CMA Doc: Kelly Pfeifer, M.D.

March 19, 2018
Area(s) of Interest: Drug Prescribing/Dispensing Family Medicine Physician Leadership 


Name: Kelly Pfeifer, M.D.
City: Santa Rosa
Specialty: Family Medicine
Member Since 1998

Santa Rosa family physician Kelly Pfeifer, M.D., is director of the California Health Care Foundation (CHCF) High-Value Care team, which supports policies and care models that align with patient preferences, are proven effective, and are affordable. Last year, she received the California Department of Public Health's (CDPH) highest honor for an individual, the Beverlee A. Myers award for Excellence in Public Health.

She was honored for her work launching and leading the California Health Care Foundation (CHCF) opioid initiative, which is focused on reducing deaths from overdoses in California.

Dr. Pfeifer leads the foundation’s partnerships with health plans, medical and behavioral health providers, and government agencies to support concrete actions to end the opioid epidemic.

Dr. Pfeifer has launched programs across the state to help clinics integrate addiction treatment into primary care, as well as building the Opioid Safety Coalitions Network, a community of local coalitions working together to share strategies and best practices toward reducing opioid addiction and deaths.

“California is moving fast to prevent addiction and overdose deaths, and to treat the people harmed by the epidemic. So many smart and creative people are coming together in ways I have never seen before,” said Dr. Pfeifer.

Colleagues cannot say enough about her dedication to her job and patients. Karen Smith, M.D, MPH, CDPH director and state public health officer said she’s been impressed with Dr. Pfeifer’s sheer commitment and dedication to “not only address the opioid epidemic in California, but to wipe it out.”

Roughly 90 percent of coalitions funded by CHCF have adopted safe prescribing guidelines in emergency departments and primary care setting, 75 percent have increased access to naloxone, and more than half have expanded provider use of medication-assisted addiction treatment.

“The passion, commitment, and energy Kelly brings to this important issue is impressive,” says Sandra R. Hernández, M.D., President and CEO of CHCF, “The community coalition network she has spearheaded is seeing significant statewide reductions in opioid prescribing and increases in access to effective forms of treatment.”

Dr. Pfeifer also leads CHCF’s efforts in maternity care, end-of-life care, and the care of populations with complex behavioral health and medical conditions.

Prior to joining CHCF, Kelly served as chief medical officer for the San Francisco Health Plan — a managed Medicaid health plan — and medical director and family physician at Petaluma Health Center. She also served as the medical director for access for Redwood Community Health Coalition, a network of community clinics in four North Bay counties. She continues to practice family medicine. Kelly received a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Oberlin College and a medical doctorate from the Medical College of Pennsylvania. She trained in family medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, program at Sutter Santa Rosa.


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