Community Health Systems

The Department of Community Health Systems promotes and sustains health in the community and workplace, with particular emphasis on culturally diverse and high-risk populations.

We're committed to improving health and health care for those served by community-based health care systems through educating culturally competent nurses, conducting research, and providing services in the community which address the health issues of those underserved by the traditional institution-based health care system.

Access the organizational chart for Community Health Systems.




To prepare students from culturally diverse backgrounds to assume leadership roles in nursing clinical practice, administration, teaching, and research

Specialty Areas

Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGPCNP)

Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioners (AGPCNPs) are advanced practice nurses who diagnose and manage common acute and chronic primary health care problems.

Advanced Public Health Nursing (APHN)

Provides a foundation for planning and evaluating community/public health programs; learning about community/public health concepts, health promotion, population-level interventions, grant writing, health care systems, leadership, and health policy; addressing health disparities of vulnerable and diverse populations; and practicing and consulting in diverse and multicultural settings.

Occupational & Environmental Health Nursing

Every year more than 4,500 U.S. workers die from fatal workplace injuries; over 3 million workers suffer work-related injuries and illnesses, and about one third of these workers lose work days.

Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Advanced practice psychiatric nurses provide primary mental health care to patients seeking mental health services in a wide range of settings.

CHS faculty research focuses on vulnerable populations and their communities as well as on health care systems and the workforce. Research conducted by CHS faculty aims to:

  • advance knowledge and theory through research

  • design and evaluate the organization, financing, and delivery of health care

  • generate and test innovative professional educational models

Faculty research contributes to our understanding of the effect of disease or conditions on vulnerable populations including:

  • homeless and disadvantaged people and communities

  • persons with psychiatric disorders and issues of trauma and abuse

  • high-risk infants and children

  • workers at risk for or living with injury or disability

  • individuals with chronic diseases like asthma, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and HIV

  • ethnic and immigrant minorities

Major studies have explored the effects of premature birth on infants and families, the impact of chronic illness and disability on health-related quality of life, the relationship of stigma on access to care. Other studies have examined the impact of community and patient interventions on outcomes (e.g. self-management of chronic illnesses, health promotion in severe mental illness, lifestyle health behaviors and risk reduction, strategies to manage infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS and TB, injury prevention, and drug and alcohol abuse).

Health systems research has focused on key issues such as patient safety, needs of the health care workforce, effectiveness of care delivery models, organizational factors and financial aspects of health care services.

Faculty Research Areas

Barbara J. Burgel

- For the past 10 years, my clinical practice and research program has focused on the occupational health and safety risks facing immigrant workers, including garment workers, hotel room cleaners, and taxi drivers, primarily in the area of psychosocial work factors and musculo-skeletal disorders.

Geraldine M. Collins-Bride

- I'm a national clinical expert in primary care of adults with developmental/mental health disabilities. Together with my colleague Dr. Linda Chafetz, we're innovators of nurse managed practice for mentally ill adults, Primary Care Outreach for Persons with Severe Mental Illness. I'm part of a research team to study health promotion for individuals with mental illness.

Linda Chafetz

- For the past 10 years, my program of research has focused on severe and persistent medical disorders with an emphasis on high risk groups in urban systems of care. These have included a clinical trial to improve general health status of mentally ill by adding a skills training intervention to basic primary care for a community dwelling sample. Current research concerns changes in the population receiving acute psychiatric services in community systems during the past decade and in the context of changes in the service delivery system.

Carol S. Dawson Rose

- My current program of research focuses on health and prevention issues of HIV infected individuals, with a special emphasis on quality of care for the urban poor and HIV positive drug users. Current projects include Positive Prevention in Mozambique and the Impact of a Computer-Assisted (Screening, Brief Intervention, Referral to Treatment) SBIRT Program in an HIV Care Setting. The purpose of the SBIRT study is to measure level of alcohol, tobacco and other substance use in an HIV primary care clinic setting.

Dana Drew Nord

- As an adult nurse practitioner since 2006 and over 20 years experience in occupational health medicine, my areas of interest and scholarship are: occupational health, impact of prevention and wellness programs; cardiovascular risk factors, sudden cardiac death, career firefighters, work demands, metabolic equivalents, and anaerobic threshold.

Mary Louise Fleming

- My program of research focuses on improving care and services for the aging population with an emphasis on leadership in nursing homes and long term care settings. Current studies involve an ethnographic study with nursing home Directors of Nursing and a before and after study exploring the effects of the changing built environment of Laguna Honda Hospital on resident (patient), family and staff satisfaction.

OiSaeng Hong

- My areas of interest include: Prevention of work-related injuries and diseases, specifically, prevention of hearing loss and other adverse health problems caused by chemical and noise exposure, through the development and implementation of effective behavioral interventions utilizing computer technology and mobile phones; occupational and environmental health education and training; occupational and environmental health disparities in vulnerable population (immigrant workers) and public safety workers (firefighters, police); community and worksite based participatory research.

