Elizabeth Dzeng, MD, MPH, PhD

Title(s)Assistant Professor, Medicine
SchoolSchool of Medicine
Address533 Parnassus Avenue
San Francisco CA 94117
ORCID ORCID Icon0000-0001-5235-8053 Additional info
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    Collapse Biography 
    Collapse Education and Training
    Global Brain Health Institute, UCSF2018Atlantic Fellow for Equity in Brain Health
    University of CambridgePhD 2016Medical Sociology
    Johns Hopkins School of MedicineFellowship2015General Internal Medicine
    Columbia New York Presbyterian HospitalResidency2011Internal Medicine
    Johns Hopkins School of MedicineMD2009
    University of CambridgeMPhil2008Development Studies
    Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public HealthMPH2007Health and Human Rights/Humanitarian Aid
    Stanford UniversityMS2003Chemical Engineering
    Stanford UniversityBS2003Biological Sciences and History
    Collapse Awards and Honors
    California Department of Public Health2019  - 2024Alzheimer's Disease Research Award
    National Institute of Aging2019  - 2021NIH Loan Repayment Program Renewal Award
    National Palliative Care Research Center (NPCRC)2017  - 2019Junior Investigator Career Development Award
    UCSF Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI)2017  - 2020KL-2 Scholar
    National Institute of Health2017  - 2019NIH Loan Repayment Program Award
    UCSF Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center2015  - 2016Research Core Development Scholar
    Ethox Centre for Bioethics and Green Templeton College, University of Oxford2016Andrew Markus Scholarship
    American Association of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM)2015  - 2016Research Scholar Award
    Society of General Internal Medicine (SGIM)2014  - 2015Founders Grant Award
    Johns Hopkins School of Medicine2014  - 2015Ho-Chiang Palliative Care Research Fellowship
    University of Cambridge2011  - 2015Gates Cambridge Scholarship
    Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health2007Delta Omega Public Health Honors Society Inductee
    University of Cambridge2007  - 2008Gates Cambridge Scholarship
    Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health2006  - 2007Watt Hansell Scholarship

    Collapse Overview 
    Collapse Overview
    Dr. Dzeng is a sociologist and hospitalist physician conducting research at the nexus of sociology, medical ethics, palliative and end-of-life care, and human-centered design. She is an Assistant Professor at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) in the Division of Hospital Medicine and Social and Behavioral Sciences, Sociology program. She is also a Senior Research Fellow at the Cicely Saunders Institute at King's College London. In addition, she is a Senior Atlantic Fellow for Equity in Brain Health based at the Global Brain Health Institute at UCSF's Memory and Aging Center, a Visiting Research Fellow at Kings College London’s Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, and a Visiting Assistant Professor in General Internal Medicine at UCLA.

    Her current research examines the influence of neoliberalism and specifically the culture and ethical implications of neoliberalism on an institution's ethical priorities in the United States and United Kingdom and its effects on the provision of non-beneficial high-intensity life-sustaining treatments near the end of life in older adults with dementia and serious illness. Through a comparative ethnography employing semi-structured in-depth interviews and participant observation, Dr. Dzeng seeks to understanding the macro-, meso-, and micro-sociological factors (and in particular ethical decision-making climate) that contribute to potentially non-beneficial high-intensity care near the end of life. Using this ethnographic data, she is co-design a systems-level intervention using human-centered design to mitigate the culture of burdensome end-of-life care. Other areas of research include clinician moral distress and clinician experiences and ethical perspectives around the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Among her national leadership roles, Dr. Dzeng currently serves as the Chair of the Ethics Committee at the Society of General Internal Medicine (SGIM), Chair of the Innovations in Health Care Delivery and SGIM Annual Meeting planning committee, and an Associate Editor for the Journal of General Internal Medicine (JGIM). In addition, she has been on the SGIM's special work group on the Social Determinants of Health which recently released a position statement for SGIM. She is also on the Scientific Review Committee for the National Palliative Care Research Center (NPCRC) and on the Annual Meeting planning committee for Clin-STAR.

    Dr. Dzeng completed her PhD in Medical Sociology and an MPhil in Development Studies at the University of Cambridge at King’s College as a Gates Cambridge Scholar where she wrote her doctoral thesis on the influence of institutional cultures and policies on physicians’ ethical beliefs and how that impacted the way they communicate in end of life decision-making conversations. She was also a General Internal Medicine post-doctoral clinical research fellow and palliative care research fellow at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. As an undergraduate and engineering graduate student at Stanford, she participated in the first class of Stanford's Biodesign Innovation program where she co-invented and patented a device to non-invasively cool the heart through the esophagus to prevent myocardial damage during a myocardial infarction (US Patent 7,758,623; 2010). In August, 2019 this patent was licensed to Attune Medical.

