Faculty Profiles

Eric Widera

4150 Clement St
San Francisco, CA 94121
415-221-4810 ext. 4614

Eric Widera is a clinician-educator in the Division of Geriatrics. His main goal is to improve the care provided to elderly patients with severe chronic and/or terminal conditions through program development and educational innovations. Eric accomplishes this through various leadership roles, including Director of the Hospice & Palliative Care Service at the San Francisco VA Medical Center and Program Director for the Geriatrics Fellowship at UCSF. He is also on the Board of Directors for the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM). Eric received his medical school training at UCSF and his internal medicine training at Mount Sinai Hospital. He returned to UCSF to complete a fellowship in Geriatric Medicine. He joined the faculty at UCSF in August of 2006. Since then, Eric has been the recipient of numerous grants and awards including a Geriatric Academic Career Award (GACA), the Hastings Center Cunniff-Dixon Physician Award, AAHPM Hospice and Palliative Medicine Leaders Under 40 award, and the AAHPM PDIA Palliative Medicine National Leadership Award. He is also a co-founder of GeriPal, a Geriatrics and Palliative Care blog and podcast, as well as ePrognosis, an online set of prognostic calculators for the elderly.

Dr. Widera's clinical activities are primarily based at the San Francisco VA Medical Center. He attends on and is the Director of the Hospice & Palliative Care Service at the VA. This is a busy and growing service that performs inpatient palliative care consults in the acute hospital setting and the VA Community Living Center (CLC). The Hospice and Palliative Care Service also provides primary care for a 10-bed hospice unit located within the CLC, as well as serves veterans living in the community through an outpatient Palliative Care Clinic. Eric's other clinical responsibilities include attending on the internal medicine inpatient ward service at the San Francisco VA and supervising geriatrics fellows in caring for veterans residing in the Community Living Center.

Dr. Widera's academic focus is on improving the care we give to elderly patients with severe chronic and/or terminal conditions through program development and educational innovations. He oversees a host of interdisciplinary learners who rotate on the Hospice and Palliative Care Service at the San Francisco VA, including internal medicine residents, social work interns, and nursing students. Eric is also the Program Director for the Geriatrics fellowship at UCSF. His other interests include how the use of social media sites, like GeriPal.org, can influence medical education and clinical practice.

Education and Training

Location Degree or Training Specialty Date
University of California, San Francisco Geriatric Medicine 06/2006
Mount Sinai Hospital Internal Medicine 06/2005
University of California, San Francisco M.D. Medicine 2002
University of California, Irvine B.S. Biology 06/1997


Aging, Communication, Geriatrics, Hospice, Palliative Care, Social Media

Awards and Honors
2015   AAHPM Hospice and Palliative Medicine Leaders Under 40, AAHPM, 2015
2015   UCSF GME Excellence and Innovation Award, UCSF, 2015
2014   PDIA Palliative Medicine National Leadership Award, AAHPM, 2014
2013   School of Medicine Excellence in Teaching Award for Clinical Faculty, UCSF, 2013
2011   Cunniff-Dixon Physician Award, Hastings Center, 2011
2010   Center of Excellence Faculty Scholar, Hartford Foundation, 2010-2011
2009   Teacher of the Year, Division of Geriatrics, UCSF, 2009
2009   Haile T. Debas Academy of Medical Educators Excellence in Teaching Award, UCSF, 2009
2007   Geriatrics Academic Career Award, HRSA, 2007-2010

Related Web Sites

In the News

Recent Articles (31)

Humphreys J, Ahalt C, Stijacic-Cenzer I, Widera E, Williams B. Six-Month Emergency Department Use among Older Adults Following Jail Incarceration. J Urban Health. 2017 Dec 04.

Willham K, Covinsky K, Widera E. Geriatrics Literature 2016 Year in Review. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2017 Sep 05.

Farrell TW, Widera E, Rosenberg L, Rubin CD, Naik AD, Braun U, Torke A, Li I, Vitale C, Shega J. AGS Position Statement: Making Medical Treatment Decisions for Unbefriended Older Adults. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2016 Nov 22.

Malani PN, Widera E. The Promise of Palliative Care: Translating Clinical Trials to Clinical Care. JAMA. 2016 Nov 22; 316(20):2090-2091.

McKee KY, Widera E. Habitual Prescribing of Laxatives-It's Time to Flush Outdated Protocols Down the Drain. JAMA Intern Med. 2016 Aug 01; 176(8):1217-9.

Zapata JA, Widera E. Partial Codes-A Symptom of a Larger Problem. JAMA Intern Med. 2016 Aug 01; 176(8):1058-9.

