Kathleen Wilber, Ph.D.

Mary Pickford Foundation Professor of Gerontology; Professor of Health Services Administration


  • BA, Manhattanville College, 1970
  • MSW, USC, 1975
  • MPA, USC, 1975
  • Ph.D., USC, 1983


  1. Economic Security
  2. Protecting Vulnerable Elders
  3. Improving Health and Long Term Services and Support


Dr. Wilber’s research team focuses on improving health outcomes and quality of life for vulnerable elders, including those with chronic illness, disability, cognitive impairment, and/or economic insecurity by improving the design and delivery of LTSS. Her group’s current projects include: 1) evaluating the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of the Elder Abuse Forensic Center model, a multidisciplinary team that links health and social services with the justice system; 2) examining economic security indicators among diverse groups of older adults; 3) developing a universal assessment for the State of California’s in-home Medicaid services; and 4) determining how state, local market, and facility characteristics interact with individual characteristics to influence residents’ transitions from nursing facilities to community care. Some past research projects have evaluated wellness interventions among frail older adults, models of integrated health care, and the role of care management in reducing costs and improving outcomes.

Courses Taught

Gero 340 Policy Values, and Power in an Aging Society (4 units)  How Americans’ political values affect public policy. Studies of landmark legislation to explore the social contract between generations and role of governments in social welfare.

GERO 550 Administration and Systems Management in Programs for Older Adults (4 units)  Application of theories of administration and system management to public and volunteer programs and services for older adults including residential institutions and community programs.

PPD 601 Management of Long-Term Care Organizations (4, Fa) History, development, trends; major policy issues; organization of systems; principles and techniques of administration; management of institutional and community based programs. The purpose of this course is to acquaint students pursuing a career in health care management with the dynamic and increasingly important field of long term care. The course provides a comprehensive overview of programs, policies, and services and examines the issues, challenges and dilemmas confronting long term care management and others in the field of health services. (Duplicates credit in former PUAD 509.) Prerequisite: PPD 516x, PPD 545 or corequisite: ACCT 509, PPD 649, IOM 585.

GERO 645 Politics and Policy Processes in an Aging Society (4 units) Dynamics of the policy-making process in the context of aging policy in the United States; focus on the political system and its social dynamics.

Mailing Address: University of Southern California
Davis School of Gerontology
3715 McClintock Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0191

Office Location: GER 208H

Office Phone: (213) 740-1736

Fax: (213) 740-0792