Joan Davitt, PhD, MSS, MLSP

Associate Professor & Hartford Geriatric Social Work Faculty Scholar, University of Maryland School of Social Work

Joan Davitt, PhD, MSS, MLSP, is an Associate Professor & Hartford Geriatric Social Work Faculty Scholar at the School of Social Work, University of Maryland. She is also core faculty of the New Courtland Center for Transitions and Health at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. She completed the Master of Social Service and Master of Law and Social Policy as well as the Ph.D. in social work from Bryn Mawr College. She has over twenty years of experience developing and administering health and long term care services as a gerontological social worker, combining advocacy, policy, and organizing work with direct practice. Dr. Davitt has worked as a long term care ombudsman, as a health promotion advocate and care manager. She has also coordinated programs organizing around the prevention of elder abuse and neglect, providing affordable housing alternatives for older adults and developing training and educational programs for long term care workers. Her current research focuses on the intersection between policy and practice, and how these interdependent arenas affect access to and outcomes of community-based services/resources that enable older adults to age-in-place. Her research on Medicare home health care has uncovered racial disparities in both access to and outcomes of care; she continues to study the contributing factors to disparities in Medicare home health care with a goal of designing interventions to alleviate disparities. Dr. Davitt has received awards for her scholarship from the Gerontological Health section of the American Public Health Association and the Gerontological Society of America. Dr. Davitt has published numerous articles on health and long term care as well as the book, Current Practice in High-Tech Home Care, co-authored with Lenard Kaye, which was published in German. She has received research support from the Andrus Foundation, the Center for Community Based Engagement and Learning, University of Maryland, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the John A. Hartford Foundation, the National Institute of Aging, the University of Pennsylvania Research Foundation, the Penn Institute for Urban Research, and the Resource Centers for Minority Aging Research.