Leah Witt, MD

Assistant Professor of Medicine, Director of the Aging-Friendly SFO Program

My current duties are divided between Geriatrics, Pulmonary Medicine, and my leadership of a partnership with the San Francisco International Airport to promote aging-friendly travel. At the UCSF Center for Geriatric Care, a dedicated ambulatory geriatrics practice located in San Francisco, I am the leader of a new outpatient Geriatric consult service and also see primary care patients. At the UCSF Pulmonary Faculty Practice, I see patients in an Interstitial Lung Disease subspecialty clinic and a General Pulmonary Medicine Clinic. I frequently see patients using telehealth technology.

I am committed to a career in interprofessional geriatrics and pulmonary clinical education as demonstrated by my teaching efforts. For second-year medical students, I lead small groups on various geriatrics topics during their Life Stages geriatrics block each year. I frequently work with clinical residents and fellows in clinical teaching settings at the UCSF Center for Geriatrics and in the UCSF Pulmonary Faculty Practice. I am also a leader in The Curbsiders, a widely distributed and highly impactful Internal Medicine podcast sponsored by the American College of Physicians (ACP) with episodes downloaded over 3 million times by health professionals across the globe.

My long-term goal as a Pulmonologist and Geriatrician is to improve wellbeing for patients with chronic lung disease by integrating the physiologic management of chronic lung disease with attention to psychosocial factors, such as mobility, cognition, and social connection, that impact quality of life.
2018 - Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Champion Training, University of California
06/2018 - Geriatrics Fellowship, University of California-San Francisco
06/2017 - Pulmonary Medicine Fellowship, University of Chicago
06/2014 - Internal Medicine Residency, University of Chicago
MD, 05/2011 - Medicine, University of Minnesota
BA, 06/2007 - Anthropology, Global Health, Northwestern University
Honors and Awards
  • Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society, University of Minnesota, 2010
  • #130 Work Life Fit: Women In Medicine
  • #107: Women in Medicine, Be Bold.
  • #82: The GeriSiders: Dementia Dos and Don’ts
  • #118 Female Sexual Problems with Stacy Lindau MD
  • Songs that Inspire, Move, or Make Us Think about Geriatrics or Palliative Care
  • #86: COPD: Diagnosis, treatment, PFTs, and nihilism
  1. Witt LJ, Wroblewski KE, Pinto JM, Wang E, McClintock MK, Dale W, White SR, Press VG, Huisingh-Scheetz M. Beyond the Lung: Geriatric Conditions Afflict Community-Dwelling Older Adults With Self-Reported Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. 2022. PMID: 35237627

  2. Bischoff KE, Choi S, Su A, Cohen E, O'Riordan DL, Oettel E, Blachman M, Meister S, Zapata C, Lindenfeld P, Calton B, Witt L, Pantilat SZ, Shah RJ. Better Together: A Mixed-Methods Study of Palliative Care Co-Management for Patients with Interstitial Lung Disease. 2021. PMID: 34115958

  3. O'Leary EM, Tian Y, Nigdelioglu R, Witt LJ, Cetin-Atalay R, Meliton AY, Woods PS, Kimmig LM, Sun KA, Gökalp GA, Mutlu GM, Hamanaka RB. TGF-ß Promotes Metabolic Reprogramming in Lung Fibroblasts via mTORC1-dependent ATF4 Activation. 2020. PMID: 32668192

  4. Farrell TW, Ferrante LE, Brown T, Francis L, Widera E, Rhodes R, Rosen T, Hwang U, Witt LJ, Thothala N, Liu SW, Vitale CA, Braun UK, Stephens C, Saliba D. AGS Position Statement: Resource Allocation Strategies and Age-Related Considerations in the COVID-19 Era and Beyond. 2020. PMID: 32374440

  5. Farrell TW, Francis L, Brown T, Ferrante LE, Widera E, Rhodes R, Rosen T, Hwang U, Witt LJ, Thothala N, Liu SW, Vitale CA, Braun UK, Stephens C, Saliba D. Rationing Limited Health Care Resources in the COVID-19 Era and Beyond: Ethical Considerations Regarding Older Adults. 2020. PMID: 32374466

  6. Venado A, Witt LJ, Kallianos K, Wolters PJ. Diaphragmatic Atrophy May Limit Progression of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. 2019. PMID: 31825660

  7. Leah J. Witt, Carolyn J. Presley. Respiratory Organ Aging and Cancer. 2020. PMID:

  8. Hamanaka RB, O'Leary EM, Witt LJ, Tian Y, Gökalp GA, Meliton AY, Dulin NO, Mutlu GM. Glutamine Metabolism is Required for Collagen Protein Synthesis in Lung Fibroblasts. 2019. PMID: 30973753