    Outside of academic medicine, Dr. Dzeng is an avid rower and has competed in races such as the Head of the Charles and the Henley Women's Regatta. She is happiest when traveling the world, especially hiking and exploring the world's natural wonders.

    Collapse Research 
    Collapse Research Activities and Funding
    Identifying factors that contribute to burdensome treatments near the end of life in older adults with dementia in the US, UK, and France
    Alzheimer's Association UK and Global Brain Health Institute Sep 1, 2019 - Sep 1, 2021
    Role: Principle Investigator
    Human-Centered Desiqn to Mitiqate Burdensome Life-Sustaininq Treatments at the End-of-Life
    California Department of Public Health Jun 28, 2019 - Jul 1, 2024
    Role: Principle Investigator
    Identifying contributing factors to burdensome ICU treatments in older adults with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias in the United States and United Kingdom
    NIH/NIA R03AG060098Aug 1, 2018 - Jul 31, 2020
    Role: Principal Investigator

    Collapse ORNG Applications 
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    Collapse In The News
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    Collapse Bibliographic 
    Collapse Publications
    Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Researchers can login to make corrections and additions, or contact us for help. to make corrections and additions.
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    Altmetrics Details PMC Citations indicate the number of times the publication was cited by articles in PubMed Central, and the Altmetric score represents citations in news articles and social media. (Note that publications are often cited in additional ways that are not shown here.) Fields are based on how the National Library of Medicine (NLM) classifies the publication's journal and might not represent the specific topic of the publication. Translation tags are based on the publication type and the MeSH terms NLM assigns to the publication. Some publications (especially newer ones and publications not in PubMed) might not yet be assigned Field or Translation tags.) Click a Field or Translation tag to filter the publications.
    1. We Need a Paradigm Shift Around End-of-Life Decision Making. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2020 Nov 10. Dzeng E, Morrison RS. PMID: 33170951.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    
    2. Understanding Experiences of Moral Distress in End-of-Life Care Among US and UK Physician Trainees: a Comparative Qualitative Study. J Gen Intern Med. 2020 Oct 27. Rosenwohl-Mack S, Dohan D, Matthews T, Batten JN, Dzeng E. PMID: 33111237.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    
    3. The COVID-19 Pandemic and Ethical Challenges Posed by Neoliberal Healthcare. J Gen Intern Med. 2020 Oct 27. Ahlbach C, King T, Dzeng E. PMID: 33111238.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    
    4. Variation in the design of Do Not Resuscitate orders and other code status options: a multi-institutional qualitative study. BMJ Qual Saf. 2020 Oct 20. Batten JN, Blythe JA, Wieten S, Cotler MP, Kayser JB, Porter-Williamson K, Harman S, Dzeng E, Magnus D. PMID: 33082165.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    
    5. The Influence of Neoliberalism on Burdensome Life Sustaining Treatments Near the End of Life (RP313). Journal of Pain and Symptom Management. 2020 Jul 1; 60(1):207. Elizabeth Dzeng, J. Randall Curtis, Thea Matthews, Jason Batten, Christine Ritchie, Daniel Dohan. .
      View in: Publisher Site   Mentions:
    6. Ethics and Spheres of Influence in Addressing Social Determinants of Health. J Gen Intern Med. 2020 Sep; 35(9):2743-2745. DeCamp M, DeSalvo K, Dzeng E. PMID: 32572766.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    
    7. A Society of General Internal Medicine Position Statement on the Internists' Role in Social Determinants of Health. J Gen Intern Med. 2020 Sep; 35(9):2721-2727. Byhoff E, Kangovi S, Berkowitz SA, DeCamp M, Dzeng E, Earnest M, Gonzalez CM, Hartigan S, Karani R, Memari M, Roy B, Schwartz MD, Volerman A, DeSalvo K. PMID: 32519320.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 1     Fields:    
    8. Moral distress and burnout in caring for older adults during medical school training. BMC Med Educ. 2020 Mar 23; 20(1):84. Perni S, Pollack LR, Gonzalez WC, Dzeng E, Baldwin MR. PMID: 32293416.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    
    9. Ethics in Conflict: Moral Distress as a Root Cause of Burnout. J Gen Intern Med. 2020 02; 35(2):409-411. Dzeng E, Wachter RM. PMID: 31667744.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 2     Fields:    
    10. No Escalation of Treatment: Moving Beyond the Withholding/Withdrawing Debate. Am J Bioeth. 2019 03; 19(3):63-65. Batten JN, Blythe JA, Wieten SE, Dzeng EW. PMID: 31543041.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    Translation:Humans
