People

Headshot of Heather Klusaritz

Heather Klusaritz, MSW, PhD

  • Lecturer, MSW Program

  • Graduate, PhD in Social Welfare

PhD Graduate

May 2012

Dissertation Title: Health professionals training in the era of the patient protection and affordable care act (P.L. 111-148): Educating to meet workforce demands

Advisor: Dr. Joan Davitt

Heather Klusaritz, PhD, MSW is the Associate Director of the Center for Community and Population Health in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Klusaritz is also the Director of Community Engagement for UPenn’s Center for Public Health Initiatives, core faculty in the MPH program, and a Lecturer at the School of Social Policy and Practice. Dr. Klusaritz is trained clinically as a medical social worker and been engaged in care delivery at University of Pennsylvania Health System for over 15 years. Dr. Klusaritz’s research focus is at the intersection between healthcare and policy, specifically access to health care for marginalized populations and the design of health systems to eliminate disparities in health access and outcomes. Current research endeavors include the development and testing of inter-professional training models for healthcare professionals in transitions in care to ensure a workforce adequately prepared to practice in the post-Affordable Care Act (ACA) environment, the development of best practices in training models for integrated behavioural health in primary care, and the development and testing of an inter-professional intervention to reduce high-cost, high-utilization of the emergency department for patients with ambulatory care sensitive conditions. Dr. Klusaritz has significant teaching experience with MSW, MPH, and medical students as well as resident physician trainees in the areas of health disparities, social determinants of health inequities, health policy, and social welfare policy. Dr. Klusaritz works collaboratively with multiple community partners throughout West Philadelphia to improve the health of underserved communities and is the co-founder of a program that connects patients to critical social welfare benefits, helps navigate health system access, and engages in medical-legal advocacy.

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