  9. Hamanaka RB, Nigdelioglu R, Meliton AY, Tian Y, Witt LJ, O'Leary E, Sun KA, Woods PS, Wu D, Ansbro B, Ard S, Rohde JM, Dulin NO, Guzy RD, Mutlu GM. Inhibition of PHGDH Attenuates Bleomycin-induced Pulmonary Fibrosis. Volume 58 of Issue 5. 2017. PMID: 29019702

  10. Oldham JM, Witt LJ, Adegunsoye A, Chung JH, Lee C, Hsu S, Chen LW, Husain A, Montner S, Vij R, Strek ME, Noth I. N-acetylcysteine exposure is associated with improved survival in anti-nuclear antibody seropositive patients with usual interstitial pneumonia. Volume 18 of Issue 1. 2018. PMID: 29422061

  11. Leah J. Witt, Carolyn J. Presley. Respiratory Organ Aging and Cancer. 2018. PMID:

  12. Adegunsoye A, Oldham JM, Chung JH, Montner SM, Lee C, Witt LJ, Stahlbaum D, Bermea RS, Chen LW, Hsu S, Husain AN, Noth I, Vij R, Strek ME, Churpek M. Phenotypic Clusters Predict Outcomes in a Longitudinal Interstitial Lung Disease Cohort. Volume 153 of Issue 2. 2017. PMID: 28964798

  13. Wu D, Huang RT, Hamanaka RB, Krause M, Oh MJ, Kuo CH, Nigdelioglu R, Meliton AY, Witt L, Dai G, Civelek M, Prabhakar NR, Fang Y, Mutlu GM. HIF-1a is required for disturbed flow-induced metabolic reprogramming in human and porcine vascular endothelium. Volume 6. 2017. PMID: 28556776

  14. Adegunsoye A, Oldham JM, Valenzi E, Lee C, Witt LJ, Chen L, Montner S, Chung JH, Noth I, Vij R, Strek ME, Husain AN. Interstitial Pneumonia With Autoimmune Features: Value of Histopathology. Volume 141 of Issue 7. 2017. PMID: 28467213

  15. Nigdelioglu R, Hamanaka RB, Meliton AY, O'Leary E, Witt LJ, Cho T, Sun K, Bonham C, Wu D, Woods PS, Husain AN, Wolfgeher D, Dulin NO, Chandel NS, Mutlu GM. Transforming Growth Factor (TGF)-ß Promotes de Novo Serine Synthesis for Collagen Production. Volume 291 of Issue 53. 2016. PMID: 27836973

  16. Oldham JM, Lee C, Valenzi E, Witt LJ, Adegunsoye A, Hsu S, Chen L, Montner S, Chung JH, Noth I, Vij R, Strek ME. Azathioprine response in patients with fibrotic connective tissue disease-associated interstitial lung disease. Volume 121. 2016. PMID: 27888985

  17. Daly B, Hantel A, Wroblewski K, Balachandran JS, Chow S, DeBoer R, Fleming GF, Hahn OM, Kline J, Liu H, Patel BK, Verma A, Witt LJ, Fukui M, Kumar A, Howell MD, Polite BN. No Exit: Identifying Avoidable Terminal Oncology Intensive Care Unit Hospitalizations. Volume 12 of Issue 10. 2016. PMID: 27601514

  18. Witt LJ, Curran JJ, Strek ME. The Diagnosis and Treatment of Antisynthetase Syndrome. Volume 23 of Issue 5. 2016. PMID: 27594777

  19. Oldham JM, Adegunsoye A, Valenzi E, Lee C, Witt L, Chen L, Husain AN, Montner S, Chung JH, Cottin V, Fischer A, Noth I, Vij R, Strek ME. Characterisation of patients with interstitial pneumonia with autoimmune features. Volume 47 of Issue 6. 2016. PMID: 27103387

  20. Witt LJ, Demchuk C, Curran JJ, Strek ME. Benefit of adjunctive tacrolimus in connective tissue disease-interstitial lung disease. Volume 36. 2016. PMID: 26762710

  21. Oldham JM, Ma SF, Martinez FJ, Anstrom KJ, Raghu G, Schwartz DA, Valenzi E, Witt L, Lee C, Vij R, Huang Y, Strek ME, Noth I. TOLLIP, MUC5B, and the Response to N-Acetylcysteine among Individuals with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. Volume 192 of Issue 12. 2015. PMID: 26331942

  22. Leah Witt, Carley Demchuk, James Curran, Mary Strek. Safety and Efficacy of Tacrolimus in Connective Tissue Disease-Related Interstitial Lung Disease. 2013. PMID: