Leadership and Management Team



Joanne Spetz, PhD, UCSF, Principal Investigator. Joanne is a health economist with over 25 years of relevant research in healthcare workforce, labor economics, and health services research. She is Director of the UCSF Health Workforce Research Center for Long-Term Care (HWRC-LTC), which is funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and has generated groundbreaking research since its establishment in 2013. She is also the Director at IHPS, which has a 50-year history of policy-focused research aimed at advancing health equity, and also a Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine, Healthforce Center, and the School of Nursing.



Susan Chapman, PhD, MPH, RN, UCSF, Co-Investigator. Susan is a nurse-scientist who was a member of the Institute of Medicine’s Retooling the Workforce Committee. She is a Professor in the School of Nursing, IHPS, and Healthforce Center. She is Co-Director of the UCSF-HWRC. She has extensive expertise in mixed-methods evaluation research and program implementation, including serving as the evaluator of a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation pilot project to train home care aides to be full members of the healthcare team.  


Laura Wagner, PhD, RN, GNP, UCSF, Co-Investigator. Laura is a clinician-researcher who has led studies of the workforce caring for people living with dementia as well as of clinical dementia care topics. She is a Professor in the School of Nursing, IHPS, and Healthforce Center. Laura is the Associate Director for Research of the HWRC-LTC. As a health services researcher and geriatric nurse practitioner, Laura has extensive experience conducting workforce research among the direct care workforce in LTSS settings including survey research, focus groups, and linking these data with administrative datasets.


Kezia Scales, PhD, PHI, Co-Investigator. As the Vice President for Research & Evaluation for PHI, Kezia leads PHI’s strategy for building the evidence base on state and national policies and workforce interventions that improve direct care jobs, elevate this essential workforce, and strengthen care processes and outcomes. This role involves leading PHI’s program of workforce and policy research as well as overseeing the evaluation of PHI’s own field-leading interventions and initiatives. For nearly 15 years, Kezia has been studying and advocating for person-centered, high-quality long-term care with a focus on direct care workers and with a particular interest in dementia care, primarily using qualitative methods to generate insight into the complex interplay of policy and practice at the frontlines of care.



Bianca Frogner, PhD, University of Washington, Co-Investigator. Bianca is a Professor in the Department of Family Medicine in the School of Medicine at University of Washington (UW). She is a health economist (NIH T32 trainee) who has led groundbreaking research on the financial fragility of the direct care workforce. She has expertise in health services delivery, health workforce, labor economics, health spending, health insurance coverage and reimbursement, and international health systems. She is the Director of the UW Center for Health Workforce Studies (CHWS), which is supported by the same program as the HWRC-LTC and which focuses on the Allied Health Workforce and on Health Equity in Education and Training of the workforce.



Catherine Woodward Calder, Program Administrator. Cat has six years of experience as an executive assistant, office coordinator, and e-commerce manager. She has training and experience in general project coordination, as well as in website set-up and maintenance, online surveys, webinar planning and execution, and e-commerce. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a major in Information Systems from the University of Nevada, Reno.


Lei Chen

Lei Chen, PhD, UCSF, Postdoctoral Scholar. Lei is a trans-disciplinary and cross-cultural researcher whose research focuses on long-term services and supports, immigrants’ access to health care, technology for older adults and people with disabilities, aging and health policy, and cross-cultural studies. She applies both quantitative and qualitative methodologies to her research. Before joining UCSF, she worked on several research projects at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and collaborated with UCLA Human-Centered Computing and Intelligent Sensing Lab. Apart from being an academic, Lei actively engages in policy-related work at state and national levels (e.g., assisting in developing and implementing Master Plan for Aging in California). Lei received her PhD in Social Welfare from UCLA.


Kyoko Peterson, MPH, Research Assistant. Kyoko recently joined the Institute for Health Policy Studies as a Research Assistant. She has a background in local public policy and before joining UCSF, worked for the San Francisco Department on the Status of Women and the Minnesota Department of Health on injury and violence prevention. Kyoko received her MPH in Epidemiology & Biostatistics from UC Berkeley.