About Lisa Shives M.D.

About Lisa Shives M.D.


I started medical school at the age of 32. Why did I decide on a career as a doctor 5-10 years later than the average student? Medicine was not an obvious choice for someone with my educational and cultural interests. As an undergraduate at UC San Diego, I studied history, literature and philosophy. I lived in France, England and Germany in my early-to-mid-twenties, studying languages and preparing myself to be a professor and (my secret aspiration) a poet. The problem was, I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to study because my interests ranged over most of the fields in the humanities and social sciences. Therefore, I gravitated toward a renowned interdisciplinary program at the University of Chicago called The Committee on Social Thought. I completed two years, but I felt lost due to the limitless horizons that the program offered. I also had gone through the death of a loved one who died at a young age and that haunted me and made me want to face death and disease and suffering head on and not spend a life denying it or trying to ignore it. For the perennial student that I was, Medical School seemed to be the natural choice.

I trained in Internal Medicine and worked as a Hospitalist for a year and then worked in Hospice Medicine on and off for 3 years. Finally, I did a fellowship in Sleep Medicine and have focused on that, along with Lifestyle Medicine and Obesity Medicine, for 15 years. In a strange turn, I came into medicine to focus on death and suffering, but ended up in a field that is not life and death, but does give me the opportunity to help people improve their quality of life immensely, and allows me to help patients whose suffering is not always recognized by other physicians.

Patients often tell me that I don’t act like the typical doctor. Since being a physician is a calling that came to me later in life, it is not at the core of my identity. However, the experience of working with patients is at the core of my professional fulfillment and at the core of my interest in and understanding of mindfulness. I realized several years ago, that one of the few times in the day that I actually lived in the present was when I was talking to a patient. And living in the present, even for a short time each day, energizes me and at the same time gives me a greater ability to stay calm and focused. So many of my patients are searching for the same experience.


  • Medical School: University of Chicago. Graduated 1999
  • Internship: Yale University. Completed 2000
  • Residency in Internal Medicine: Northwestern University. Completed 2002.
  • Fellowship in Biomedical Ethics: University of Chicago. Completed 2003.
  • Fellowship in Sleep Medicine: University of Chicago. Completed 2005.


  • 2003-2004: Evanston Northwestern Healthcare, Evanston, IL: Attending Physician: Internal Medicine Hospitalist
  • 2005-2007: Horizon Hospice, Chicago, IL: Attending Physician
  • 2007-2014: Northshore Sleep Medicine, Evanston/Skokie IL: Founder and Medical Director
  • 2014-2015: UC San Diego Sleep Center, San Diego, CA: Medical Director
  • 2015-2020: UC San Diego Sleep Center, San Diego, CA: Associate Clinical Professor

Committee Service and Professional Societies

  • From 2011 to 2016, I was a board member of the National Sleep Foundation
  • From 2008 to 2010, I was an official spokesperson for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine
  • I am a member of numerous professional societies including: American Academy of Sleep Medicine, The National Sleep Foundation, The World Association of Sleep Medicine, The Society of Behavioral Sleep Medicine, The American Society for Bioethics and Humanities, The Obesity Society.


  • ACP (American College of Physicians)
  • AASM (American Academy of Sleep Medicine)
  • SBSM (Society of Behavioral Sleep Medicine)
  • TOS (The Obesity Society)
  • ASBH (American Society for Bioethics + Humanities

Curriculum Vitae