Alissa Bernstein, PhD, MPH

Atlantic Fellow at GBHI
UCSF Memory and Aging Center
Professional Profile
Home Country: USA
Field of Employment: Medical Anthropology & Public Health
Key Areas: medical anthropology, health policy, social determinants of health, ethnography, diversity

Interdisciplinary and transnational dialogue can lead to innovative approaches to major problems in dementia science, treatment, and care and can help address issues of social equity in regards to who has access to research, education, and treatment.

A medical anthropologist by training, Alissa Bernstein is interested in ways that dementia and caregiving are understood and enacted in different cultural and socioeconomic contexts. Through her work at GBHI, she hopes to create effective interventions tailored to the sociocultural and socioeconomic contexts of patients and their caregivers, with attention to the social determinants that cause and perpetuate ill health and disease. Bernstein is also committed to investigating prevention efforts in her studies, given that risk factors of dementia, such as vascular health, are associated with poverty. Her work will draw from her experience as a postdoctoral fellow at the UCSF Institute for Health Policy Studies and as a qualitative researcher on the Memory and Aging Center’s Dementia Care Ecosystem Study, a study that offers a new approach to dementia care through the provision of care navigation, medication and decision-making assistance, and the facilitation of connections to community resources. Bernstein aspires to be a brain health leader in the United States, an advocate for underserved populations, and a participant in global health dialogues.

Bio: Alissa Bernstein received a PhD degree in medical anthropology through the UCSF and UC Berkeley Joint Program in Medical Anthropology, a master’s degree in public health from UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health, and an undergraduate and master’s degree in cultural and social anthropology from Stanford University. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow at UCSF’s Institute for Health Policy Studies and an Atlantic Fellow at the Global Brain Health Institute.