Dean Schillinger, MD


Dean Schillinger MD is an internationally recognized health communication scientist and expert in chronic disease prevention and control. He directs the UCSF Health Communications Research Program, serves as site director for an NIDDK Center for Diabetes Translational Research, and is Principal Investigator for CDC and NIH funded projects in diabetes-related policy, as well as a NIH project to develop measures of health literacy using computational linguistics and machine learning. A public health and primary care physician, he served as Chief of the UCSF Division of General Internal Medicine at San Francisco General Hospital (SFGH) from 2009-2020. Dr. Schillinger currently co-chairs a subcommittee of a federal advisory commission related to harmonizing diabetes policy across federal agencies ( In 2006, he co-founded the UCSF Center for Vulnerable Populations, whose mission is to promote the health of vulnerable populations through discovery, collaboration, advocacy and policy change. Dr. Schillinger served as Chief Medical Officer for the Diabetes Prevention and Control Program for California from 2008-13. He previously directed the ambulatory care clinics at SFGH. He co-directs a national course on Medical Care of Vulnerable and Underserved Patients and edits a textbook of the same name. Author of over 275 peer-reviewed scientific articles, he has focused his research on health communication for vulnerable populations, carrying out a number of studies exploring the impact of limited health literacy on prevention and control of diabetes and heart disease, and related interventions to improve both communication and health outcomes. He has been awarded grants from NIDDK, AHRQ, CDC, NLM and private foundations in the field of health communication science. Dr. Schillinger contributed to the 2004 IOM Report on Health Literacy and authored a 2012 IOM Publication defining the attributes of Health Literate Healthcare Organizations. He was honored with the 2003 Institute for Healthcare Advancement Research Award, the 2008 Research Award in Safety and Quality from the National Patient Safety Foundation and the Bay Area Research Mentor of the Year Award in 2010 and the 2016 Institute for Health Policy Career Mentoring Award. In 2013, he received the Everett M Rogers Award from APHA in recognition of his lifelong contributions to advancing the study and practice of public health communication. In 2017, he was honored with the San Francisco Heroes and Hearts Award. He currently serves as UCSF PI for an NIH Center for Type 2 Diabetes Translational Research, and closely collaborates with UCSF Global Health Sciences and colleagues at INSP and UNAM in Mexico to co-direct the UC-Mexico Diabetes Public Health Research Initiative. Dr. Schillinger has been instrumental in local public health regulation of sugary drinks, and served as the scientific expert for the City and County of San Francisco in defense of a lawsuit filed in Federal Court by the American Beverage Association for an injunction against the City’s ordinance to mandate health warning labels on billboards advertising sugary drinks. He also co-created a youth-led diabetes prevention social media campaign called The Bigger Picture Campaign,, supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, NIMHD, and The California Endowment. The Bigger Picture has received numerous film and media awards, and received the 2014 Latino Coalition for a Health California Award for Youth Leadership and the Spirit of 1848 Social Justice Award from the American Public Health Association (APHA) and the 2015 UC-Community Partnership Award. In 2016, Dr. Schillinger was honored with a James L Irvine California Leadership Award for his innovative work in to improve public health literacy and address the epidemic of Type 2 diabetes. This led to the scaling of The Bigger Picture campaign with 8 spoken word programs across California; youth poets of color and their poems were recently highlighted in a 2018 JAMA publication and an associated New York Times feature story. He was recently featured in a PBS documentary, "Blood Sugar Rising," and an Arte documentary aired in Europe, "Un Monde Obèse," which has been viewed by over 4 million people.
Residency, - Internal Medicine, University of California, San Francisco
  1. Employing computational linguistics techniques to identify limited patient health literacy: Findings from the ECLIPPSE study.
  2. Evaluating values-based message frames for type 2 diabetes prevention among Facebook audiences: Divergent values or common ground?