    11. A Codified Process for Multidisciplinary Team Consensus Around the Termination of Life Sustaining Treatments (LST) in France: An Interview Study (S822). Journal of Pain and Symptom Management. 2019 Feb 1; 57(2):493. Elizabeth Dzeng, Nancy Kentish-Barnes, J Randall Curtis, Anne-Sophie Debue. .
      View in: Publisher Site   Mentions:
    12. 395. Critical Care Medicine. 2019 Jan 1; 47:178. Jason Batten, Gregory Taylor, Jacob Blythe, Karin Porter-Williamson, Elizabeth Dzeng, Miriam Cotler, Joshua Kayser, Stephanie Harman, David Magnus. .
      View in: Publisher Site   Mentions:
    13. Concurrent and Overlapping Surgery: Perspectives From Parents of Adolescents Undergoing Spinal Posterior Instrumented Fusion for Idiopathic Scoliosis. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2019 Jan 01; 44(1):53-59. Bryant J, Markes A, Woolridge T, Cerruti D, Dzeng E, Koenig B, Diab M. PMID: 29901538.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    Translation:Humans
    14. Reply to: Social Causes of Rational Suicide in Older Adults. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2019 02; 67(2):407-408. Dzeng E, Pantilat SZ. PMID: 30506678.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    Translation:Humans
    15. Habermasian communication pathologies in do-not-resuscitate discussions at the end of life: manipulation as an unintended consequence of an ideology of patient autonomy. Sociol Health Illn. 2019 02; 41(2):325-342. Dzeng E. PMID: 30460704.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 1     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    16. Response to "Added Points of Concern About Caring for Dying Patients". AMA J Ethics. 2018 11 01; 20(11):E1110-1112. Craig A, Dzeng E. PMID: 30499442.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    Translation:Humans
    17. Reply to Rational Suicide in Older Adults: Not by Default an Ageist Concept. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2018 08; 66(8):1648-1649. Dzeng E, Pantilat SZ. PMID: 30084189.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    Translation:Humans
    18. How Should Physicians Care for Dying Patients with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis? AMA J Ethics. 2018 08 01; 20(8):E690-698. Craig A, Dzeng E. PMID: 30118418.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    Translation:Humans
    19. Can Growing Popular Support for Physician-Assisted Death Motivate Organized Medicine to Improve End-of-Life Care? J Gen Intern Med. 2018 08; 33(8):1209-1211. Dzeng E. PMID: 29777428.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    Translation:Humans
    20. Facts and Fetishes: When the Miracles of Medicine Fail Us. Am J Bioeth. 2018 05; 18(5):63-64. Dzeng E, Booth J. PMID: 29697349.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    Translation:Humans
    21. Understanding ethical climate, moral distress, and burnout: a novel tool and a conceptual framework. BMJ Qual Saf. 2018 10; 27(10):766-770. Dzeng E, Curtis JR. PMID: 29669857.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 8     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    22. Social Causes of Rational Suicide in Older Adults. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2018 05; 66(5):853-855. Dzeng E, Pantilat SZ. PMID: 29500826.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 1     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    23. Ethical Issues in the Design and Implementation of Population Health Programs. J Gen Intern Med. 2018 03; 33(3):370-375. DeCamp M, Pomerantz D, Cotts K, Dzeng E, Farber N, Lehmann L, Reynolds PP, Sulmasy LS, Tilburt J. PMID: 29256088.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 1     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    24. Homing in on the Social: System-Level Influences on Overly Aggressive Treatments at the End of Life. J Pain Symptom Manage. 2018 02; 55(2):282-289.e1. Dzeng E, Dohan D, Curtis JR, Smith TJ, Colaianni A, Ritchie CS. PMID: 28865869.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 2     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    25. RESPONDING TO THE END-OF-LIFE OPTION ACT IN CALIFORNIA. Innovation in Aging. 2017 Jul 1; 1(suppl_1):505-506. L. Forbes, L. Petrillo, E. Dzeng, K.L. Harrison, B. Scribner, B. Koenig. .
      View in: Publisher Site   Mentions:
    26. When Teachable Moments Become Ethically Problematic. Camb Q Healthc Ethics. 2017 Jul; 26(3):491-494. Dzeng E. PMID: 28541177.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    Translation:Humans
