Rebecca Sudore, MD

Professor of Medicine, Geriatrician, SFVAMC

Dr. Rebecca Sudore is a geriatrician, palliative medicine physician, and clinician investigator. She also directs the Innovation and Implementation Center in Aging & Palliative Care (I-CAP) and the Vulnerable Populations for Aging Research Core of the NIA-funded Pepper Center.

Dr. Sudore conducts research to improve advance care planning and medical decision making for diverse, vulnerable older adults. To this end, she has designed, tested and disseminated innovative, patient centered tools including an easy-to-read advance directive in over 10 languages ( and an interactive, advance care planning website called PREPARE (

Advance Care Planning
Health Literacy and Vulnerable Populations
Medical Decision Making and Health Communication
Health Disparities

Dr. Sudore has dedicated her research program to making medical information easier for patients and their families to understand. She published the first prospective study demonstrating the effect of limited literacy on mortality in the elderly, and has shown that elders with limited literacy have greater difficulty making medical decisions for informed consent and advance care planning. She has also designed and tested an informed consent process for patients with limited literacy and an advance directive that is both literacy and culturally appropriate. Both interventions have been shown to benefit patients - particularly those with literacy and/or language barriers. Even though her low-literate advance directive has been translated and widely disseminated, further research with patients and surrogate decision makers helped her realize that advance directives alone are not enough. In 2010, she published a study in the Annals of Internal Medicine calling for a shift in advance care planning from DNR/DNI checklists to preparing patients and their loved ones for medical decision making. Her current research program is focused on designing and testing interactive, web-based interventions to prepare patients and their surrogate decision makers to make difficult medical decisions.

She also currently directs the NIA-funded Medical Student Training in Aging Research (MSTAR) program.

Since 2002, Rebecca has provided primary care to vulnerable, older Veterans in the Geriatrics clinic at the San Francisco VA Medical Center. She also attends on the inpatient Palliative Care Service at the San Francisco VA. Although Dr. Sudore is a clinician researcher, her primary passion is first, and foremost, direct patient care for vulnerable older adults.
M.D., 1999 - School of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco
Honors and Awards
  • Induction into the American Society for Clinical Investigation, ASCI, 2016
  • Outstanding Scientific Achievement for Clinical Investigation, American Geriatrics Society, 2015
  • Junior Investigator of the Year, Society of General Internal Medicine, 2012
  • Physician Faculty Scholar, RWJ, 2009-2012
  • Junior Investigator of the Year, American Geriatrics Society, 2009
  • Easy to Read Advance Directive