  3. Accuracy of Primary Care Medical Home Designation in a Specialty Mental Health Clinic.
  4. Ethnographic investigation of patient-provider communication among African American men newly diagnosed with prostate cancer: a study protocol.
  5. Cost-Effectiveness Of A Workplace Ban On Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Sales: A Microsimulation Model.
  6. The Intersections Between Social Determinants of Health, Health Literacy, and Health Disparities.
  7. Design of a cluster-randomized trial of the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of metformin on prevention of type 2 diabetes among prediabetic Mexican adults (the PRuDENTE initiative of Mexico City).
  8. From "Infodemics" to Health Promotion: A Novel Framework for the Role of Social Media in Public Health.
  9. Retailer perspectives on sugar-sweetened beverage taxes in the California Bay Area.
  10. A Root Cause Analysis of Barriers to Timely Colonoscopy in California Safety-Net Health Systems.
  11. "It Gave Me Hope" Experiences of Diverse Safety Net Patients in a Group Acupuncture Intervention for Painful Diabetic Neuropathy.
  12. Developing and Testing Automatic Models of Patient Communicative Health Literacy Using Linguistic Features: Findings from the ECLIPPSE study.
  13. Interventions to Improve Patient Comprehension in Informed Consent for Medical and Surgical Procedures: An Updated Systematic Review.
  14. Comorbid Diabetes and Severe Mental Illness: Outcomes in an Integrated Health Care Delivery System.
  15. A Randomized Clinical Trial of Group Acupuncture for Painful Diabetic Neuropathy Among Diverse Safety Net Patients.
  16. Interventions to Improve Blood Pressure Control Among Socioeconomically Disadvantaged Patients With CKD: Kidney Awareness Registry and Education Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial.
  17. Secure Messaging with Physicians by Proxies for Patients with Diabetes: Findings from the ECLIPPSE Study.
  18. Perspectives of English, Chinese, and Spanish-Speaking Safety-Net Patients on Clinician Computer Use: Qualitative Analysis.
  19. Opinions of Primary Care Clinicians and Psychiatrists on Monitoring the Metabolic Effects of Antipsychotics.
  20. Responding to Evolving Abortion Regulations - The Critical Role of Primary Care.
  21. A Randomized Trial to Train Vulnerable Primary Care Patients to Use a Patient Portal.
  22. State Preemption to Prevent Local Taxation of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages.
  23. Using natural language processing and machine learning to classify health literacy from secure messages: The ECLIPPSE study.
  24. Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Consumption 3 Years After the Berkeley, California, Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Tax.
  25. Standardization in Diverse Populations: Implementation of Evidence-Based Practices in a Safety-Net Setting.
  26. Effective communication in the era of precision medicine: A pilot intervention with low health literacy patients to improve genetic counseling communication.
  27. Redesigning primary care in the safety net: A qualitative analysis of team-based care implementation.
  28. Engaging Diverse English- and Spanish-Speaking Older Adults in Advance Care Planning: The PREPARE Randomized Clinical Trial.
  29. Racial/Ethnic Differences in the Response to Incentives for Quitline Engagement.
  30. The Medi-Cal Incentives to Quit Smoking Project: Impact of Statewide Outreach Through Health Channels.
  31. Accurate Measurement In California's Safety-Net Health Systems Has Gaps And Barriers.
  32. Association of Rapid Molecular Testing With Duration of Respiratory Isolation for Patients With Possible Tuberculosis in a US Hospital.
  33. Innovative Implementation Studies Conducted in US Safety Net Health Care Settings: A Systematic Review.
  34. Language barriers and LDL-C/SBP control among Latinos with diabetes.
  35. Health Literacy and Power.
  36. Safety-net institutions in the US grapple with new cholesterol treatment guidelines: a qualitative analysis from the PHoENIX Network.
  37. Efficiency, Efficacy, and Power in the Implementation of a Medication Adherence Aid.
  38. Implementation of patient-centered prescription labeling in a safety-net ambulatory care network.
  39. Language-concordant automated telephone queries to assess medication adherence in a diverse population: a cross-sectional analysis of convergent validity with pharmacy claims.
