Miriam Cisternas, MA 


Miriam Cisternas, MA

Senior Researcher

Central Nervous System and Behavioral Health


Miriam Cisternas joined Optum in 2018. She implements and manages all components of research projects, including study design, analysis and results dissemination for retrospective studies of health outcomes.

Cisternas has 30 years of experience researching the epidemiology and cost of chronic disease. This includes more than 15 years' support to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Arthritis Program, where she served as co-PI and principal analyst on several studies.

Cisternas has also analyzed clinical trial data for lupus treatments and served as the epidemiologist and analyst for the California Lupus Surveillance Project.  Earlier in her career, she managed longitudinal panels of chronic disease patients.

She also taught SAS at the University of California, Berkeley, Extension Division and has authored or co-authored over 30 peer-reviewed journal articles. Cisternas received her Master of Arts degree from the University of California at Los Angeles.


Published work

Dall'Era M, Cisternas MG, Snipes K, Herrinton LJ, Gordon C, Helmick CG. The Incidence and Prevalence of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus in San Francisco County, California: The California Lupus Surveillance Project. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2017 Oct;69(10):1996-2005.

Cisternas MG, Murphy L, Sacks JJ, Solomon DH, Pasta DJ, Helmick CG. Alternative Methods for Defining Osteoarthritis and the Impact on Estimating Prevalence in a US Population-Based Survey. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2016 May;68(5):574-80.

Dall'Era M, Cisternas MG, Smilek DE, et al. Predictors of long-term renal outcome in Lupus Nephritis Trials: Lessons learned from the Euro-Lupus Nephritis Cohort. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2015 May;67(5):1305-13.

Cisternas MG, Yelin E, Katz JN, Solomon DH, Wright EA, Losina E. Ambulatory visit utilization in a national, population-based sample of adults with osteoarthritis. Arthritis Rheum. 2009 Dec 15;61(12):1694-703.

Cisternas MG, Murphy LB, Yelin EH, Foreman AJ, Pasta DJ, Helmick CG. Trends in medical care expenditures of US adults with arthritis and other rheumatic conditions 1997 to 2005. J Rheumatol. 2009 Nov;36(11):2531-8.


HEOR, Health Economics Outcomes Research, Health Economics, CNS, Central Nervous System, Behavioral Health