Elizabeth Dzeng, MD, MPH, PhD

Associate Professor

Dr. Dzeng is a sociologist and hospitalist physician conducting research at the nexus of sociology, medical ethics, palliative care, health equity research, and human-centered design. She is an Associate Professor "In Residence" at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) in the Division of Hospital Medicine and Social and Behavioral Sciences, Sociology program, Affiliated Faculty in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences and the Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies. She spends her time between San Francisco and London where she is a Senior Research Fellow at the Cicely Saunders Institute at King's College London. She is also a Senior Atlantic Fellow for Equity in Brain Health, 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.

She has also recently been funded to use community-based participatory research methods to understand how structural racism effects older Black adults through the life course and how that influences goal concordant end-of-life care. Dr. Dzeng is dedicated to health equity, social justice, and anti-racism and is a member of the UCSF Office of Research Anti-racism in Research Task Force and the UCSF Division of Hospital Medicine Anti-racism Task Force. She is also a Steering Committee member on the REPAIR Project (repair.ucsf.edu) and Faculty Lead for the REPAIR Research Committee.

Among her national leadership roles, Dr. Dzeng recently served 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 SGIM's special work group on the Social Determinants of Health which wrote SGIM's position statement on this issue. She is also on the Scientific Review Committee for the National Palliative Care Research Center (NPCRC) and an Associate Editor for the Journal of General Internal Medicine (JGIM).

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 used design thinking to 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.
Education
Fellowship, 2015 - General Internal Medicine, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
PhD, 2015 - Medical Sociology, University of Cambridge
Residency, 2011 - Internal Medicine, Columbia New York Presbyterian Hospital
MD, 2009 - , Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
MPhil, 2008 - Development Studies, University of Cambridge
MPH, 2007 - Health and Human Rights/Humanitarian Aid, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
BS, 2003 - Biological Sciences and History, Stanford University
MS, 2003 - Chemical Engineering, Stanford University
Honors and Awards
  • Alzheimer's Disease Research Award, California Department of Public Health, 2019-2024
  • NIH Loan Repayment Program Renewal Award, National Institute of Aging, 2019-2021
  • KL-2 Scholar, UCSF Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI), 2017-2020
  • NIH Loan Repayment Program Award, National Institute of Health, 2017-2019
  • Junior Investigator Career Development Award, National Palliative Care Research Center (NPCRC), 2017-2019
  • Atlantic Fellow for Equity in Brain Health, Global Brain Health Institute, UCSF, 2017-2018
  • Andrew Markus Scholarship, Ethox Centre for Bioethics and Green Templeton College, University of Oxford, 2016
  • Research Scholar Award, American Association of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM), 2015-2016
  • Research Core Development Scholar, UCSF Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center, 2015-2016
  • Ho-Chiang Palliative Care Research Fellowship, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, 2014-2015
  • Founders Grant Award, Society of General Internal Medicine (SGIM), 2014-2015
  • Gates Cambridge Scholarship, University of Cambridge, 2011-2015
  • Gates Cambridge Scholarship, University of Cambridge, 2007-2008
  • Delta Omega Public Health Honors Society Inductee, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 2007
  • Watt Hansell Scholarship, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 2006-2007
Websites
  • Elizabeth Dzeng, MD, PhD, MPH, 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 Associate Professor at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) in the Division of Palliative Medicine and Social and Behavioral Sciences, Sociology program and a Senior Research Fellow at the Cicely Saunders Institute at Kings College London. 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.

