Kathryn Phillips, PhD

What I do

My work focuses on the translation of new technologies into improved patient outcomes, particularly the translation of personalized/precision medicine—targeting health care interventions to patients based on their genetics—into clinical care and health policy.

My research expertise

Health services research, Health economics, Policy analysis, Personalized/precision medicine, Access and use of new technologies - Economic value and cost-effectiveness, Translation of research into practice, Particularly adoption and coverage/reimbursement, Cancer screening and targeted cancer therapies, Cross–disciplinary research, Methodological approaches including secondary dataset analysis, Systematic literature review, Comparative effectiveness research, Quantitative preference measurement (“stated choice” and “conjoint analysis”), Women’s reproductive health

Clinical expertise

Genetic testing, Targeted therapies


PDF, Prevention Sciences, National Institutes of Mental Health, 1993
PhD, Policy Analysis and Health Economics, University of California, Berkeley, 1991
MPA, Policy Analysis, Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard University, 1986
BA, Psychology, University of Texas at Austin, 1978


Kathryn A. Phillips, PhD, a health services researcher and health economist and leader in the application of new technologies to improve healthcare, is the founding director of the Center for Translational and Policy Research on Personalized Medicine (TRANSPERS) in the School of Pharmacy at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). She is also a professor of health economics and health services research in the Department of Clinical Pharmacy at UCSF, with additional appointments in the UCSF Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies and UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center

Kathryn focuses on the value of new technologies and how to most effectively and efficiently implement them into health care. Her core specialty is personalized (or precision) medicine — a new era of healthcare where medical interventions can be tailored to individual patients based on their unique genetic make-up. Her work spans multiple disciplines, including basic, clinical and social sciences, and brings together leading experts in academia, industry, healthcare, payers, and government. Kathryn led one of the earliest studies on the societal implications of pharmacogenomics, underscoring its potential to reduce the incidence of adverse drug reactions (JAMA, 2001). Her pioneering research on the application of health services research to personalized medicine has revealed insights on how to bridge the gap between emerging technologies and their use in the clinic. Kathryn has also conducted seminal work on HIV, as her analysis of HIV home testing informed the FDA’s decision to approve the first home collection HIV test (New England Journal of Medicine, 1995).

Kathryn has published ~150 peer-reviewed articles in major journals, including JAMA, the New England Journal of Medicine, and Health Affairs and has had continuous funding from the US. National Institutes of Health as a principal investigator for 25 years. She currently serves on the editorial boards of the journal Health Affairs (rated as the top policy journal), Value in Health (a leading outcomes research journal), and all of the leading journals on personalized medicine. Kathryn has served on national and international scientific advisory committees and workshops including work Board of Directors for GenomeCanada, National Academy of Medicine, Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. She has also served as an advisor to various international and industry organizations, including more than 35 biotechnology companies and venture capital firms. She was recently awarded a Rockefeller Foundation global and worked with thethe Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) - the largest funder of comparative effectiveness research in the world - developing a research agenda on personalized/precision medicine.