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Louise Walter, MD

Louise Walter, MD

  • Professor, Department of Medicine; Chief, Division of Geriatrics

Contact Information

490 Illinois Street, #81H
San Francisco, CA 94158
Fax: 415-514-8192
[email protected]
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  Dept or School    
  End Date    
  • University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
  • Certificate
  • Advanced Training in Clinical Research
  • 1999
  • University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
  • Residency
  • Internal Medicine
  • 1998
  • Stanford University, Stanford, CA
  • B.S.
  • Biological Sciences
  • 1990
  • University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
  • Fellowship
  • Geriatric Medicine
  • 2001
  • Stanford University, Stanford, CA
  • M.D.
  • Medicine
  • 1995
  • University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Champion Training
  • 2018
  • Dr. Walter was appointed Chief of the UCSF Division of Geriatrics in July 2013 after serving as interim division chief since August 2012. Her leadership role spans three major health systems, UCSF Health, San Francisco VA Health Care System and Zuckerberg San Francisco General. The Division of Geriatrics has doubled in size under her leadership and is now consistently ranked as one of the top Geriatrics Programs in the US by US News and World Report.

    Dr. Walter is a clinician-researcher who is a national leader in evaluating the real-world harms and benefits of cancer screening in older patients. Dr. Walter received her MD from Stanford University in 1995. She completed a residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in geriatrics at UCSF. Dr. Walter joined the UCSF faculty in July 2001, and she is a geriatrician at the San Francisco VA Medical Center.

    Dr. Walter has transformed our approach to cancer screening in older adults. She has developed novel methodology demonstrating the fundamental importance of life expectancy rather than age in determining benefits and harms of cancer screening. Rather than using a one-size-fits-all approach that assumes screening is appropriate for everyone above or below a certain age, her research has taken a patient-centered approach that considers the effect of life expectancy and patient preferences on benefits and harms of screening. Virtually every cancer screening guideline cites her research. Further, her studies of older adults in poor health documented the extent to which screening can lead to clinical harm. This research changed national VA quality indicators and convinced California state auditors to abandon their mandatory mammography policy for health plans that care for frail older adults. Her approach also forms the basis for the management of other chronic diseases (e.g., diabetes) in older adults and the surveillance of cancer risk factors (e.g., colon polyps) and cancer recurrence in older adults. She was elected into the American Society for Clinical Research in 2012.

    Dr. Walter is Principal Investigator of several foundation grants and Co-Investigator on several NIH and PCORI grants to study the harms and benefits of cancer screening and surveillance in older adults. She completed a K24 mentoring award from the National Institute on Aging and now leads the Career Development Core (REC) for the UCSF Pepper Center. She also is Associate Director for the UCSF CTSI K Scholars Program as well as the Tideswell Emerging Leaders in Aging Program. Dr. Walter is strongly committed to mentoring the next generation of clinical investigators and leaders in aging as evidenced by her receipt of the 2010 UCSF Academic Senate Distinction in Mentoring Award and her receipt of the Society of General Internal Medicine's Research Mentor of the Year Award in 2013.

    In addition, Dr. Walter is Director of the San Francisco VA's Geriatrics Health Services Research and Development Program to Improve Care for Veterans with Complex Comorbid Conditions. She also is Director of Evaluation for the UCSF Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program funded by HRSA.
      Confired By    
  • Recipient of Named Professorship: The Helen Hoh Wu and Laurene Wu McClain Professor of Geriatrics
  • UCSF
  • 2022
  • Elected into Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM)
  • 2019
  • Elected into Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society
  • UCSF Medical Student Class of 2016
  • 2016
  • Outstanding Research Mentor of the Year
  • Society of General Internal Medicine
  • 2013
  • Elected into American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI)
  • 2012
  • Academic Senate Distinction in Faculty Mentoring Award
  • UCSF
  • 2010
  • Outstanding Scientific Achievement for Clinical Investigation Award
  • American Geriatrics Society
  • 2009
  • Dr. Walter is a clinician-researcher, a national leader in evaluating the real-world risks and benefits of cancer screening in older patients. She has developed often-cited methodology demonstrating the fundamental importance of life expectancy rather than age in determining benefits and risks of screening. Having received multiple UCSF mentor awards, her current activities include Director of the Older Americans Independence Center Research Education Component and is Associate Director of the UCSF CTSI Career Development (KL2 Scholars) Program.

    Trainees can participate in Dr. Walter's health services and outcomes research program through projects that inform individualizing cancer screening and treatment decisions among older adults using large VA and Medicare databases.

    Data provided by UCSF Profiles, powered by CTSI
    • Midcareer Mentoring Award for Patient-Oriented Research in Aging
      Sponsor ID:
      Funding Period:
      Sep 2011
      May 2019
      Principal Investigator
    • Prostate-Specific Antigen Practices and Outcomes in the Elderly
      Sponsor ID:
      Funding Period:
      Jul 2009
      Apr 2015
      Principal Investigator
    Data provided by UCSF Profiles, powered by CTSI
    1. Wolf AMD, Oeffinger KC, Shih TY, Walter LC, Church TR, Fontham ETH, Elkin EB, Etzioni RD, Guerra CE, Perkins RB, Kondo KK, Kratzer TB, Manassaram-Baptiste D, Dahut WL, Smith RA. Screening for lung cancer: 2023 guideline update from the American Cancer Society. CA Cancer J Clin. 2023 Nov 01. View in PubMed
    2. Neumann AV, Gonzalez A, Walter LC, Rivera J. Improving older adults' telehealth through a novel community-academic partnership: Preliminary data. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2023 Aug 21. View in PubMed
    3. Schifferdecker KE, Ramesh NP, Walter LC, Calderwood AH. Multi-level Factors Influencing Decisions About Stopping Surveillance Colonoscopy in Older Adults: a Qualitative Study. J Gen Intern Med. 2023 09; 38(12):2761-2767. View in PubMed
    4. Huang AJ, Walter LC, Yaffe K, Vittinghoff E, Kornblith E, Schembri M, Chang A, Subak LL. TReating Incontinence for Underlying Mental and Physical Health (TRIUMPH): a study protocol for a multicenter, double-blinded, randomized, 3-arm trial to evaluate the multisystem effects of pharmacologic treatment strategies for urgency-predominant urinary incontinence in ambulatory older women. Trials. 2023 Apr 21; 24(1):287. View in PubMed
    5. Hampson LA, Shaw NM, Breyer BN, Walter LC, Sudore RL, Cooperberg MR, Baussan C, Quanstrom K, Elaine Allen I, Dohan D. Patient-identified Treatment Attributes Among Older Men With Stress Urinary Incontinence: A Qualitative Look at What Matters to Patients Making Treatment Decisions. Urology. 2023 Jul; 177:189-196. View in PubMed
    6. View All Publications


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