargeon J, Williams BA, Mellow J, Harzke AJ, Hoge SK, Baillargeon G, Greifinger RB. Parole revocation among prison inmates with psychiatric and substance use disorders. 2009. PMID: 19880471

  74. Williams BA, Baillargeon JG, Lindquist K, Walter LC, Covinsky KE, Whitson HE, Steinman MA. Medication prescribing practices for older prisoners in the Texas prison system. 2009. PMID: 19762661

  75. Mehta KM, Stewart AL, Langa KM, Yaffe K, Moody-Ayers S, Williams BA, Covinsky KE. "Below average" self-assessed school performance and Alzheimer's disease in the Aging, Demographics, and Memory Study. 2009. PMID: 19751917

  76. Williams BA, Lindquist K, Hill T, Baillargeon J, Mellow J, Greifinger R, Walter LC. Caregiving behind bars: correctional officer reports of disability in geriatric prisoners. 2009. PMID: 19582902

  77. Sudore RL, Landefeld CS, Pérez-Stable EJ, Bibbins-Domingo K, Williams BA, Schillinger D. Unraveling the relationship between literacy, language proficiency, and patient-physician communication. Volume 75 of Issue 3. 2009. PMID: 19442478

  78. Lee SJ, Sudore RL, Williams BA, Lindquist K, Chen HL, Covinsky KE. Functional limitations, socioeconomic status, and all-cause mortality in moderate alcohol drinkers. Volume 57 of Issue 6. 2009. PMID: 19473456

  79. Schickedanz AD, Schillinger D, Landefeld CS, Knight SJ, Williams BA, Sudore RL. A clinical framework for improving the advance care planning process: start with patients' self-identified barriers. Volume 57 of Issue 1. 2009. PMID: 19170789

  80. Baillargeon J, Snyder N, Soloway RD, Paar D, Baillargeon G, Spaulding AC, Pollock BH, Arcari CM, Williams BA, Raimer BG. Hepatocellular carcinoma prevalence and mortality in a male state prison population. 2009. PMID: 19413034

  81. Baillargeon J, Binswanger IA, Penn JV, Williams BA, Murray OJ. Psychiatric disorders and repeat incarcerations: the revolving prison door. 2008. PMID: 19047321

  82. Baillargeon J, Thomas CR, Williams B, Begley CE, Sharma S, Pollock BH, Murray OJ, Pulvino JS, Raimer B. Medical emergency department utilization patterns among uninsured patients with psychiatric disorders. 2008. PMID: 18587001

  83. Williams B, Greifinger R. Elder care in jails and prisons: Are we prepared? 2008. PMID:

  84. Sudore RL, Schickedanz AD, Landefeld CS, Williams BA, Lindquist K, Pantilat SZ, Schillinger D. Engagement in multiple steps of the advance care planning process: a descriptive study of diverse older adults. Volume 56 of Issue 6. 2008. PMID: 18410324

  85. Williams BA, Lindquist K, Sudore RL, Covinsky KE, Walter LC. Screening mammography in older women. Effect of wealth and prognosis. Volume 168 of Issue 5. 2008. PMID: 18332298

  86. Sudore RL, Landefeld CS, Barnes DE, Lindquist K, Williams BA, Brody R, Schillinger D. An advance directive redesigned to meet the literacy level of most adults: a randomized trial. Volume 69 of Issue 1-3. 2007. PMID: 17942272

  87. Pollack CE, Chideya S, Cubbin C, Williams B, Dekker M, Braveman P. Should health studies measure wealth? A systematic review. 2007. PMID: 17826585

  88. Baillargeon J, Soloway RD, Paar D, Giordano TP, Murray O, Grady J, Williams B, Pulvino J, Raimer BG. End-stage liver disease in a state prison population. 2007. PMID: 17689260

  89. Lindner SA, Davoren JB, Vollmer A, Williams B, Landefeld CS. An electronic medical record intervention increased nursing home advance directive orders and documentation. 2007. PMID: 17608871

  90. Williams BA, Lindquist K, Moody-Ayers SY, Walter LC, Covinsky KE. Functional impairment, race, and family expectations of death. 2006. PMID: 17087694

  91. Sudore RL, Landefeld CS, Williams BA, Barnes DE, Lindquist K, Schillinger D. Use of a modified informed consent process among vulnerable patients: a descriptive study. Volume 21 of Issue 8. 2006. PMID: 16881949

  92. Williams BA, Lindquist K, Sudore RL, Strupp HM, Willmott DJ, Walter LC. Being old and doing time: functional impairment and adverse experiences of geriatric female prisoners. Volume 54 of Issue 4. 2006. PMID: 16686886