Joanne Spetz, PhD, Appointed Director of the Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies (IHPS)

October 12, 2020 | By UCSF School of Medicine

Dr. Joanne SpetzWe are pleased to announce the appointment of Joanne Spetz, PhD, as the new director of the Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies (IHPS), effective November 1, 2020. She will also be appointed as the Caldwell B. Esselstyn Chair and will be the inaugural holder of the Claire D. and Ralph G. Brindis Endowed Professorship. 

Dr. Spetz joined the faculty at UCSF in 1999 and is the Brenda and Jeffrey L. Kang Presidential Chair in Healthcare Finance at the IHPS. She most recently served as the Associate Director for Research at IHPS and at Healthforce Center at UCSF, and holds faculty appointments in the Department of Family and Community Medicine and in the School of Nursing. 

Dr. Spetz received her PhD in economics from Stanford University after studying economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, specializing in the economics of the health care workforce, and the organization and quality of health care services. She has conducted studies of the registered nurse, nurse practitioner, and long-term care workforces and has conducted surveys for the California Board of Registered Nursing for more than a decade. She also has led research on the effects of health information technology on staff and patients, and policies that affect use of and treatment for illicit drugs.

Over the past decade, Dr. Spetz has played a role in the leadership of the Healthforce Center and in committee service at IHPS, with a focus on building research collaborations for both organizations. Bringing together core faculty, she led a process to improve collaboration, strategically pursue grants, and grow research capacity. 

In addition to her focused research, Dr. Spetz has taken on extensive mentoring and teaching responsibilities in the areas of health economics, quantitative research methods, health care financial management, and health economics. Her teaching spans three interdisciplinary programs: the Master’s in Translational Medicine (MTM) program, which is a joint program of UCSF and UC-Berkeley’s Bioengineering departments, the online MS in Health Administration and Interprofessional Leadership (MS-HAIL), and the MS in Health Policy and Law programs. She serves on the dissertation committees of nursing and public health students at UCSF, UC- Berkeley, and UC-Davis. 

Dr. Spetz was a member of the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Consideration of Generational Issues in Workforce Management and Employment Practices, the Institute of Medicine Standing Committee on Credentialing Research in Nursing, a consultant to the Institute of Medicine Committee on the Future of Nursing, and a member of the National Commission on VA Nursing. She is an honorary fellow of the American Academy of Nursing. 

We are confident that Dr. Spetz’ commitment to serving California’s diverse population, in conjunction with her extensive experiences in leadership, research, and teaching, will be an asset in advancing the IHPS mission of translating research across disciplines and fields to inform health policy.

We want to express our deep appreciation to Claire Brindis, DrPH, who stepped down in July after 14 years as director of the IHPS (including 3 years as acting/interim director). We extend our gratitude also to Daniel Dohan, PhD, who has served in an interim capacity since that time. 

We would also like to thank the search committee, chaired by Louise Walter, MD, for their work in considering an exceptional pool of candidates from across the country for this position.