Publications
  1. Blythe JA, Kentish-Barnes N, Debue AS, Dohan D, Azoulay E, Covinsky K, Matthews T, Curtis JR, Dzeng E. An Interprofessional Process for the Limitation of Life-Sustaining Treatments in France. Journal of pain and symptom management. 2021. PMID: 34157398


  2. Karches K, DeCamp M, George M, Prochaska M, Saunders M, Thorsteinsdottir B, Dzeng E. Spheres of Influence and Strategic Advocacy for Equity in Medicine. Journal of general internal medicine. 2021. PMID: 34013471


  3. Rosenwohl-Mack S, Dohan D, Matthews T, Batten JN, Dzeng E. How individual ethical frameworks shape physician trainees' experiences providing end-of-life care: a qualitative study. 2021. PMID: 33593875


  4. Dzeng E, Morrison RS. We Need a Paradigm Shift Around End-of-Life Decision Making. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. 2020. PMID: 33170951


  5. Ahlbach C, King T, Dzeng E. The COVID-19 Pandemic and Ethical Challenges Posed by Neoliberal Healthcare. Journal of general internal medicine. 2020. PMID: 33111238


  6. Rosenwohl-Mack S, Dohan D, Matthews T, Batten JN, Dzeng E. Understanding Experiences of Moral Distress in End-of-Life Care Among US and UK Physician Trainees: a Comparative Qualitative Study. Journal of general internal medicine. 2020. PMID: 33111237


  7. Batten JN, Blythe JA, Wieten S, Cotler MP, Kayser JB, Porter-Williamson K, Harman S, Dzeng E, Magnus D. Variation in the design of Do Not Resuscitate orders and other code status options: a multi-institutional qualitative study. BMJ quality & safety. 2020. PMID: 33082165


  8. Elizabeth Dzeng, J. Randall Curtis, Thea Matthews, Jason Batten, Christine Ritchie, Daniel Dohan. The Influence of Neoliberalism on Burdensome Life Sustaining Treatments Near the End of Life (RP313). Journal of pain and symptom management. 2020. PMID:


  9. DeCamp M, DeSalvo K, Dzeng E. Ethics and Spheres of Influence in Addressing Social Determinants of Health. Journal of general internal medicine. 2020. PMID: 32572766


  10. 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. A Society of General Internal Medicine Position Statement on the Internists' Role in Social Determinants of Health. Journal of general internal medicine. 2020. PMID: 32519320


  11. Perni S, Pollack LR, Gonzalez WC, Dzeng E, Baldwin MR. Moral distress and burnout in caring for older adults during medical school training. 2020. PMID: 32293416


  12. Dzeng E, Wachter RM. Ethics in Conflict: Moral Distress as a Root Cause of Burnout. Journal of general internal medicine. 2019. PMID: 31667744


  13. Batten JN, Blythe JA, Wieten SE, Dzeng EW. No Escalation of Treatment: Moving Beyond the Withholding/Withdrawing Debate. 2019. PMID: 31543041


  14. Elizabeth Dzeng, Nancy Kentish-Barnes, J Randall Curtis, Anne-Sophie Debue. 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. PMID:


  15. Jason Batten, Gregory Taylor, Jacob Blythe, Karin Porter-Williamson, Elizabeth Dzeng, Miriam Cotler, Joshua Kayser, Stephanie Harman, David Magnus. 395. Critical care medicine. 2019. PMID:


  16. Dzeng E, Pantilat SZ. Reply to: Social Causes of Rational Suicide in Older Adults. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. 2018. PMID: 30506678


  17. Craig A, Dzeng E. Response to "Added Points of Concern About Caring for Dying Patients". AMA journal of ethics. 2018. PMID: 30499442


  18. Dzeng E, Pantilat SZ. Reply to Rational Suicide in Older Adults: Not by Default an Ageist Concept. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. 2018. PMID: 30084189


  19. Craig A, Dzeng E. How Should Physicians Care for Dying Patients with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis? AMA journal of ethics. 2018. PMID: 30118418


  20. Dzeng E, Booth J. Facts and Fetishes: When the Miracles of Medicine Fail Us. 2018. PMID: 29697349


  21. Dzeng E, Pantilat SZ. Social Causes of Rational Suicide in Older Adults. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. 2018. PMID: 29500826


