Louise Walter, MD

School of Medicine
490 Illinois Street, #81H
San Francisco, CA 94158
Louise Walter
Education and Training

Stanford University,Stanford, CA, B.S. - 1990 Biological Sciences

Stanford University,Stanford, CA, M.D. - 1995 Medicine

University of California, San Francisco,San Francisco, CA, Residency - 1998 Internal Medicine

University of California, San Francisco,San Francisco, CA, Certificate - 1999 Advanced Training in Clinical Research

University of California, San Francisco,San Francisco, CA, Fellowship - 2001 Geriatric Medicine

University of California, San Francisco,San Francisco, CA 2018 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Champion Training

Awards and Honors

Outstanding Scientific Achievement for Clinical Investigation Award, American Geriatrics Society, 2009

Academic Senate Distinction in Faculty Mentoring Award, UCSF, 2010

Elected into American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI), 2012

Outstanding Research Mentor of the Year, Society of General Internal Medicine, 2013

Elected into Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society, UCSF Medical Student Class of 2016, 2016

Elected into Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM), 2019

Recipient of Named Professorship: The Helen Hoh Wu and Laurene Wu McClain Professor of Geriatrics, UCSF, 2022
Dr. Walter was appointed Chief of the UCSF Division of Geriatrics in July 2013 after serving as interim division chief since August 2012. Her leadership role spans three major health systems, UCSF Health, San Francisco VA Health Care System and Zuckerberg San Francisco General. The Division of Geriatrics has doubled in size under her leadership and is now consistently ranked as one of the top Geriatrics Programs in the US by US News and World Report.

Dr. Walter is a clinician-researcher who is a national leader in evaluating the real-world harms 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 harms of cancer screening. Rather than using a one-size-fits-all approach that assumes screening is appropriate for everyone above or below a certain age, her research has taken a patient-centered approach that considers the effect of life expectancy and patient preferences on benefits and harms 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. 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 older adults. Her approach also forms the basis for the management of other chronic diseases (e.g., diabetes) in older adults and the surveillance of cancer risk factors (e.g., colon polyps) and cancer recurrence in older adults. She was elected into the American Society for Clinical Research in 2012.

Dr. Walter is Principal Investigator of several foundation grants and Co-Investigator on several NIH and PCORI grants to study the harms and benefits of cancer screening and surveillance in older adults. She completed a K24 mentoring award from the National Institute on Aging and now leads the Career Development Core (REC) for the UCSF Pepper Center. She also is Associate Director for the UCSF CTSI K Scholars Program as well as the Tideswell Emerging Leaders in Aging Program. Dr. Walter is strongly committed to mentoring the next generation of clinical investigators and leaders in aging as evidenced by her receipt of the 2010 UCSF Academic Senate Distinction in Mentoring Award and her receipt of the Society of General Internal Medicine's Research Mentor of the Year Award in 2013.

In addition, Dr. Walter is Director of the San Francisco VA’s Geriatrics Health Services Research and Development Program to Improve Care for Veterans with Complex Comorbid Conditions. She also is Director of Evaluation for the UCSF Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program funded by HRSA.