Wagahta Semere, MD, MHS

Assistant Professor

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.
Education
2020 - Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Training, UCSF
MHS, 2016 - Health Services Research, RWJF Clinical Scholars
Residency, Chief Resident, 2013,14 - Internal Medicine, Yale School of Medicine
MD, 2010 - Medicine, University of Michigan
BSE, 2005 - Biomechanical Engineering, Stanford University
Honors and Awards
  • John A. Watson Faculty Scholar, UCSF, 2017
  • Gold Humanism Society, Yale, 2013
Websites
Publications
  1. Semere W, Makaroun LK, Beach S, Schillinger D, Rosland AM. Family caregivers navigating the health care system: Evolving roles during the COVID-19 pandemic. 2022. PMID: 35549487


  2. Semere W, Kaplan L, Valle K, Guzman D, Ramsey C, Garcia C, Kushel M. Caregiving Needs Are Unmet for Many Older Homeless Adults: Findings from the HOPE HOME Study. 2022. PMID: 35167064


  3. Semere W, Cemballi AG, Schillinger D, Casillas A, Lemberg M, Lyles CR. "We need to bring them out from the shadows:" A qualitative study of safety net physician leaders' perspectives on caregivers. 2021. PMID: 34756473


  4. Cemballi AG, Karter AJ, Schillinger D, Liu JY, McNamara DS, Brown W, Crossley S, Semere W, Reed M, Allen J, Lyles CR. Descriptive examination of secure messaging in a longitudinal cohort of diabetes patients in the ECLIPPSE study. 2020. PMID: 33236117


  5. Semere W, Althouse AD, Rosland AM, White D, Arnold R, Chu E, Smith TJ, Schenker Y. Poor patient health is associated with higher caregiver burden for older adults with advanced cancer. 2021. PMID: 33478890


  6. Brown W, Balyan R, Karter AJ, Crossley S, Semere W, Duran ND, Lyles C, Liu J, Moffet HH, Daniels R, McNamara DS, Schillinger D. Challenges and Solutions to Employing Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning to Measure Patients' Health Literacy and Physician Writing Complexity: The ECLIPPSE Study. 2020. PMID: 33316421


  7. Casillas A, Cemballi AG, Abhat A, Lemberg M, Portz JD, Sadasivaiah S, Ratanawongsa N, Semere W, Brown A, Lyles CR. An Untapped Potential in Primary Care: Semi-Structured Interviews with Clinicians on How Patient Portals Will Work for Caregivers in the Safety Net. 2020. PMID: 32706709


  8. Semere W, Crossley S, Karter AJ, Lyles CR, Brown W, Reed M, McNamara DS, Liu JY, Schillinger D. Secure Messaging with Physicians by Proxies for Patients with Diabetes: Findings from the ECLIPPSE Study. 2019. PMID: 31428986


  9. Semere W, Nápoles AM, Gregorich S, Livaudais-Toman J, Karliner L. Caregiving for Older Adults with Limited English Proficiency: Transitioning from Hospital to Home. Volume 34 of Issue 9. 2019. PMID: 31236893


  10. Semere W, Agrawal P, Yun K, Di Bartolo I, Annamalai A, Ross JS. Factors Associated with Refugee Acute Healthcare Utilization in Southern Connecticut. Volume 20 of Issue 2. 2018. PMID: 28382427


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


  12. Semere W, Karamanoukian HL, Levitt M, Edwards T, Murero M, D'Ancona G, Donias HW, Glick PL. A pediatric surgery study: parent usage of the Internet for medical information. Volume 38 of Issue 4. 2003. PMID: 12677566


  13. Semere WG, Edwards TM, Boyd D, Barsoumian R, Murero M, Donias HW, Karamanoukian HL. The world wide web and robotic heart surgery. Volume 6 of Issue 6. 2003. PMID: 14721995