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Emily Finlayson, M.D., M.S., FACS

Emily Finlayson, M.D., M.S., FACS

Professor of Surgery, Medicine, and Health Policy
Vice Chair for Faculty Affairs and Development
Director, Center for Surgery in Older Adults
Department of Surgery

Contact Information

(415) 885-3606 Patients & Clinic
(415) 885-3625 Academic Office
emily.finlayson@ucsf.edu
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  • 1985-89 Yale University, New Haven, CT- B.A., Arts
  • 1990-93 Stanford University, Stanford, CA - Pre-Med
  • 1993-97 Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA - M.D.
  • 2000-02 Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover, NH - M.S.
  • 1997-2000  University of California, San Francisco - Intern, General Surgery
  • 2002-04  University of California, San Francisco - Resident, General Surgery
  • 2000-02 V.A. Outcomes Group, V.A. Medical Center, White River Junction, VT - Fellow, Surgical Outcomes Research
  • 2004-05 Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN - Fellow, Colon and Rectal Surgery
  • American Board of Surgery, 2005
  • American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery, 2006
  • Anal Cancer
  • Colitis
  • Colon Cancer
  • Constipation
  • Crohn's Disease
  • Diverticulitis
  • Fecal Incontinence
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Pelvic Floor Disorders
  • Presacral Tumors
  • Rectal Cancer
  • Ulcerative Colitis
  • Surgical outcomes in frail elderly patients

Emily Finlayson, M.D., M.S., FACS,  Professor of Surgery and Health Policy, Vice Chair of Faculty Affairs and Development and Director of the UCSF Center for Surgery in Older Adults (CSOA). Her clinical areas of expertise include colon and rectal cancer, ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, with a focus on minimally invasive surgical techniques.

After completing her medical degree at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Finlayson trained in general surgery at UCSF and in colon and rectal surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. In her post-doctorate training, she received a Master of Science from the Center for Evaluative Clinical Sciences at Dartmouth Medical School and completed a research fellowship with the VA Outcomes Group in White River Junction, Vermont.  She was on faculty at the University of Michigan Department of Surgery and the Michigan Surgical Collaborative for Outcomes Research and Evaluation until she returned to UCSF in 2009. Her current research is in population-based surgical outcomes with a focus on functional outcomes in the frail elderly.

Dr. Emily Finlayson is also Director of the Department of Surgery Faculty Mentoring Program, one that facilitates the development and implementation of robust career plans for incoming faculity. She is also  Co-Chair of the Data Registry Subcommittee for the The Coalition for Quality in Geriatric Surgery Project.

Dr. Finlayson's research focuses on using administrative data to examine ‘real world' surgical outcomes in the elderly. For example, in an analysis of operative mortality in 1.2 million Medicare beneficiaries age 65 and older undergoing elective diagnostic high-risk surgery, she found that the risk of death increased dramatically with age. Her work examining the impact of age and comorbidity on operative mortality and survival among octogenarians undergoing cancer surgery demonstrated population-based mortality rates in octogenarians that were considerably higher than those reported in published reports from case series or trials. To better understand surgical risks in elders, she has explored the role of institutional factors in surgical outcomes. As is now widely recognized, her work demonstrated that provider procedure volume is inversely related to operative mortality for many high-risk operations and that this association was greatest in elder surgical patients.

In Dr. Finlayson's most recent work, she uses a national nursing home registry to evaluate outcomes after surgery in long stay nursing home residents. She found that nursing home residents experienced high operative mortality for ‘low risk' procedures. After operations to remove the gallbladder or appendix, more that 1 out of 10 nursing home residents died after surgery. She has also used this data to evaluate survival and functional status after colon cancer surgery and found that nursing home residents experience substantial and sustained functional decline after surgery. One-year survival was less than 50%.

The findings in her epidemiology research inspired the creation of the UCSF Center for Surgery in Older Adults. Under her leadership, the interdisciplinary team of stakeholders from surgery, anesthesia, rehabilitation services, geriatrics, palliative care, nursing, education, and health policy with expertise in quantitative research, qualitative research, and implementation science are working together to develop, implement, evaluate best practices in geriatric surgery through the development of a geriatric surgery registry. Our overarching goal is to discover best practices in geriatric surgery through patient-centered outcomes assessment, comparative effectiveness analyses, and interventional trials. In addition, we identify and explore barriers to delivery of optimal care with the aim to improve implementation of interdisciplinary patient-centered surgical care for older adults at UCSF and beyond.

Most recent publications from a total of 84
  1. Schwarze ML, Buffington A, Tucholka JL, Hanlon B, Rathouz PJ, Marka N, Taylor LJ, Zimmermann CJ, Kata A, Baggett ND, Fox DA, Schmick AE, Berlin A, Glass NE, Mosenthal AC, Finlayson E, Cooper Z, Brasel KJ. Effectiveness of a Question Prompt List Intervention for Older Patients Considering Major Surgery: A Multisite Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Surg. 2019 Oct 30. View in PubMed
  2. Tang V, Finlayson E, Covinsky K. Including the Family in Perioperative Care of Older Adults-A Call for HELP. JAMA Intern Med. 2019 Oct 21. View in PubMed
  3. Kata A, Dutt M, Sudore RL, Finlayson E, Broering JM, Tang VL. What Matters? The Valued Life Activities of Older Adults Undergoing Elective Surgery. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2019 Aug 10. View in PubMed
  4. Suskind AM, Kowalik C, Quanstrom K, Boscardin J, Zhao S, Reynolds WS, Mishra K, Finlayson E. The impact of frailty on treatment for overactive bladder in older adults. Neurourol Urodyn. 2019 Sep; 38(7):1915-1923. View in PubMed
  5. Kaplan JA, Tang V, Finlayson E. How Did We Get Here? A Broader View of the Postoperative Period. Anesthesiol Clin. 2019 Sep; 37(3):411-422. View in PubMed
  6. Washington SL, Porten SP, Quanstrom K, Jin C, Bridge M, Finlayson E, Walter LC, Suskind AM. The Association Between Race and Frailty in Older Adults Presenting to a Nononcologic Urology Practice. Urology. 2019 05; 127:19-23. View in PubMed
  7. Hornor MA, Tang VL, Berian J, Robinson TN, Coleman J, Katlic MR, Rosenthal RA, Christensen K, Baker T, Finlayson E, Lagoo-Deenadaayalan SA, Ko CY, Russell MM. Optimizing the Feasibility and Scalability of a Geriatric Surgery Quality Improvement Initiative. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2019 May; 67(5):1074-1078. View in PubMed
  8. Seib CD, Finlayson E. Invasive Procedures to Improve Function in Frail Older Adults: Do Outcomes Justify the Intervention? JAMA Intern Med. 2019 Mar 01; 179(3):391-393. View in PubMed
  9. Whitlock EL, Finlayson E. Depth of Propofol Sedation and Postoperative Delirium: The Jury Is Still Out. JAMA Surg. 2018 11 01; 153(11):996. View in PubMed
  10. Kata A, Sudore R, Finlayson E, Broering JM, Ngo S, Tang VL. Increasing Advance Care Planning Using a Surgical Optimization Program for Older Adults. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2018 10; 66(10):2017-2021. View in PubMed
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