  40. Cancer genetic counseling communication with low-income Chinese immigrants.
  41. A Doctor is in the House: Stakeholder Focus Groups About Expanded Scope of Practice of Community Psychiatrists.
  42. Utilization of the Behavior Change Wheel framework to develop a model to improve cardiometabolic screening for people with severe mental illness.
  43. Diabetes Screening among Antipsychotic-Treated Adults with Severe Mental Illness in an Integrated Delivery System: A Retrospective Cohort Study.
  44. Erratum to: Information Mismatch: Cancer Risk Counseling with Diverse Underserved Patients.
  45. Mammography Among Women With Severe Mental Illness: Exploring Disparities Through a Large Retrospective Cohort Study.
  46. Meaningful use in the safety net: a rapid ethnography of patient portal implementation at five community health centers in California.
  47. Multitasking and Silent Electronic Health Record Use in Ambulatory Visits.
  48. Understanding the Cost of a New Integrated Care Model to Serve CMHC Patients Who Have Serious Mental Illness.
  49. Use of Complementary Health Approaches Among Diverse Primary Care Patients with Type 2 Diabetes and Association with Cardiometabolic Outcomes: From the SF Bay Collaborative Research Network (SF Bay CRN).
  50. Health Literacy, Health Care Utilization, and Direct Cost of Care Among Linguistically Diverse Patients with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus.
  51. Implementation Science Workshop: Barriers and Facilitators to Increasing Mammography Screening Rates in California's Public Hospitals.
  52. Performance Measurement and Target-Setting in California's Safety Net Health Systems.
  53. Diabetes Prevalence Among Racial-Ethnic Minority Group Members With Severe Mental Illness Taking Antipsychotics: Double Jeopardy?
  54. Rates of Cervical Cancer Screening Among Women With Severe Mental Illness in the Public Health System.
  55. Online patient websites for electronic health record access among vulnerable populations: portals to nowhere?
  56. Information Mismatch: Cancer Risk Counseling with Diverse Underserved Patients.
  57. Nonpsychiatric Outpatient Care for Adults With Serious Mental Illness in California: Who Is Being Left Behind?
  58. The Next Frontier in Communication and the ECLIPPSE Study: Bridging the Linguistic Divide in Secure Messaging.
  59. Low Rates of HIV Testing Among Adults With Severe Mental Illness Receiving Care in Community Mental Health Settings.
  60. Do Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Cause Obesity and Diabetes? Industry and the Manufacture of Scientific Controversy.
  61. Improving advance care planning for English-speaking and Spanish-speaking older adults: study protocol for the PREPARE randomised controlled trial.
  62. Diabetes and Cardiovascular Care Among People with Severe Mental Illness: A Literature Review.
  63. Qualitative analysis of programmatic initiatives to text patients with mobile devices in resource-limited health systems.
  64. Association of the quality of interpersonal care during family planning counseling with contraceptive use.
  65. Barriers and Facilitators to Online Portal Use Among Patients and Caregivers in a Safety Net Health Care System: A Qualitative Study.
  66. Diabetes Screening Among Underserved Adults With Severe Mental Illness Who Take Antipsychotic Medications.
  67. Refilling medications through an online patient portal: consistent improvements in adherence across racial/ethnic groups.
  68. Reach and Validity of an Objective Medication Adherence Measure Among Safety Net Health Plan Members with Diabetes: A Cross-Sectional Study.
  69. Connecting the Dots: Health Information Technology Expansion and Health Disparities.
  70. Disclosure of complementary health approaches among low income and racially diverse safety net patients with diabetes.
  71. Automated Telephone Self-Management Support for Diabetes in a Low-Income Health Plan: A Health Care Utilization and Cost Analysis.
