Lillian Gelberg, MD

Lillian Gelberg, MD

Family Medicine
Primary Location
Family Health Center
1920 Colorado Avenue
Santa Monica, California 90404


Dr. Lillian Gelberg is Professor and Vice-Chair for Academic Affairs in the Department of Family Medicine.

She is a health services researcher and family physician who conducts community-based research on the health (physical health, mental health, social health, drug, and alcohol abuse), access to care, and quality of care of homeless and other vulnerable populations.

Dr. Gelberg's work has been recognized by election to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and by receipt of the Association for Health Services Research 1995 Young Investigator Award and the 1997 Article of the Year Award, and the first recipient of the Family Practice Excellence in Research Award from the California Academy of Family Physicians (2001). She was the George F. Kneller Chair in Family Medicine (1999-2005).

She has studied homeless adults living in shelters and outdoor areas, and the health and use of health services among homeless and low-income housed patients. She also has studied the change in health status and use of health services among homeless adults; delays in the onset of treatment for tuberculosis patients; health status, contraception use, access to care, and patient satisfaction among homeless women in shelters and food programs; antecedents and consequences of victimization among homeless adults; and the epidemiology and use of health services for homeless persons with HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C including interventions to improve access to primary care for medical care and appropriate vaccinations.

With her colleagues, she is currently conducting randomized controlled trials to improve healthy eating and physical activity of patients in community health centers, using self-report, physical, and biomarker measures. Further, she is conducting a survey of hepatitis B and C among 400 patients in eight Health Care for the Homeless Program clinics representing the different geographic regions of the US.

Other areas of inquiry have included youth violence prevention; structures and processes that predict access to care in medical facilities providing care to impoverished women; and quality of care and patient satisfaction of adults and children treated in public health care clinics. Many of these studies have recruited probability samples from service and street sites and clinical settings. While most studies included structured personal interviews, some also used qualitative data collection including semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions. Many studies have also included conducting clinical assessments in fieldwork settings including physical examinations, drawing blood (including viral hepatitis and HIV testing), collecting urine, and placing TB skin tests.

Dr. Gelberg and Dr. Ronald Andersen revised the leading theoretical model of health services utilization and health outcomes so that it is relevant to vulnerable populations, the Behavioral Model for Vulnerable Populations. Dr. Gelberg has been Principal Investigator of 12 grants, and Co-Principal Investigator of 12 grants, primarily funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), National Cancer Institute, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. She has published over 100 articles (in peer-reviewed journals) and book chapters, including serving on the editorial board for Archives of Family Medicine and Annals of Family Medicine.

Dr. Gelberg is an alumna of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Generalist Physician Faculty Scholars Program. Dr. Gelberg attended Harvard Medical School and completed her internship and residency at Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx, N.Y. She earned an MSPH in health services research from the UCLA School of Public Health.

She has been a member of the UCLA School of Medicine faculty since 1986.


Spanish, English


Medical Board Certification

Family Medicine, American Board of Family Medicine, 1984


UCLA School of Medicine, 1986


Montefiore Medical Center Moses Division Hospital, 1984


Montefiore Medical Center Moses Division Hospital, 1982


Harvard Medical School, MD, 1981



Hospital Affiliations

Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center

UCLA Santa Monica Medical Center

Areas of Focus


  • Super Doctors® Southern California, 2022
  • 2018 Los Angeles Magazine Top Doctors