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Stephanie Cheng


Palliative care physician
Dog lover and outdoor enthusiast

Dr. Stephanie Cheng is a palliative care specialist who provides supportive care for patients with terminal or life-altering illnesses. With a primary focus on managing symptoms for patients with cancer, she also facilitates group medical visits – which can help patients with chronic conditions improve their self-care skills – through the UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Health. She has a special interest in relieving symptoms and improving quality of life through a whole-person approach that considers each patient's physical, emotional, mental and spiritual needs.

Cheng co-created group medical visits that center on teaching patients integrative approaches to treat common cancer-related symptoms. She also co-leads group medical visits focused on self-compassion based on research-informed practices developed by the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion. A nature and forest therapy guide, she also facilitates virtual forest therapy walks, which are based on the Japanese practice of Shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing, and involve therapeutic immersion in nature.

Cheng has a long-standing meditation practice and has completed trainings in chaplaincy through the Sati Center for Buddhist Studies, mind-body techniques through the Center for Mind-Body Medicine, and awakening joy practices with meditation teacher James Baraz. She also completed a two-year program focused on illness, aging, death and compassionate action from a contemplative perspective through Spirit Rock Insight Meditation Center and Metta Institute.

After studying anthropology, Cheng earned her medical degree at Oregon Health & Science University. She completed a residency in family medicine at the Contra Costa Regional Medical Center (a UCSF affiliate), followed by a fellowship in hospice and palliative medicine, with a focus on integrative medicine, at the George Washington University.

Cheng is a member of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine and Academic Consortium for Integrative Medicine and Health. She is passionate about planetary health and serves as a faculty affiliate at the UCSF Center for Climate, Health and Equity.

Outside of work, Cheng enjoys spending time with her family and dog, as well as playing the harp.

  • Education

    Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine, 2012

  • Residencies

    Contra Costa Regional Medical Center, Family Medicine, 2015

  • Fellowships

    George Washington University School of Medicine, Hospice and Palliative Medicine, 2016

  • Board Certifications

    Hospice & Palliative Medicine, American Board of Family Medicine

    Family Medicine, American Board of Family Medicine

  • Academic Title

    Associate Professor

I am committed to improving my patients’ quality of life by caring for mind, body and spirit.

Where I see patients (2)

    My reviews


    Overall Experience
    49 Ratings
    About our process
    Oct 22, 2023
    Dr. Cheng always so patient and listen to my concerns and issues. She provided me with options and guidance so my pain level can be managed and bearable. I totally appreciate her expertise and knowledge in providing the care that I need.
    Sep 18, 2023
    Dr Cheng is personable empathetic caring and knowledgeable and always listens very carefullly to what I say.
    Aug 12, 2023
    Dr Cheng is simply super! Kind knowledgable relatable and compassionate. I would recommend her to anyone needing the care she provides.
    Aug 02, 2023
    Dr. Cheng is the best doctor I've ever known. I know that is a tall order but I needed to say that!
    Jul 08, 2023
    Dr Cheng is the best. Always cheerful positive empathetic knowledgeable and looking out for what Is best for me.
    Jun 09, 2023
    A lot of problems happened with loss of access to the medication I was taking that gave me enough energy to get things done. I am receiving medication that helps a little bit. We are waiting for the good medications to be back on the shelves.
    May 27, 2023
    Dr. Cheng patiently listened to all my issues and provided expert advices and options. I am so happy with Dr. Cheng for providing me such excellent and professional care to help my severe pain management.
    May 04, 2023
    I think my situation presents a very complicated scenario. I might be naive. I have been treated like a lying drug seeking criminal by my doctors in Shasta County. I have breast cancer that has spread to my bones. The pain is insurmountable. I don't think the doctors at UCSF are familiar with this level of medical abuse provided by my local doctors. This scenario might have surprised them and made it difficult to do their part of my care effectively. Dr. Cheng was excellent all around. The lack of care in Shasta County will make it difficult for her to effectively and completely care for me. I hope I'm explaining this clearly. In my experience the blocks arrive with the local doctors and the pharmacists. This will cause an impossible condition to treat my pain.
    Apr 13, 2023
    She is a great person and knows what I need to feel better. Fantastic doctor!
    Mar 01, 2023
    Dr. Cheng was so thorough in understanding my issues and providing professional advice and options on treatments. So patient and understanding.
    Feb 25, 2023
    Dr. Cheng is a good listener. She is compassionate and offered good advice.
    Jan 24, 2023
    I have said before Dr. Cheng is friendly and caring. She is an asset to the UCSF breast program.
    Oct 09, 2022
    Dr. Cheng is the most caring doctor I have ever met.

    My work

    Cancer patients face identity changes

    Throughout diagnosis and treatment, cancer patients are on a journey of self-rediscovery. Dr. Stephanie Cheng speaks to the post-traumatic growth that can also occur. (Washington Post subscription required.)

    The many benefits of meditation for older adults

    Meditation is an accessible way to improve overall health and potentially reduce medication use. Dr. Stephanie Cheng describes how she incorporates this practice into her patients' care plans.