Lenny Lopez, MD, MPH, MDiv

2009 DICP Faculty Fellowship Alumni

LENNY LOPEZ, MD, MDiv, MPH, Associate Professor of Medicine and Chief of Hospital Medicine, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA; Senior Faculty, Disparities Solutions Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA

Project Summary:

Eliminating adverse events in hospitalized patients is an essential goal to improve health care quality.  Certain subgroups of patients are more likely to experience adverse events because of complexity of their illnesses and other factors.  An important question is whether language barriers contribute to adverse events in the hospital due to patient-provider communication barriers.

The prevalence of hospitalized limited English proficiency (LEP) patients has increased. Despite this growing number of LEP patients in hospitals, little research has focused on the impact of LEP on the occurrence of adverse events in hospitalized patients.  In order to improve care for LEP patients, we need to better characterize the adverse events that this patient population is more likely to encounter.  Using an electronic database of hospital adverse events, this study has three specific aims:  1)To examine differences in the frequency of adverse events between LEP and English speaking patients (ESP); 2) To identify what type of adverse events are more common among LEP patients and 3)To identify the degree of severity of adverse events among LEP patients.


Dr. Lenny López is Chief of Hospital Medicine and Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of California San Francisco.  He is also Senior Faculty at the Disparities Solutions Center, Massachusetts General Hospital.  Dr. López is an internist trained at the Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH), who completed the Commonwealth Fund Fellowship in Minority Health Policy at the Harvard School of Public Health and a Hospital Medicine fellowship at BWH. Dr. López joined the Mongan Institute for Health Policy (MIHP) in 2008 after his research fellowship in General Internal Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and was an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School until 2015. With an ultimate goal of reducing healthcare disparities in cardiovascular disease and diabetes, his current research addresses issues relating to patient safety and language barriers, optimizing primary care clinical services for Latinos with cultural and linguistic barriers, and using health information technology to decrease disparities. A second line of research is investigating the epidemiology of acculturation among Latinos in the US and its impact on the prevalence and development of cardiovascular disease and Type II diabetes. This research will help inform how to better design clinical interventions for improving chronic disease management among Latinos. Finally, Dr. López also teaches medical students and residents, with lectures and preceptorships. Dr. López received his medical degree from University of Pennsylvania in 2001, and completed his residency at Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, in 2004. At Harvard University, he received a Master of Divinity in 1999 and a Master of Public Health in 2005.