Vanessa Grubbs, MD

Associate Professor

College: Duke University, BA
Medical School: Duke University School of Medicine, MD
Internal Medicine Residency: Alameda County Medical Center, Oakland, CA
Nephrology Fellowship: University of California, San Francisco
Other graduate training: University of California, Berkeley, MPH

Dr. Vanessa Grubbs is an Associate Professor in the Division of Nephrology at UCSF and has maintained a clinical practice and research program at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital since 2009. Her research focuses on palliative care for patients with end-stage kidney disease. She is among the 2017 cohort for the Cambia Health Foundation Sojourns Scholar Leadership Program, an initiative designed to identify, cultivate and advance the next generation of palliative care leaders; and the 2018 California Health Care Foundation’s Health Care Leadership Program.

Her clinical and research work fuel her passion for creative writing. Her first book, HUNDREDS OF INTERLACED FINGERS: A Kidney Doctor’s Search for the Perfect Match, was released June 2017 from Harper Collins Publishers, Amistad division and is now in paperback. Dr. Abraham Verghese, best-selling author and physician, described the book as a "gripping, heartfelt memoir ... a deeply insightful look at health care in America as experienced by doctor and patient.” Dr. Grubbs is currently working on a novel.
Clinical Fellowship, - Nephrology, University of California, San Francisco
Honors and Awards
  • K23 Career Development Award, NIH-NIDDK, 2012-2017
  • Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 2012-2016
  1. Cerdeña JP, Grubbs V, Non AL. Genomic supremacy: the harm of conflating genetic ancestry and race. 2022. PMID: 35585650

  2. Grubbs V, Cerdeña JP, Non AL. The misuse of race in the search for disease-causing alleles. 2022. PMID: 35305732

  3. Tsai JW, Cerdeña JP, Goedel WC, Asch WS, Grubbs V, Mendu ML, Kaufman JS. Evaluating the Impact and Rationale of Race-Specific Estimations of Kidney Function: Estimations from U.S. NHANES, 2015-2018. 2021. PMID: 34849475

  4. Grubbs V, Jaar BG, Cavanaugh KL, Ephraim PL, Ameling JM, Cook C, Greer RC, Boulware LE. Impact of pre-dialysis nephrology care engagement and decision-making on provider and patient action toward permanent vascular access. 2021. PMID: 33593328

  5. Cerdeña JP, Tsai J, Grubbs V. APOL1, Black Race, and Kidney Disease: Turning Attention to Structural Racism. 2021. PMID: 33485919

  6. Grubbs V. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion That Matter. 2020. PMID: 32649073

  7. Grubbs V, Garcia F, Vittinghoff E, Jue BL, Ryder M, Lovett DH, Offenbacher S, Taylor G, Ganz P, Bibbins-Domingo K, Powe NR. Nonsurgical Periodontal Therapy in CKD: Findings of the Kidney and Periodontal Disease (KAPD) Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial. 2019. PMID: 32734226

  8. Lam DY, Scherer JS, Brown M, Grubbs V, Schell JO. A Conceptual Framework of Palliative Care across the Continuum of Advanced Kidney Disease. 2019. PMID: 30728167

  9. Cervantes L, Tuot D, Raghavan R, Linas S, Zoucha J, Sweeney L, Vangala C, Hull M, Camacho M, Keniston A, McCulloch CE, Grubbs V, Kendrick J, Powe NR. Association of Emergency-Only vs Standard Hemodialysis With Mortality and Health Care Use Among Undocumented Immigrants With End-stage Renal Disease. Volume 178 of Issue 2. 2018. PMID: 29255898

  10. Montez-Rath ME, Zheng Y, Tamura MK, Grubbs V, Winkelmayer WC, Chang TI. Hospitalizations and Nursing Facility Stays During the Transition from CKD to ESRD on Dialysis: An Observational Study. Volume 32 of Issue 11. 2017. PMID: 28808869

  11. Huang Y, Tilea A, Gillespie B, Shahinian V, Banerjee T, Grubbs V, Powe N, Rios-Burrows N, Pavkov M, Saran R. Understanding Trends in Kidney Function 1 Year after Kidney Transplant in the United States. Volume 28 of Issue 8. 2017. PMID: 28270413

  12. Grubbs V, Garcia F, Jue BL, Vittinghoff E, Ryder M, Lovett D, Carrillo J, Offenbacher S, Ganz P, Bibbins-Domingo K, Powe NR. The Kidney and Periodontal Disease (KAPD) study: A pilot randomized controlled trial testing the effect of non-surgical periodontal therapy on chronic kidney disease. Volume 53. 2016. PMID: 28011387

  13. Grubbs V, Vittighoff E, Grimes B, Johansen KL. Mortality and illicit drug dependence among hemodialysis patients in the United States: a retrospective cohort analysis. Volume 17 of Issue 1. 2016. PMID: 27278934

  14. Grubbs V, Vittinghoff E, Taylor G, Kritz-Silverstein D, Powe N, Bibbins-Domingo K, Ishani A, Cummings SR. The association of periodontal disease with kidney function decline: a longitudinal retrospective analysis of the MrOS dental study. Volume 31 of Issue 3. 2015. PMID: 26320037

  15. Tuot DS, Lin F, Shlipak MG, Grubbs V, Hsu CY, Yee J, Shahinian V, Saran R, Saydah S, Williams DE, Powe NR. Potential Impact of Prescribing Metformin According to eGFR Rather Than Serum Creatinine. Volume 38 of Issue 11. 2015. PMID: 26307607

