Kathryn A. Phillips, PhD

Professor of Health Services Research and Health Economics, Department of Clinical Pharmacy, School of Pharmacy; Director/Founder, Center for Translational and Policy Research on Precision Medicine (TRANSPERS), UCSF

Cancer Center Program Membership

Cancer Control

Research Summary

My research focuses on the value of new technologies, with a specific emphasis on the application of genetics to cancer care and control and other conditions (“precision medicine"). In 2008, I founded the UCSF Center for Translational and Policy Research on Precision Medicine (TRANSPERS), which focuses on how personalized/precision medicine can most effectively and efficiently be adopted into health care delivery and health policies. I have had continuous funding from the NIH as Principal Investigator for over 30 years and have published over 200 peer-reviewed articles in the leading journals in health policy. A focus is cross-disciplinary/cross-sector research as exemplified by my advisory role to many government and industry organizations.

My work in cancer screening spans almost my entire academic career, with early work on predictors of mammography screening followed by work on colorectal cancer screening. I now work on policy issues relevant to hereditary cancer risk assessment testing and tumor profiling using sequencing technologies (funded by NCI and others). I work closely with the UCSF HDFCCC as a long-time member of the Population Sciences/Cancer Control Program and previously was the designated leader for comparative effectiveness research. I have presented at multiple IOM, NCI, and other meetings focused on cancer and have published in leading cancer journals. My work has been funded by several cancer organizations, including R01s and a Program Project Grant (P01) funded by NCI.

Research Funding

  • July 1, 2018 - June 30, 2021 - Coverage, Price, and Reimbursement for Multigene Tests for Cancer and Related Conditions , Principal Investigator . Sponsor: NIH, Sponsor Award ID: R01CA221870
  • February 15, 2013 - January 31, 2019 - Risk-Benefit Trade-Offs for Whole Genome Sequencing , Principal Investigator . Sponsor: NIH, Sponsor Award ID: R01HG007063
  • September 16, 2008 - August 31, 2013 - Personalized Medicine for Colorectal and Breast Cancer , Principal Investigator . Sponsor: NIH, Sponsor Award ID: P01CA130818


University of Texas, Austin, BA, 1978, Psychology
Kennedy School of Government, Harvard Univ., Cambridge, MA, MPA, 1986, Policy Analysis
University of California, Berkeley, PhD, 1991, Health Services Research
Center for AIDS Prevention Studies, Univ. of CA San Francisco, Postdoc, 1993, Health Services Research

Honors & Awards

  • 1996
    Article published in New England Journal of Medicine contributed to FDA decision to approve the first home collection HIV test
  • 2009
    Grollman Lecture (honorary), University of Maryland School of Pharmacy
  • 2010
    NHGRI Director's Lecture, National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI)
  • 2013
    Accelerated Promotion due to sustained productivity, UCSF
  • 2016
    Promotion to Full Professor Step 7 requiring “international prominence” and university review, UCSF
  • 2016
    Rockefeller Center Bellagio Residency Award for Global Scholars, Rockefeller Foundation
  • 2017
    Nominated, National Academy of Medicine
  • 2017
    Honorary Lectureship, Program for Personalized and Genomic Medicine Seminar, University of Maryland
  • 2018
    Honorary Lectureship, Opportunities and Challenges for Moving New Genomic Technologies into Clinical Care and Health Policies, University of British Columbia & BC Cancer Agency
  • 2019, 2020
    Dean’s Apple Award for Outstanding Teaching (multiple), University of California, San Francisco
  • 2022
    Editor in Chief, Health Affairs Scholar

