Alissa Bernstein, PhD, MPH, MA

Medical Anthropologist, Assistant Professor

We need to build more equitable approaches to dementia assessment, diagnosis, and care.

Current Work

Alissa is an Assistant Professor of Medical Anthropology and Health Policy at UCSF where she creates effective interventions tailored to the sociocultural context of patients and their caregivers, with attention to the social determinants that cause and perpetuate ill health and disease.

Personal Hero

Her mentors

Words of Strength



To reduce the scale and impact of dementia, Alissa believes we need to build more equitable approaches to dementia assessment, diagnosis, and care.


Alissa is focused on using qualitative, community-based research to understand and improve the assessment, diagnosis, and care of people with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias, with a specific focus on primary care. She also conducts research on improving care and access to supportive services.


As an Atlantic Fellow at GBHI, Alissa has developed collaborative research projects and joined research teams with leaders in innovative diagnostic and care models in dementia.


Dementia is frequently under-diagnosed and misdiagnosed in the United States, particularly among people from underserved and underrepresented populations.

Education & Experience

Alissa Bernstein received a bachelor's and master's degree in Cultural and Social Anthropology from Stanford University, a Master of Public Health from the University of California, Berkeley, and a PhD in Medical Anthropology from the joint program between UC Berkeley and UCSF. After completing fellowship training at the Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies and the Global Brain Health Institute, she joined the faculty at the University of California, San Francisco. Her appointments are in the Institute for Health Policy Studies, the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, and the Global Brain Health Institute.

Awards & Honors

Population Health and Health Equity Scholar
National Institute of Health
K01 Award: Mapping the Dynamics of Caregiver Burden in Dementia
California State Department of Public Health
Alzheimer's disease Grant: Understanding How Comorbid Conditions Impact Primary Care Management of Dementia