Dr. Adler is the Lisa and John Pritzker Professor of Medical Psychology, Director of the Center for Health and Community, and Vice-Chair of the Department of Psychiatry. She co-directs the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Evidence for Action National Program at the University of California, San Francisco and is Director of the NIH T32 Postdoctoral Fellowship “Psychology and Medicine: Translational Research on Stress, Behavior, and Disease.”
Dr. Adler’s research spans two areas. One focuses on health behaviors, investigating why individuals engage in health-damaging behaviors and how their understanding of risk affects their choices. This research has primarily been in reproductive health, examining adolescent decision-making regarding contraception, conscious and preconscious motivation for pregnancy, perceptions of risk of sexually transmitted diseases, and use reproductive technologies for infertility.
Her second area of work is on the impact of socioeconomic status (SES) on health and the role of psychosocial mediators. As Chair of the MacArthur Foundation Network on SES and Health, she led an interdisciplinary group spanning from neuroscience to anthropology that examined how social, psychological and biological factors associated with SES act together to determine the onset and progression of disease and these associations differed depending on gender and ethnicity. She is currently working to implement recommendations from an Institute of Medicine study she co-chaired on the collection of data on social and behavioral determinants of health in electronic health records.