  72. Ethnic Differences in Geriatric Conditions and Diabetes Complications Among Older, Insured Adults With Diabetes: The Diabetes and Aging Study.
  73. The design of a low literacy decision aid about rheumatoid arthritis medications developed in three languages for use during the clinical encounter.
  74. Low socioeconomic status is associated with increased risk for hypoglycemia in diabetes patients: the Diabetes Study of Northern California (DISTANCE).
  75. Diabetes health information technology innovation to improve quality of life for health plan members in urban safety net.
  76. Use of the refill function through an online patient portal is associated with improved adherence to statins in an integrated health system.
  77. Expanding the Universal Medication Schedule: a patient-centred approach.
  78. Innovation and transformation in California's safety net health care settings: an inside perspective.
  79. Primary care providers' views on metabolic monitoring of outpatients taking antipsychotic medication.
  80. Patient-provider communication and trust in relation to use of an online patient portal among diabetes patients: The Diabetes and Aging Study.
  81. Safety events during an automated telephone self-management support intervention.
  82. Symptom burden of adults with type 2 diabetes across the disease course: diabetes & aging study.
  83. Evaluation of language concordant, patient-centered drug label instructions.
  84. Developing multilingual prescription instructions for patients with limited english proficiency.
  85. Quasi-experimental trial of diabetes Self-Management Automated and Real-Time Telephonic Support (SMARTSteps) in a Medicaid managed care plan: study protocol.
  86. The wrong tool for the job: diabetes public health programs and practice guidelines.
  87. Correlates of quality of life in older adults with diabetes: the diabetes & aging study.
  88. Adherence to laboratory test requests by patients with diabetes: the Diabetes Study of Northern California (DISTANCE).
  89. Social disparities in internet patient portal use in diabetes: evidence that the digital divide extends beyond access.
  90. Validation of self-reported health literacy questions among diverse English and Spanish-speaking populations.
  91. Patient-physicians' information exchange in outpatient cardiac care: time for a heart to heart?
  92. Hypoglycemia is more common among type 2 diabetes patients with limited health literacy: the Diabetes Study of Northern California (DISTANCE).
  93. What happens between visits? Adverse and potential adverse events among a low-income, urban, ambulatory population with diabetes.
  94. Interventions to improve patient comprehension in informed consent for medical and surgical procedures: a systematic review.
  95. The literacy divide: health literacy and the use of an internet-based patient portal in an integrated health system-results from the diabetes study of northern California (DISTANCE).
  96. Uncertainty about advance care planning treatment preferences among diverse older adults.
  97. Numbers don't lie, but do they tell the whole story?
  98. Refocusing the lens: patient safety in ambulatory chronic disease care.
  99. Unraveling the relationship between literacy, language proficiency, and patient-physician communication.
  100. A clinical framework for improving the advance care planning process: start with patients' self-identified barriers.
  101. Interventions to Improve Care for Patients with Limited Health Literacy.
  102. Reach and impact of a mass media event among vulnerable patients: the Terri Schiavo story.
  103. Does lower diabetes-related numeracy lead to increased risk for hypoglycemic events?
  104. Engagement in multiple steps of the advance care planning process: a descriptive study of diverse older adults.
  105. Use of an interactive, telephone-based self-management support program to identify adverse events among ambulatory diabetes patients.
  106. Preferences for self-management support: findings from a survey of diabetes patients in safety-net health systems.
  107. An advance directive redesigned to meet the literacy level of most adults: a randomized trial.
  108. Limited literacy and mortality in the elderly: the health, aging, and body composition study.
  109. Use of a modified informed consent process among vulnerable patients: a descriptive study.
  110. Is self-efficacy associated with diabetes self-management across race/ethnicity and health literacy?
  111. Racial disparities in outcomes of inpatient stroke rehabilitation.
  112. Effects of primary care coordination on public hospital patients.
  113. The populations and quality improvement seminar for medical residents.
  114. Measuring the need for medical care in an ethnically diverse population.