Dr. Sam Saenz was born in the Bay Area and received his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Stanford University. He completed his medical degree at UC Irvine’s Program in Medical Education for the Latino Community, and he also obtained a Master’s in Public Health from UC Berkeley. After serving as chief psychiatry resident during his psychiatry residency at Stanford, he completed a fellowship in public psychiatry at UC San Francisco. His professional interests include fostering the next generation of diverse mental health providers as well as advancing justice, equity, and inclusion (JEDI) work in academic medicine.

Clinical Focus

  • Psychiatry

Academic Appointments

  • Clinical Assistant Professor, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Honors & Awards

  • Inductee, Gold Humanism Honor Society (2016)
  • Minority Mentorship Fellowship, American Psychiatric Association (2014)
  • Inductee, Psi Chi (2010)

Professional Education

  • Fellowship: UCSF Dept of Psychiatry CA
  • Board Certification: American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, Psychiatry (2022)
  • Residency: Stanford University Adult Psychiatry Residency (2022) CA
  • Medical Education: UC Irvine School of Medicine (2018) CA
  • MD, University of California, Irvine, Medicine (2018)
  • MPH, University of California, Berkeley, Public Health (2017)
  • BA, Stanford University, Psychology (2011)

All Publications

  • Words Matter: An Antibias Workshop for Health Care Professionals to Reduce Stigmatizing Language. MedEdPORTAL : the journal of teaching and learning resources Raney, J., Pal, R., Lee, T., Saenz, S. R., Bhushan, D., Leahy, P., Johnson, C., Kapphahn, C., Gisondi, M. A., Hoang, K. 2021; 17: 11115


    Introduction: Biased language influences health care providers' perceptions of patients, impacts their clinical care, and prevents vulnerable populations from seeking treatment. Training clinicians to systematically replace biased verbal and written language is an essential step to providing equitable care.Methods: We designed and implemented an interactive workshop to teach health care professionals a framework to identify and replace stigmatizing language in clinical practice. The workshop included a reflective exercise, role-play, brief didactic session, and case-based discussion. We developed the program for a broad target audience of providers and initially delivered it at three academic conferences. We used descriptive statistics to analyze Likert-style items on course evaluations and identified themes in open-text responses.Results: A total of 66 participants completed course evaluations; most believed the workshop met its objectives (4.8 out of 5.0) and strongly agreed that they would apply skills learned (4.8). Participants planned to incorporate reflection into their verbal and written language. Potential barriers to applying course content included perceived difficulty in changing entrenched practice habits, burnout, and fatigue. Suggestions for improvement included more time for group discussions and strategies to teach skills to colleagues.Discussion: Participants found the course material highly engaging and relevant to their clinical practice. Learners left the workshop feeling motivated to engage in more mindful word choice and to share key concepts with their colleagues.

    View details for DOI 10.15766/mep_2374-8265.11115

    View details for PubMedID 33768147

  • From Diversity and Inclusion to Antiracism in Medical Training Institutions. Academic medicine : journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges Argueza, B. R., Saenz, S. R., McBride, D. 2021


    The glaring racial inequities in the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the devastating loss of Black lives at the hands of police and racist vigilantes have catalyzed a global reckoning about deeply rooted systemic racism in society. Many medical training institutions in the United States have participated in this discourse by denouncing racism, expressing solidarity with people of color, and re-examining their diversity and inclusion efforts. Yet, the stagnant progress in recruiting, retaining, and supporting racial/ethnic minority trainees and faculty at medical training institutions is well-documented and reflects unaddressed systemic racism along the academic pipeline. In this article, the authors draw upon their experiences as early-career physicians of color who have led and supported antiracism efforts within their institutions to highlight key barriers to achieving meaningful progress. They describe common pitfalls of diversity and inclusion initiatives and call for an antiracist approach to systems change. The authors then offer 9 recommendations that medical training institutions can implement to critically examine and address racist structures within their organizations to actualize racial equity and justice.

    View details for DOI 10.1097/ACM.0000000000004017

    View details for PubMedID 33637659

  • Sexuality and Gender in Psychiatry: Ethical and Clinical Issues. Focus (American Psychiatric Publishing) Saenz, S. R. 2020; 18 (3): 304–6

    View details for DOI 10.1176/appi.focus.20200019

    View details for PubMedID 33162869

  • Diverse Patient Populations in Psychiatry: Ethical and Clinical Issues. Focus (American Psychiatric Publishing) Saenz, S. R. 2020; 18 (1): 52–54

    View details for DOI 10.1176/appi.focus.20190040

    View details for PubMedID 32047399

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC7011225