Shelley R. Adler, PhD

Director, Osher Center
Osher Foundation Distinguished Professorship in Integrative Medicine
Professor, Department of Family and Community Medicine, UCSF
Director of Education, Osher Center
Director of the Qualitative Methods Core, Osher Center

Dr. Adler, Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine and the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, was trained in medical anthropology, sociocultural gerontology, and medical education research. Dr. Adler has been involved in direct teaching, curriculum development, advising and mentoring students, trainees, and junior faculty, and educational administration and leadership. She was awarded membership in the Haile T. Debas Academy of Medical Educators in 2005 and served as chair of its Innovations Funding Committee (2007-11).

In addition to educational program development and implementation, Dr. Adler has become increasingly involved in educational research. Her studies include: minority faculty experiences of the “diversity climate” at UCSF; medical school programs to promote student inquiry beyond the traditional curriculum (scholarly concentrations); assessing students’ sociocultural knowledge frameworks through concept mapping; and working with student “moles” to reveal the hidden curriculum. She currently directs two education research projects: an NIH-funded study to develop an interprofessional curriculum in integrative medicine and a National Board of Medical Examiners/Stemmler-funded study to assess individual teamwork skills in members of interprofessional clinical teams.

In addition to her work in health professions education, Dr. Adler conducts research in integrative medicine and ethnomedicine, patient-physician communication, and quality of life at the end of life for underserved women. She conducts qualitative, ethnographic, and mixed-method research and is the Director of the Osher Center Qualitative Methods Core. In 2011, Dr. Adler published a book on cross-cultural approaches to sleep disorders and the nocebo phenomenon (NIH) (Sleep Paralysis: Night-mares, Nocebos, and the Mind-Body Connection; Rutgers University Press). Dr. Adler is currently conducting research that includes a study of health care relationships among patients, physicians, and complementary and alternative medicine practitioners (NIH) and three community-based participatory research studies of end-of-life experiences among underserved and ethnic minority women with advanced cancer (NIH, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, California Breast Cancer Research Program).


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