Soo-Jeong Lee

- My area of research is occupational health, and I am interested in prevention measures of occupational injury and illness. I have conducted studies on risk perception and safe work behaviors, musculoskeletal disorders, pesticide exposure and illness, chemical exposure among hospital cleaning workers, and influenza vaccination among health care workers.

Bethany J. Phoenix

- My recent efforts have focused on the regulatory framework for advanced psychiatric nursing practice and workforce trends in the specialty. I have been a co-investigator in two nationwide surveys of boards of nursing to collect information about legislative and regulatory changes (titling, prescriptive authority, etc.) that impact advanced practice psychiatric nursing (APPN) and to identify state and nationwide trends for APPNs.

Carmen J. Portillo

- For the past 15 years my program of research has focused on HIV/AIDS with an emphasis on women, health disparities for people infected and affected, symptom management, adherence and stigma. Studies have included women with HIV/AIDS, adherence and stigma issues, and exploration of concepts such as self compassion in the role of adherence. I am currently Director of the Nursing Research Training Program on HIV/AIDS Care and Prevention; Co-Director of The International Center for HIV/AIDS Research & Clinical Training in Nursing, and I am I am active in the International Nursing Network for HIV/AIDS in the International Nursing Network for HIV/AIDS Research.

Sheila L. Proctor

- My areas of research are: Community health nursing, public health nursing, community-based participatory research (CBPR), social justice, public policy, mentoring, preceptor, community organizing, public health nursing theory, public health nursing activities and interventions, academic service partnerships, community partnerships, nursing standards, emergency preparedness, accelerated nursing programs, nursing leadership, photo-voice, and effective communication

Joanne Spetz

- My research focuses on the economics of health care, with an emphasis on the health care workforce. I have led national and state surveys of registered nurses and nursing schools, evaluations of programs to expand the supply of nurses, research on the effects of health information technologies in hospitals, studies of the relationship between nursing and patient outcomes, analysis of hospital services and organization, and assessments of the effects of minimum nurse staffing regulations on patients and hospitals.

Catherine Waters

- My program of research focuses on health promoting lifestyle interventions in collaboration with public and private community partnerships. I am specifically interested in research with ethnic minority populations and communities. The conceptual foci of my studies include social cognitive theory, socio-ecology, culture, community-based participatory research, diplomacy and democracy. Illness prevention foci include cancer, cardiovascular health, and type 2 diabetes. Study interventions focus on community-based physical activity, nutrition and health education enhanced with technology, interpretive pedagogy and storytelling.

Sandra J. Weiss

- I am the Robert C. & Delphine Wentland Eschbach Endowed Chair in Mental Health. My program of research focuses on the interaction between biological and psychological factors as they impact the mental health of children and adults. I am currently examining precursors of affective disorders in early childhood, including the ways in which genetic, neuro-endocrine, and autonomic nervous system vulnerabilities interact with adverse events such as stress or trauma during pregnancy and infancy. I am also studying the effects of harsh/painful, stimulating and comforting types of touch on stress reactivity, neuropsychological development, and mental health outcomes.

Research Activities

International Center for HIV/AIDS Research and Clinical Training in Nursing

The International Center for HIV/AIDS Research and Clinical Training in Nursing is an inter-departmental and multi-disciplinary effort, committed to research, education, and care of persons with HIV.

Located in and around San Francisco, our five faculty practices provide care and services for the neediest people in our community, those normally underserved by more mainstream health care systems, including the homeless and mentally ill. These practices also serve as vital educational placements for students to gain clinical experience in complex community environments.

What is Faculty Practice?

Faculty practice includes all aspects of the delivery of health care through the roles of clinician, educator, researcher, consultant, and administrator. Faculty practice activities encompass direct nursing services to individuals and groups as well as technical assistance and consultation to individuals, families, groups and communities. Student practica and residencies as well as research opportunities for faculty and students are established components of faculty practice.

A distinguishing characteristic of faculty practice within CHS and the School of Nursing is the belief that teaching, research, practice, and service must be closely integrated to achieve excellence. Faculty practice provides the vehicle through which faculty implement these missions.

CHS Faculty Practices include:

  • The nurse managed Primary Care Outreach for the Mentally Ill (PCOM) is a faculty practice in partnership with Progress Foundation providing primary care services to individuals with serious mental illness in community-based residential treatment programs.

  • The faculty practice at the UCSF Ambulatory Care Clinic in the Division of Internal Medicine provides full service primary care for adults with complex, multi-system medical problems.

  • The faculty practice at the UCSF Ambulatory Care Clinic Division of Pulmonary Medicine focuses on care of adult patients with lung diseases.

  • The faculty practice at the UCSF Positive Health Program serves HIV infected patients. The practice provides Primary HIV/AIDS Care, onsite specialty care, psychiatric care, case management, and care coordination, for patients that are low income and have multiple co-morbidities.

Community Health Systems