Dr. Cynthia Tsai, MD, is a board certified internal medicine physician who practices at Stanford Primary Care in Los Altos. She also serves as a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine at Stanford within the Division of Primary Care and Population Health. She completed medical school at the University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine, and she completed residency training in internal medicine and primary care in the UCSF Primary Care/General Internal Medicine (UCPC-GIM) track of the Internal Medicine residency program. A Bay Area native, she is eager to provide primary care for a complex patient panel here in the Bay Area. Her clinical interests include preventative healthcare, the care of older adults, addiction medicine, and behavioral medicine. She grew up in a bicultural and bilingual home and is fluent in Mandarin Chinese, and she provides language concordant care to Mandarin speaking patients. Outside of patient care, she has interests in ambulatory medical education and the cultivation of early trainee interest in primary care. She also has strong interest in the medical humanities and narrative medicine, and has published personal perspective pieces in publications such as JAMA and the San Francisco Chronicle.

Clinical Focus

  • Internal Medicine
  • Primary Care Physician

Academic Appointments

Honors & Awards

  • Phi Beta Kappa, Harvard College (2013)
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Champion, University of California, San Francisco (2019)
  • Alanna McKelvey Stone Compassion Award, University of California, San Francisco - Department of Medicine (2021)

Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations

  • Member, American College of Physicians (2019 - Present)
  • Member, Society of General Internal Medicine (2020 - Present)
  • Member, American Medical Association (2021 - Present)

Professional Education

  • Board Certification: American Board of Internal Medicine, Internal Medicine (2021)
  • A.B., Harvard College, Psychology (2013)
  • Medical Education: University of California at San Francisco School of Medicine (2018) CA
  • Residency: UCSF Graduate Medical Education Office (2021) CA

All Publications

  • Personal Risk and Societal Obligation Amidst COVID-19. JAMA Tsai, C. 2020; 323 (16): 1555-1556

    View details for DOI 10.1001/jama.2020.5450

    View details for PubMedID 32242889

  • The Vaccinated and the Anxious: Lessons from the Pandemic Tsai, C. 2020
  • Humanity toward a struggling man and his canine companion Tsai, C. San Francisco Chronicle. San Francisco, CA. 2020
  • Surprises and Expectations: On Patient Loss in Medicine Tsai, C. Doximity Network. 2020
  • Effects of emotionally valenced working memory taxation on negative memories JOURNAL OF BEHAVIOR THERAPY AND EXPERIMENTAL PSYCHIATRY Tsai, C., McNally, R. J. 2014; 45 (1): 15-19


    Memories enter a labile state during recollection. Thus, memory changes that occur during recollection can affect future instances of its activation. Having subjects perform a secondary task that taxes working memory while they recall a negative emotional memory often reduces its vividness and emotional intensity during subsequent recollections. However, researchers have not manipulated the emotional valence of the secondary task itself.Subjects viewed a video depicting the aftermath of three fatal road traffic accidents, establishing the same negative emotional memory for all subjects. We then tested their memory for the video after randomly assigning them to no secondary task or a delayed match-to-sample secondary task involving photographs of positive, negative, or neutral emotional valence.The positive secondary task reduced memory for details about the video, whereas negative and neutral tasks did not.We did not assess the vividness and emotionality of the subjects' memory of the video.Having subjects recall a stressful experience while performing a positively valent secondary task can decrement details of the memory and perhaps its emotionality.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jbtep.2013.07.004

    View details for Web of Science ID 000327918400003

    View details for PubMedID 23906510

  • Attention bias modification for reducing speech anxiety BEHAVIOUR RESEARCH AND THERAPY McNally, R. J., Enock, P. M., Tsai, C., Tousian, M. 2013; 51 (12): 882-888


    The mechanisms mediating the anxiolytic effects of attention bias modification (ABM) remain unclear. Accordingly, we randomly assigned speech-anxious subjects to receive four sessions of one of three training conditions: ABM, inverse ABM, and control. In the ABM condition, subjects viewed pairs of photographs of models displaying facial expressions of disgust and joy on a computer screen. Probes always replaced the positive face, and subjects pushed a button to indicate the identity of the probe (E or F) as rapidly as possible. In the inverse condition, the probes always replaced the negative face, and in the control condition, the probes replaced each face type equally often. After four training sessions, all groups exhibited statistically indistinguishable, but significant, reductions on self-report, behavioral, and physiological measures of speech anxiety. Self-report and behavioral measures of attentional control improved likewise. Contrary to early studies, ABM was not superior to control procedures in producing reductions on measures of social anxiety.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.brat.2013.10.001

    View details for Web of Science ID 000328719400013

    View details for PubMedID 24211339