Current Work in Healthcare Workforce and Education

Healthcare Workforce:

Joanne Spetz, PhD, is the Director of the UCSF Health Workforce Research Center on Long-Term Care (HWRC-LTC), which is supported through a cooperative agreement with the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Bureau of Health Workforce. The HWRC-LTC is finishing its ninth year of work and has been awarded another five years of support. Dr. Spetz’s research on the long-term care workforce has included studies of the demand for long-term care workersstaff turnover in home health agencies, racial and ethnic disparities in long-term nursing wages, and the composition of the palliative care workforce. Dr. Spetz also led a national summit to prioritize recommendations to ensure an adequate workforce to meet care needs for people with serious illness and an evaluation of San Francisco’s innovative Support At Home pilot program that provided vouchers for home care services to middle-income people living with disabilities. Dr. Spetz also conducts research on the nursing workforce, including leading biennial surveys of California’s registered nurses since 2006.

Ulli Muench, MSN PhD is currently examining the contributions of primary care and specialty care physicians and Advanced Practice Registered Nurses, in a number of different settings and populations. In a recent report funded by HRSA under the Health Workforce Research Center on Long-Term care, she and colleagues investigated prescribing patterns of psychiatric and pain medications in nursing home residents living with dementia by clinician specialty and provider type. In another study also funded by HRSA under the Health Workforce Research Center on Long-Term care, she examined psychiatric prescribing in Medicare beneficiaries with serious mental illness in rural and urban areas (under review). Both studies document the extensive involvement of primary care providers in providing complex psychiatric medications. Together with IHPS-affliliated faculty, Taressa Fraze, PhD, she recently discussed challenges of behavioral health delivery and the important roles of psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners (PMHNPs) in providing population mental health in a JAMA Network Open commentary.

Janet Coffman, PhD, MPP, MS, has engaged in health workforce research for over 25 years. She credits her interest in this topic to her work for the U.S. Senate Veterans Affairs Committee early in her career. The first bill she worked on for the committee changed the VA’s pay scale for nurses to account for local labor market conditions. Much of her work concerns the supply, geographic distribution, and employment and demographic characteristics of the primary care workforce and the behavioral health workforce. Her work also addresses the impact of changes in public policy on the workforce. Her recent publications include an article on the lack of racial/ethnic diversity in the addiction medicine workforce and an article on the implications of a new California law that mandates screening for adverse childhood events (ACEs) for primary care practices. Current projects include studies on pre-medical advising resources at California colleges and universities, California’s paramedic and emergency medical technician workforce, and the roles of middle skill workers (i.e., workers with some education post high school but less than a bachelor’s degree) in organizations that provide behavioral health services.

Susan Chapman, RN, PhD, FAAN and Jacqueline Miller have studied the community health worker/promotor (CHW/P) profession for the past six years. CHW/Ps provide important linkages between community members and clinical services, serve as trusted individuals, and advocate on behalf of communities regarding issues related to social determinants of health and social justice. The CHW/P role has evolved to encompass both professional and volunteer positions in a variety of clinical and community settings. CHW/Ps have gained increasing importance as a workforce that is critical to addressing social determinants of health and health equity for populations with high needs that have been historically underserved. In 2019, the California Future Health Workforce Commission recommended scaling the engagement of CHW/P workforce. 

Most recently, Dr. Chapman and Ms. Miller have partnered with the Monterey County Workforce Development Board (MCWDB) to provide comprehensive CHW/P training at no cost to training participants via Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act funds from the Department of Labor. They engaged community hospitals and clinics as partners to employ incombent workers and new trainees in CHW positions. UCSF evaluated the training program and found that nearly all participants felt satisfied with the training, better prepared to perform the role of a CHW/P, and supported by their instructors. Using the same model, the MCWDB plans to train another cohort of participants in early 2023.

Elizabeth (Beth) Mertz, PhD, MA, is a professor at the University of California, San Francisco, School of Dentistry and associate director for research at Healthforce Center. Dr. Mertz’s research encompasses a broad range of health care workforce focused studies, in addition to health policy and health services research topics across all health professions and occupations. Healthforce Center has been on the forefront of this work for over two decades with faculty. Beth has researched, published and lectured on a broad range of health professions workforce policy and analysis issues including; supply and demand of providers, health care regulation, state and federal workforce policy, access to care, and evolving professional practice models


Beth Griffiths, MD, MPH is an internal medicine physician who provides primary care to adults and teaches heath policy, advocacy, and community engagement and collaborates with researchers to translate their work into policy change. She serves as Co-Associate Director of Training and of Policy Programs at IHPS. In her Co-Associate Director of Training role, she serves as course director for the School of Medicine health policy elective, advisor to the medical student Health Policy Interest Group, as the UCSF lead for the Kaiser Family Foundation Fellowship for medical students, and teaches the course Translating Evidence into Policy for researchers and trainees looking to impact policy. In addition, she serves as Director of Health Care Advocacy for the Division of General Internal Medicine (DGIM) and teaches policy advocacy and community engagement to internal medicine residents in both internal medicine primary care tracks and the Health Equity and Advocacy Pathway.

Christina Mangurian, MD, MAS leads a public psychiatric fellowship at UCSF. The fellowhsip is one of the first and largest public psychiatry fellowship program west of the Mississippi. The fellowship is made possible with financial support from the San Francisco Department of Public Health. The program was profiled recently here.