Grantee: Urmimala Sarkar

Urmimala Sarkar

Urmimala Sarkar, MD, MPH

Primary Care Physician and Health Services Researcher
  • University of California - San Francisco

Dr. Sarkar is passionate about improving the health of diverse populations. She believes that understanding people's health behaviors in the context of their everyday lives is critical to improving public health. As a primary care physician practicing in a safety-net health care setting, her work strives to use technology to improve the safety and quality of outpatient medical care through technology and systems science.

Her current project examines public discussions of cervical cancer screening and prevention in social media, with the aim of enhancing the dissemination of information that ultimately increases screening and prevention behaviors via online networks. On social media, researchers can observe unfiltered perceptions and behaviors about health. With more and more individuals having robust social networks online, potential to spark positive health behaviors across populations is highly promising. Dr. Sarkar first became interested in this topic as a first-time parent, after joining a local online mother's group and realizing the extent to which online peer networks were influencing health decisions such as vaccinations.

I've learned from my primary care patients that I have to understand their social context to be able to partner with them to achieve healthy behaviors. You can't improve anyone's health in a vacuum.”