Talebreza S, Widera E. A Perspective on Hospice Reform and Additional Caregiver Support-Reply. JAMA Intern Med. 2016 Jul 01; 176(7):1032-3.

Widera E, Talebreza S. Variability in Hospice Care at the Very End of Life. JAMA Intern Med. 2016 Mar; 176(3):370-1.

Talebreza S, Widera E. Advance directives: navigating conflicts between expressed wishes and best interests. Am Fam Physician. 2015 Apr 01; 91(7):480-4.

Bowman C, Widera E. Feeding tube placement in patients with advanced cancer: a teachable moment. JAMA Intern Med. 2015 Jan; 175(1):15-6.

McClymont KM, Lee SJ, Schonberg MA, Widera E, Miao Y, Smith AK. Usefulness and effect of online prognostic calculators. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2014 Dec; 62(12):2444-5.

Rivera V, Yukawa M, Aronson L, Widera E. Teaching geriatric fellows how to teach: a needs assessment targeting geriatrics fellowship program directors. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2014 Dec; 62(12):2377-82.

Talebreza S, Widera E. The hospice referral. Am Fam Physician. 2014 May 01; 89(9):745-7.

Hauer KE, Soni K, Cornett P, Kohlwes J, Hollander H, Ranji SR, Ten Cate O, Widera E, Calton B, O'Sullivan PS. Developing entrustable professional activities as the basis for assessment of competence in an internal medicine residency: a feasibility study. J Gen Intern Med. 2013 Aug; 28(8):1110-4.

Widera E. What's to blame for falls and fractures? Poor sleep or the sleeping medication?: Comment on "Nonbenzodiazepine sleep medication use and hip fractures in nursing home residents". JAMA Intern Med. 2013 May 13; 173(9):761-2.

Calton BA, Widera E. Teaching serious illness communication through an innovative workshop. Med Educ. 2013 May; 47(5):533.

Cruz M, Covinsky K, Widera EW, Stijacic-Cenzer I, Lee SJ. Predicting 10-year mortality for older adults. JAMA. 2013 Mar 06; 309(9):874-6.

Fischberg D, Bull J, Casarett D, Hanson LC, Klein SM, Rotella J, Smith T, Storey CP, Teno JM, Widera E. Five things physicians and patients should question in hospice and palliative medicine. J Pain Symptom Manage. 2013 Mar; 45(3):595-605.

Lakin JR, Widera E, Doe EW. Something just doesn't smell quite right. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2013 Feb; 61(2):313.

Widera EW, Block SD. Managing grief and depression at the end of life. Am Fam Physician. 2012 Aug 01; 86(3):259-64.

Yourman LC, Lee SJ, Schonberg MA, Widera EW, Smith AK. Prognostic indices for older adults: a systematic review. JAMA. 2012 Jan 11; 307(2):182-92.

Widera EW, Rosenfeld KE, Fromme EK, Sulmasy DP, Arnold RM. Approaching patients and family members who hope for a miracle. J Pain Symptom Manage. 2011 Jul; 42(1):119-25.

Gonzales MJ, Widera E. Nausea and other nonpain symptoms in long-term care. Clin Geriatr Med. 2011 May; 27(2):213-28.

Widera E, Covinsky KE. Fulfilling our obligation to the caregiver: it's time for action: comment on "Translation of a dementia caregiver support program in a health care system--REACH VA". Arch Intern Med. 2011 Feb 28; 171(4):359-60.

Widera E, Steenpass V, Marson D, Sudore R. Finances in the older patient with cognitive impairment: "He didn't want me to take over". JAMA. 2011 Feb 16; 305(7):698-706.

Smith AK, Cenzer IS, Knight SJ, Puntillo KA, Widera E, Williams BA, Boscardin WJ, Covinsky KE. The epidemiology of pain during the last 2 years of life. Ann Intern Med. 2010 Nov 02; 153(9):563-9.

Widera E, Chang A, Chen HL. Presenteeism: a public health hazard. J Gen Intern Med. 2010 Nov; 25(11):1244-7.

Widera E, Pantilat SZ. Hospitalization as an opportunity to integrate palliative care in heart failure management. Curr Opin Support Palliat Care. 2009 Dec; 3(4):247-51.

Widera, E, Smith, AK. . Geriatrics and Aging. Pain Management in Moderate and Advanced Dementias. 2009; 7(12):353-356.

Widera E, Sulica R. Pulmonary artery sarcoma misdiagnosed as chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension. Mt Sinai J Med. 2005 Nov; 72(6):360-4.

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