Selected Publications

  1. Jansen JP, Ragavan MV, Chen C, Douglas MP, Phillips KA. The health inequality impact of liquid biopsy to inform first-line treatment of advanced non-small cell lung cancer - a distributional cost-effectiveness analysis. Value Health. 2023 Sep 21.  View on PubMed
  2. Lin GA, Phillips KA, Fendrick AM. Reading the crystal ball: Primary care implications while awaiting outcomes for multi-cancer early detection tests. Healthc (Amst). 2023 Sep; 11(3):100705.  View on PubMed
  3. Douglas MP, Ragavan MV, Chen C, Kumar A, Gray SW, Blakely CM, Phillips KA. Private Payer and Medicare Coverage Policies for Use of Circulating Tumor DNA Tests in Cancer Diagnostics and Treatment. J Natl Compr Canc Netw. 2023 06; 21(6):609-616.e4.  View on PubMed
  4. Phillips KA. CMS Coverage With Evidence Development-Challenges and Opportunities for Improvement. JAMA Health Forum. 2022 09 02; 3(9):e223061.  View on PubMed
  5. Weldon CB, Trosman JR, Liang SY, Douglas MP, Scheuner MT, Kurian A, Schaa KL, Roscow B, Erwin D, Phillips KA. Genetic counselors' experience with reimbursement and patient out-of-pocket cost for multi-cancer gene panel testing for hereditary cancer syndromes. J Genet Couns. 2022 Dec; 31(6):1394-1403.  View on PubMed
  6. Deverka PA, Douglas MP, Phillips KA. Multicancer Screening Tests: Anticipating And Addressing Considerations For Payer Coverage And Patient Access. Health Aff (Millwood). 2022 03; 41(3):383-389.  View on PubMed
  7. Arias JJ, Lin GA, Tyler AM, Douglas MP, Phillips KA. Geriatricians' Perspectives on the Multiple Dimensions of Utility of Genetic Testing for Alzheimer's Disease: A Qualitative Study. J Alzheimers Dis. 2022; 90(3):1011-1019.  View on PubMed
  8. Phillips KA, Trosman JR, Douglas MP, Gelb BD, Ferket BS, Hindorff LA, Slavotinek AM, Berg JS, Russell HV, Devine B, Greve V, Smith HS. US private payers' perspectives on insurance coverage for genome sequencing versus exome sequencing: A study by the Clinical Sequencing Evidence-Generating Research Consortium (CSER). Genet Med. 2022 01; 24(1):238-244.  View on PubMed
  9. Douglas MP, Lin GA, Trosman JR, Phillips KA. Hereditary cancer panel testing challenges and solutions for the latinx community: costs, access, and variants. J Community Genet. 2022 Feb; 13(1):75-80.  View on PubMed
  10. Lin GA, Trosman JR, Douglas MP, Weldon CB, Scheuner MT, Kurian A, Phillips KA. Influence of payer coverage and out-of-pocket costs on ordering of NGS panel tests for hereditary cancer in diverse settings. J Genet Couns. 2022 02; 31(1):130-139.  View on PubMed
  11. Arias JJ, Phillips KA, Karlawish J. Developing an Economic and Policy Research Agenda for Blood Biomarkers of Neurodegenerative Diseases. JAMA Health Forum. 2021 07 02; 2(7):e211428.  View on PubMed
  12. Scheuner MT, Douglas MP, Sales P, Ackerman SL, Phillips KA. Laboratory business models and practices: implications for availability and access to germline genetic testing. Genet Med. 2021 09; 23(9):1681-1688.  View on PubMed
  13. Phillips KA, Douglas MP, Wordsworth S, Buchanan J, Marshall DA. Availability and funding of clinical genomic sequencing globally. BMJ Glob Health. 2021 02; 6(2).  View on PubMed
  14. Arias JJ, Tyler AM, Douglas MP, Phillips KA. Private payer coverage policies for ApoE-e4 genetic testing. Genet Med. 2021 04; 23(4):614-620.  View on PubMed
  15. Phillips KA, Douglas MP, Marshall DA. Expanding Use of Clinical Genome Sequencing and the Need for More Data on Implementation. JAMA. 2020 11 24; 324(20):2029-2030.  View on PubMed
  16. Douglas MP, Gray SW, Phillips KA. Private Payer and Medicare Coverage for Circulating Tumor DNA Testing: A Historical Analysis of Coverage Policies From 2015 to 2019. J Natl Compr Canc Netw. 2020 07; 18(7):866-872.  View on PubMed
  17. Phillips KA. Methods for Moving the Evaluation of Precision Medicine Into Practice and Policy. Value Health. 2020 05; 23(5):527-528.  View on PubMed
  18. Marshall DA, Grazziotin LR, Regier DA, Wordsworth S, Buchanan J, Phillips K, Ijzerman M. Addressing Challenges of Economic Evaluation in Precision Medicine Using Dynamic Simulation Modeling. Value Health. 2020 05; 23(5):566-573.  View on PubMed
  19. Deverka PA, Douglas MP, Phillips KA. Use of Real-World Evidence in US Payer Coverage Decision-Making for Next-Generation Sequencing-Based Tests: Challenges, Opportunities, and Potential Solutions. Value Health. 2020 05; 23(5):540-550.  View on PubMed
  20. Mackay ZP, Dukhovny D, Phillips KA, Beggs AH, Green RC, Parad RB, Christensen KD, BabySeq Project Team. Quantifying Downstream Healthcare Utilization in Studies of Genomic Testing. Value Health. 2020 05; 23(5):559-565.  View on PubMed

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