  16. Grubbs V, Vittinghoff E, Beck JD, Kshirsagar AV, Wang W, Griswold ME, Powe NR, Correa A, Young B. Association Between Periodontal Disease and Kidney Function Decline in African Americans: The Jackson Heart Study. Volume 86 of Issue 10. 2015. PMID: 26110451

  17. Greer RC, Ameling JM, Cavanaugh KL, Jaar BG, Grubbs V, Andrews CE, Ephraim P, Powe NR, Lewis J, Umeukeje E, Gimenez L, James S, Boulware LE. Specialist and primary care physicians' views on barriers to adequate preparation of patients for renal replacement therapy: a qualitative study. Volume 16. 2015. PMID: 25885460

  18. Tuot DS, Grubbs V. Chronic kidney disease care in the US safety net. Volume 22 of Issue 1. 2015. PMID: 25573515

  19. Grubbs V, Moss AH, Cohen LM, Fischer MJ, Germain MJ, Jassal SV, Perl J, Weiner DE, Mehrotra R. A palliative approach to dialysis care: a patient-centered transition to the end of life. Volume 9 of Issue 12. 2014. PMID: 25104274

  20. Grubbs V. Undocumented immigrants and kidney transplant: costs and controversy. Volume 33 of Issue 2. 2014. PMID: 24493776

  21. Crews DC, Kuczmarski MF, Grubbs V, Hedgeman E, Shahinian VB, Evans MK, Zonderman AB, Burrows NR, Williams DE, Saran R, Powe NR. Effect of food insecurity on chronic kidney disease in lower-income Americans. Volume 39 of Issue 1. 2014. PMID: 24434743

  22. Grubbs V, Lin F, Vittinghoff E, Shlipak MG, Peralta CA, Bansal N, Jacobs DR, Siscovick DS, Lewis CE, Bibbins-Domingo K. Body mass index and early kidney function decline in young adults: a longitudinal analysis of the CARDIA (Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults) study. Volume 63 of Issue 4. 2013. PMID: 24295611

  23. Grubbs V, Wasse H, Vittinghoff E, Grimes BA, Johansen KL. Health status as a potential mediator of the association between hemodialysis vascular access and mortality. Volume 29 of Issue 4. 2013. PMID: 24235075

  24. Bansal N, Vittinghoff E, Peralta CA, Shlipak MG, Grubbs V, Jacobs DR, Siscovick D, Steffes M, Carr JJ, Bibbins-Domingo K. Estimated kidney function based on serum cystatin C and risk of subsequent coronary artery calcium in young and middle-aged adults with preserved kidney function: results from the CARDIA study. Volume 178 of Issue 3. 2013. PMID: 23813702

  25. Grubbs V, Plantinga LC, Tuot DS, Hedgeman E, Saran R, Saydah S, Rolka D, Powe NR. Americans' use of dietary supplements that are potentially harmful in CKD. Volume 61 of Issue 5. 2013. PMID: 23415417

  26. Plantinga LC, Tuot DS, Grubbs V, Hsu CY, Powe NR. Chronic kidney disease identification in a high-risk urban population: does automated eGFR reporting make a difference? Volume 89 of Issue 6. 2012. PMID: 22684427

  27. Grubbs V, Plantinga LC, Vittinghoff E, O'Hare AM, Dudley RA. Medicare immunosuppressant coverage and access to kidney transplantation: a retrospective national cohort study. Volume 12. 2012. PMID: 22894737

  28. Plantinga L, Grubbs V, Sarkar U, Hsu CY, Hedgeman E, Robinson B, Saran R, Geiss L, Burrows NR, Eberhardt M, Powe N. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug use among persons with chronic kidney disease in the United States. Volume 9 of Issue 5. 2011. PMID: 21911761

  29. Vanessa Grubbs, Steven Gregorich, Ann O'Hare, Adams Dudley. 105 Medicare Immunosuppressant Coverage and Access to Kidney Transplantation. 2011. PMID:

  30. Vanessa Grubbs, Laura Plantinga, Delphine Tuot, Neil Powe. 106 Missed Opportunity? —Dental Visits by Chronic Kidney Disease Status in Underserved Patients. 2011. PMID:

  31. Laura Plantinga, Delphine Tuot, Vanessa Grubbs, Neil Powe. 248 Prevalence of Diagnosed Risk Factors in Underserved Patients Without Creatinine Measurements is High. 2011. PMID:

  32. Delphine Tuot, Laura Plantinga, Vanessa Grubbs, Neil Powe. 329 Limited English Proficiency and Acute Health Care Utilization Among Patients With CKD. 2011. PMID:

  33. Grubbs V, Plantinga LC, Crews DC, Bibbins-Domingo K, Saran R, Heung M, Patel PR, Burrows NR, Ernst KL, Powe NR. Vulnerable populations and the association between periodontal and chronic kidney disease. Volume 6 of Issue 4. 2011. PMID: 21350109

  34. Grubbs V, Gregorich SE, Perez-Stable EJ, Hsu CY. Health literacy and access to kidney transplantation. Volume 4 of Issue 1. 2008. PMID: 19056617

  35. 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. 2007. PMID: 18043984

  36. Grubbs V. Good for harvest, bad for planting. Volume 26 of Issue 1. 2007. PMID: 17211033

  37. 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. 2006. PMID: 16808766