University of California San Francisco

Rachel Koch, MD

Assistant Professor of Surgery
Division of General Surgery


    After finishing her K-12 education, Dr. Koch moved to Illinois to attend Northwestern University, where she majored in Anthropology and International Studies and developed a passion for healthcare and social justice. She decided to stay in Chicago after earning her undergraduate degree and work at a clinic in the Lawndale neighborhood on the west side. Then she moved home to Baltimore for medical school at the University of Maryland, where she became interested in the care of critically injured and ill patients. Dr. Koch relocated to Nashville for her general surgery residency at Vanderbilt University; during this time, she also spent two years as a Paul Farmer Global Surgery Research Fellow with the Program in Global Surgery and Social Change at Harvard. Dr. Koch is currently finishing her training as a Surgical Critical Care and Acute Care Surgery Fellow at the University of Utah.

    Dr. Koch’s academic interests include implementation science and striving to improve care for underserved populations locally and globally. She aims to build capacity for surgical care by helping to train and mentor the next generation of surgeon leaders. Her international experience includes clinical work in Africa, developing academic partnerships in Colombia, Mexico, and Kenya, and participating in international working groups to develop and test metrics for measuring surgical systems. During her time with the PGSSC in Rwanda, she helped carry out a randomized controlled trial using community health workers to identify surgical site infections, taught nontechnical skills for surgery, and investigated financial risk protection for surgical patients there.