    27. How California Prepared for Implementation of Physician-Assisted Death: A Primer. Am J Public Health. 2017 06; 107(6):883-888. Petrillo LA, Dzeng E, Harrison KL, Forbes L, Scribner B, Koenig BA. PMID: 28426307.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 2     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    28. Addressing Palliative Care Clinician Burnout in Organizations: A Workforce Necessity, an Ethical Imperative. J Pain Symptom Manage. 2017 06; 53(6):1091-1096. Harrison KL, Dzeng E, Ritchie CS, Shanafelt TD, Kamal AH, Bull JH, Tilburt JC, Swetz KM. PMID: 28196784.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 6     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    29. Navigating the Liminal State Between Life and Death: Clinician Moral Distress and Uncertainty Regarding New Life-Sustaining Technologies. Am J Bioeth. 2017 02; 17(2):22-25. Dzeng E. PMID: 28112618.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    Translation:Humans
    30. How Should Palliative Care Be Involved in the Response to Physician Assisted Dying in California? Intimately: Perspectives from a Statewide Conference (S795). Journal of Pain and Symptom Management. 2017 Feb 1; 53(2):463. Laura Petrillo, Eric Widera, Elizabeth Dzeng, Krista Harrison, Lindsay Forbes, Barbara Koenig, Ben Scribner. .
      View in: Publisher Site   Mentions:
    31. Populations and Interventions for Palliative and End-of-Life Care: A Systematic Review. J Palliat Med. 2016 09; 19(9):995-1008. Singer AE, Goebel JR, Kim YS, Dy SM, Ahluwalia SC, Clifford M, Dzeng E, O'Hanlon CE, Motala A, Walling AM, Goldberg J, Meeker D, Ochotorena C, Shanman R, Cui M, Lorenz KA. PMID: 27533892.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 17     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    32. Moral Distress Amongst Physician Trainees Regarding Futile Treatments. J Gen Intern Med. 2016 08; 31(8):830. Dzeng E. PMID: 26951284.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 1     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    33. California's End of Life Option Act: Opportunities and Challenges Ahead. J Gen Intern Med. 2016 08; 31(8):828-9. Petrillo LA, Dzeng E, Smith AK. PMID: 27114358.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 1     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    34. Moral Distress Amongst American Physician Trainees Regarding Futile Treatments at the End of Life: A Qualitative Study. J Gen Intern Med. 2016 Jan; 31(1):93-9. Dzeng E, Colaianni A, Roland M, Levine D, Kelly MP, Barclay S, Smith TJ. PMID: 26391029.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 25     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    35. Treatment escalation in the intensive care unit among patients with preexisting treatment limitations: best-laid plans gone awry? JAMA Intern Med. 2015 Jun; 175(6):1026-7. Barnato AE, Dzeng E. PMID: 25821922.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    Translation:Humans
    36. Influence of institutional culture and policies on do-not-resuscitate decision making at the end of life. JAMA Intern Med. 2015 May; 175(5):812-9. Dzeng E, Colaianni A, Roland M, Chander G, Smith TJ, Kelly MP, Barclay S, Levine D. PMID: 25845020.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 28     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    37. Interaction of palliative care and primary care. Clin Geriatr Med. 2015 May; 31(2):207-18. Ghosh A, Dzeng E, Cheng MJ. PMID: 25920056.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 2     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    38. Physicians’ Understanding of Patient Autonomy and Choice in Discussions Surrounding the Do-Not-Resuscitate Order (FR415-B). Journal of Pain and Symptom Management. 2015 Feb 1; 49(2):358-359. Elizabeth Dzeng, Sydney Dy, Thomas Smith. .
      View in: Publisher Site   Mentions:
    39. Public Attitudes on the Future Sustainability of Medicare. Journal of Health Care Financing. 2015; 1(42). Xu T, Goldstein E, Dzeng E, Dy S, Nicholas LH.
    40. Rationing healthcare: who's responsible? Oncology (Williston Park). 2013 Feb; 27(2):91, 96. Dzeng E, Smith TJ. PMID: 23530399.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    Translation:Humans
    41. Media coverage of violent deaths in iraQ: an opportunistic capture-recapture assessment. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2008 Jul-Aug; 23(4):369-71. Siegler A, Roberts L, Balch E, Bargues E, Bhalla A, Bills C, Dzeng E, Epelboym Y, Foster T, Fulton L, Gallagher M, Gastolomendo JD, Giorgi G, Habtehans S, Kim J, McGee B, McMahan A, Riese S, Santamaria-Schwartz R, Walsh F, Wahlstrom J, Wedeles J. PMID: 18935953.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 1     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    42. Psychotropic medications and HIV. Clin Infect Dis. 2006 May 01; 42(9):1305-10. Thompson A, Silverman B, Dzeng L, Treisman G. PMID: 16586391.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 11     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    43. Enhancement of DNA vaccine potency through linkage of antigen gene to ER chaperone molecules, ER-60, tapasin, and calnexin. J Biomed Sci. 2005; 12(2):279-87. Lin CT, Chang TC, Chao A, Dzeng E, Soong YK, Hung CF, Lai CH. PMID: 15918000.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 2     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
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