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Joanne Spetz

University of California, San Francisco

Joanne Spetz

Joanne Spetz is Director and Brenda and Jeffrey L. Kang Presidential Chair in Health Care Financing at the Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies (IHPS), University of California San Francisco. IHPS is a 50-year-old research unit that conducts innovative research to support, guide, and enable policymakers, communities, and clinicians in making evidence-informed decisions that improve health and health care for individuals and families.

Dr. Spetz’s research focuses on the economics of the health care workforce, organization of health care services, and quality of health care. She directs the federally funded UCSF Health Workforce Research Center on Long-Term Care, which generates evidence to ensure an adequate workforce to provide patient-centered care to individuals with long-term care needs across the lifespan. She is an internationally known expert on the nursing workforce, leading studies of nurse supply, demand, education, earnings, and contributions to the quality of care across healthcare settings.

Dr. Spetz has expertise in the analysis of large secondary datasets, mixed-methods evaluation research, survey research, and econometric analysis. She teaches health economics and finance in the UCSF-UC Berkeley Master’s in Translational Medicine program.

Dr. Spetz is an Honorary Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing. She received a Mentorship Award from the Interdisciplinary Research Group on Nursing Issues of AcademyHealth. She was a member of the National Academies of Science Engineering and Medicine Committee on Consideration of Generational Issues in Workforce Management and Employment Practices and the Institute of Medicine Standing Committee on Credentialing Research in Nursing. She serves on the Editorial Boards of Medical Care Research and Review and Health Services Research. She frequently provides testimony and technical assistance to state and federal agencies and policymakers. Dr. Spetz received her Ph.D. in economics from Stanford University after studying economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Countries United States;
Topics Care inequalities; Care integration/ coordination; Community-based LTC; End-of-life care and LTC; Evaluation of LTC systems and services; Financing LTC; Healthcare access in LTC; LTC Policy; LTC Workforce; New models of care; Residential LTC services; Survey measures; Unpaid / informal care;
Methods Causal inference in Long-Term Care; Comparative policy analysis; Economic evaluation; Literature reviews and synthesis; Mixed methods; Quantitative data analysis; Surveys;
Role Research;
Research interests

Health care workforce

Nursing workforce

Long-term care

Substance use disorder treatment

Evaluation research

Key publications
  • Wagner LM, Van Haitsma K, Kolanowski A, Spetz J; Recommendations to Deliver Person-Centered Long-Term Care for Persons Living With Dementia.; Journal of the American Medical Directors Association; 2021
  • Fraher EP, Pittman P, Frogner BK, Spetz J, Moore J, Beck AJ, Armstrong D, Buerhaus PI; Ensuring and Sustaining a Pandemic Workforce.; The New England journal of medicine; 2020
  • Frogner BK, Fraher EP, Spetz J, Pittman P, Moore J, Beck AJ, Armstrong D, Buerhaus PI; Modernizing Scope-of-Practice Regulations – Time to Prioritize Patients.; The New England journal of medicine; 2020
  • Spetz J, Toretsky C, Chapman S, Phoenix B, Tierney M; Nurse Practitioner and Physician Assistant Waivers to Prescribe Buprenorphine and State Scope of Practice Restrictions.; JAMA; 2019
  • Xue Y, Smith JA, Spetz J; Primary Care Nurse Practitioners and Physicians in Low-Income and Rural Areas, 2010-2016.; JAMA; 2019
  • Spetz J, Dudley N; Consensus-Based Recommendations for an Adequate Workforce to Care for People with Serious Illness.; Journal of the American Geriatrics Society; 2019
  • Spetz J, Stone RI, Chapman SA, Bryant N; Home And Community-Based Workforce For Patients With Serious Illness Requires Support To Meet Growing Needs.; Health affairs (Project Hope); 2019
  • Spetz J, Dudley N, Trupin L, Rogers M, Meier DE, Dumanovsky T; Few Hospital Palliative Care Programs Meet National Staffing Recommendations.; Health affairs (Project Hope); 2016
  • Parente ST, Feldman R, Spetz J, Dowd B, Baggett EE; Wage Growth for the Health Care Workforce: Projecting the Affordable Care Act Impact.; Health services research; 2016
  • Chapman SA, Spetz J, Lin J, Chan K, Schmidt LA; Capturing Heterogeneity in Medical Marijuana Policies: A Taxonomy of Regulatory Regimes Across the United States.; Substance use & misuse; 2016
  • Spetz J, Trupin L, Bates T, Coffman JM; Future Demand For Long-Term Care Workers Will Be Influenced By Demographic And Utilization Changes.; Health affairs (Project Hope); 2015
  • Spetz J, Burgess JF, Phibbs CS; The effect of health information technology implementation in Veterans Health Administration hospitals on patient outcomes.; Healthcare (Amsterdam, Netherlands); 2014