  22. DeCamp M, Pomerantz D, Cotts K, Dzeng E, Farber N, Lehmann L, Reynolds PP, Sulmasy LS, Tilburt J. Ethical Issues in the Design and Implementation of Population Health Programs. Journal of general internal medicine. 2017. PMID: 29256088


  23. Dzeng E, Dohan D, Curtis JR, Smith TJ, Colaianni A, Ritchie CS. Homing in on the Social: System-Level Influences on Overly Aggressive Treatments at the End of Life. Journal of pain and symptom management. 2017. PMID: 28865869


  24. L. Forbes, L. Petrillo, E. Dzeng, K.L. Harrison, B. Scribner, B. Koenig. RESPONDING TO THE END-OF-LIFE OPTION ACT IN CALIFORNIA. 2017. PMID:


  25. Petrillo LA, Dzeng E, Harrison KL, Forbes L, Scribner B, Koenig BA. How California Prepared for Implementation of Physician-Assisted Death: A Primer. American journal of public health. 2017. PMID: 28426307


  26. Harrison KL, Dzeng E, Ritchie CS, Shanafelt TD, Kamal AH, Bull JH, Tilburt JC, Swetz KM. Addressing Palliative Care Clinician Burnout in Organizations: A Workforce Necessity, an Ethical Imperative. Journal of pain and symptom management. 2017. PMID: 28196784


  27. Laura Petrillo, Eric Widera, Elizabeth Dzeng, Krista Harrison, Lindsay Forbes, Barbara Koenig, Ben Scribner. 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. PMID:


  28. 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. Populations and Interventions for Palliative and End-of-Life Care: A Systematic Review. Journal of palliative medicine. 2016. PMID: 27533892


  29. Dzeng E. Moral Distress Amongst Physician Trainees Regarding Futile Treatments. Journal of general internal medicine. 2016. PMID: 26951284


  30. Petrillo LA, Dzeng E, Smith AK. California's End of Life Option Act: Opportunities and Challenges Ahead. Journal of general internal medicine. 2016. PMID: 27114358


  31. Dzeng E, Colaianni A, Roland M, Levine D, Kelly MP, Barclay S, Smith TJ. Moral Distress Amongst American Physician Trainees Regarding Futile Treatments at the End of Life: A Qualitative Study. Journal of general internal medicine. 2015. PMID: 26391029


  32. Dzeng E, Colaianni A, Roland M, Chander G, Smith TJ, Kelly MP, Barclay S, Levine D. Influence of institutional culture and policies on do-not-resuscitate decision making at the end of life. JAMA internal medicine. 2015. PMID: 25845020


  33. Ghosh A, Dzeng E, Cheng MJ. Interaction of palliative care and primary care. Clinics in geriatric medicine. 2015. PMID: 25920056


  34. Elizabeth Dzeng, Sydney Dy, Thomas Smith. Physicians’ Understanding of Patient Autonomy and Choice in Discussions Surrounding the Do-Not-Resuscitate Order (FR415-B). Journal of pain and symptom management. 2015. PMID:


  35. Xu T, Goldstein E, Dzeng E, Dy S, Nicholas LH. Public Attitudes on the Future Sustainability of Medicare 2015. PMID:


  36. Dzeng E, Smith TJ. Rationing healthcare: who's responsible? 2013. PMID: 23530399


  37. 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. Media coverage of violent deaths in iraQ: an opportunistic capture-recapture assessment. 2008. PMID: 18935953


  38. Thompson A, Silverman B, Dzeng L, Treisman G. Psychotropic medications and HIV. Clinical infectious diseases : an official publication of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. 2006. PMID: 16586391


  39. Lin CT, Chang TC, Chao A, Dzeng E, Soong YK, Hung CF, Lai CH. Enhancement of DNA vaccine potency through linkage of antigen gene to ER chaperone molecules, ER-60, tapasin, and calnexin. 2005. PMID: 15918000