Assistant Professor
Kathryn Surace-Smith Endowed Chair in Health Equity Research
Director, FHCRC/UW Medicine Population Health Colorectal Cancer Screening Program
Assistant Member, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center
Division of Gastroenterology

Faculty Information


Dr. Rachel Issaka is a Gastroenterologist, Assistant Professor, and the Kathryn Surace-Smith Endowed Chair in Health Equity Research at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (FHCRC) and the University of Washington (UW). She is the Director of the FHCRC/UW Medicine Population Health Colorectal Cancer Screening Program. Dr. Issaka’s research focuses on decreasing colorectal cancer mortality through increased screening in medically underserved populations. Her work has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. 

Dr. Issaka has contributed to national medical practice guidelines for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), and the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable (NCCRT). In 2020 she was selected to serve on an expert panel advising the President’s Cancer Panel and the COVID-19 Prevention Network, a group formed to provide oversight for National Institutes of Health funded COVID-19 vaccine trials.

Dr. Issaka completed her gastroenterology fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco where she also earned a master’s in clinical research. She completed her internal medicine residency at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, where she served as chief resident and obtained her medical degree from the University of Michigan Medical School. 

Board Certifications:

  • Gastroenterology, 2017, American Board of Internal Medicine

  • Internal Medicine, 2013, American Board of Internal Medicine

Education & Training: 
Fellowship in Gastroenterology
University of California, San Francisco
Teaching Appointment
Northwestern Memorial Hospital
Northwestern University Medical School
Northwestern University Medical School
Medical Education
University of Michigan School of Medicine
Research & Clinical Interests
Clinical Interests: 
  • Gastroenterology (Digestive)
  • Colorectal Cancer Prevention & Control
  • Population Health

For more information visit

  1. Issaka RB, Singh MH, Oshima S, Laleau V, Rachocki C, Chen E, Day LW, Sarkar U, Somsouk, M. Inadequate Utilization of Diagnostic Colonoscopy Following Abnormal FIT Results in an Integrated Safety-Net System. American Journal of Gastroenterology, 2017 Feb;112(2):375-382. doi: 10.1038/ajg.2016.555. Epub 2016 Dec 13. PMID: 28154400.
  2. Issaka RB, Avila P, Whitaker E, Bent S, Somsouk M. Population Health Interventions to Improve Colorectal Cancer Screening by Fecal Immunochemical Tests: A Systematic Review. Prev Med. 2019 Jan; 118:113-121. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2018.10.021. Epub 2018 Oct 24. PMID: 30367972.
  3. Issaka RB, Rachocki C, Huynh M, Chen E, Somsouk M. Standardized workflows improve colonoscopy follow-up after abnormal fecal immunochemical tests in a safety-net system. Digestive Diseases and Sciences. 2020 March. PMID: 32236885
  4. Issaka RB. Good For Us All. JAMA. 2020 July 9. doi: 10.1001/jama.2020.12630. PMID: 32644116
  5. Issaka RB, Taylor P, Baxi A, Inadomi JM, Ramsey SD, Roth JA. Model-based estimation of colorectal cancer screening and outcomes during the COVID-19 pandemic. JAMA Network Open. April 2021 PMID: 33843997
  6. Issaka RB, Bell-Brown A, Snyder C, Atkins DL; Chew L, Weiner BJ, Strate L, Inadomi JM, Ramsey SD. Perceptions on Barriers and Facilitators to Colonoscopy Completion after Abnormal Fecal Immunochemical Tests Results in a Safety-Net System. JAMA Network Open. August 2021. PMID: 34374771
  7. Bell-Brown A, Chew L, Weiner BJ, Strate L, Balmadrid B, Lewis C, Hannon P, Inadomi JM, Ramsey SD, Issaka RB. Operationalizing a Rideshare Program for Colorectal Cancer Screening: Barriers, Facilitators, and Processes Recommendations. Frontiers in Health Services. January 2022