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Louise Walter, MD

Louise Walter, MD

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

Contact Information

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Phone: 415-514-0717
Fax: 415-750-6641
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  Dept or School    
  End Date    
  • University of California, San Francisco, CA
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Champion Training
  • 2018
  • University of California, San Francisco
  • Residency
  • Internal Medicine
  • Dr. Walter was appointed Chief of the UCSF Division of Geriatrics in July 2013 after serving as interim division chief since August 2012.

    Dr. Walter is a clinician-researcher who is a national leader in evaluating the real-world risks 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 risks 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. Her approach also forms the basis for the management of other chronic diseases (e.g., diabetes) in older adults.

    In addition, Dr. Walter led a series of seminal studies demonstrating decisions to screen older adults for cancer are often dictated more by age than health such that many patients in poor health continue to undergo screening while many healthy older patients fail to get screened. Also, she discovered that cancer screening frequently leads to significant harms without benefit in patients in poor health and developed a taxonomy and quantification of screening harms. 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 elders.

    Dr. Walter is Principal Investigator of a $2.5 million Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program grant from HRSA and Principal Investigator of a K24 mentoring award from the National Institute on Aging. Dr. Walter is strongly committed to mentoring the next generation of clinical investigators as evidenced by her receipt of the 2010 UCSF Academic Senate Distinction in Mentoring Award (given annually to one Associate Professor who provides exceptional mentoring) and her receipt of the Society of General Internal Medicine's Research Mentor of the Year Award in 2013.

    Dr. Walter is the Associate Director of the UCSF Clinical and Translational Science Institute Career Development (KL2) Program and Director of the San Francisco VA's Health Services Research and Development Program to Improve Care for Veterans with Complex Comorbid Conditions. She also is the Core Leader of the Research Career Development Core (RCDC) for the UCSF Pepper Center for Aging Research.
      Confired By    
  • 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
  • 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. Wong ML, Nicosia FM, Smith AK, Walter LC, Lam V, Cohen HJ, Loh KP, Mohile SG, Ursem CJ, Schwarze ML. "You have to be sure that the patient has the full picture": Adaptation of the Best Case/Worst Case communication tool for geriatric oncology. J Geriatr Oncol. 2022 06; 13(5):606-613. View in PubMed
    2. Advani S, Abraham L, Buist DSM, Kerlikowske K, Miglioretti DL, Sprague BL, Henderson LM, Onega T, Schousboe JT, Demb J, Zhang D, Walter LC, Lee CI, Braithwaite D, O'Meara ES, Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium. Breast biopsy patterns and findings among older women undergoing screening mammography: The role of age and comorbidity. J Geriatr Oncol. 2022 03; 13(2):161-169. View in PubMed
    3. Calderwood AH, Tosteson TD, Walter LC, Hua P, Onega T. Colonoscopy utilization and outcomes in older adults: Data from the New Hampshire Colonoscopy Registry. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2022 03; 70(3):801-811. View in PubMed
    4. Hampson LA, Suskind AM, Breyer BN, Cooperberg MR, Sudore RL, Keyhani S, Allen IE, Walter LC. Predictors of Regret among Older Men after Stress Urinary Incontinence Treatment Decisions. J Urol. 2022 04; 207(4):885-892. View in PubMed
    5. Zhang D, Abraham L, Sprague BL, Onega T, Advani S, Demb J, Miglioretti DL, Henderson LM, Wernli KJ, Walter LC, Kerlikowske K, Schousboe JT, Chrischilles E, Braithwaite D, O'Meara ES, Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium. Mammography adherence in relation to function-related indicators in older women. Prev Med. 2022 01; 154:106869. View in PubMed
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