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Elizabeth Siantz - USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work. Los Angeles, CA, US

Elizabeth Siantz Elizabeth Siantz

Adjunct Lecturer | USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work


Elizabeth Siantz is an expert in the implementation of integrated mental health and primary care services.


ELIZABETH SIANTZ serves as an adjunct lecturer and teaches courses on research and evaluation, use of evidence-based practices in social work, and health care. Siantz is a health services researcher with expertise in the implementation of integrated mental health and primary care services and services delivered by peer mental health providers. Her methodological areas of focus include qualitative and mixed methodology and social network analysis. She has also conducted quantitatively focused studies that have included data from the California Health Interview Survey and administrative data from San Diego County. Recently she served as a project director for evaluations of integrated pilot programs in Los Angeles and San Bernardino Counties. Siantz holds a full-time position as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of California, San Diego (Division of Health Policy).

Education (3)

University of Southern California: Ph.D. 2016

Columbia School of Social Work: M.S.W. 2007

Indiana University: B.A. 2004

Areas of Expertise (4)

Social Network Analysis

Peer Mental Health Providers

Social Work

Integrated Mental Health and Primary Care Services

Industry Expertise (5)

Mental Health Care

Health Care - Providers


Health and Wellness

Health Care - Services


Research Articles & Publications (5)

Implementation of Peer Providers in Integrated Mental Health and Primary Care Settings Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research

Elizabeth Siantz, Benjamin Henwood, Todd Gilmer


Objective: Peer providers are essential to the delivery of recovery-oriented mental health services, but little is known about their roles in delivering integrated mental health and primary care services. This study examines how peer-based services are implemented in newly integrated behavioral health care settings in Los Angeles County, California.

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Contextual Factors in the Health of People With Serious Mental Illness Qualitative Health Research

Leopoldo J. Cabassa, Elizabeth Siantz, Andel Nicasio, Peter Guarnaccia, Roberto Lewis-Fernández


People living with serious mental illness (SMI) have shorter life expectancies than the general population. We examined how contextual factors influence the physical health of this population. We conducted interviews, focus groups, and participant observations with stakeholders from six behavioral health organizations. We found that consumers’ avoidance of overt disagreement during medical visits, their mistrust of medical institutions, and cultural variations in body image influenced the clinical encounter. Mental health providers’ ambivalence about intervening in consumers’ physical health, primary care providers’ misattribution of physical symptoms to mental disorders, and providers’ stigmatization of consumers shaped clinical encounters. Consumers’ diets were shaped by food environments and social norms associated with traditional diets. Internal and external factors impacted consumers’ physical activity. In this article, we illustrate the importance of considering contextual factors in the development and implementation of interventions aimed at improving the physical health of people with SMI.

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Chronic disease self-management interventions for adults with serious mental illness: a systematic review of the literature General Hospital Psychiatry

Elizabeth Siantz, María P. Aranda


While there is strong evidence in support of chronic disease self-management programs, much less is available with regard to individuals living with serious mental illness (SMI). The objectives of this review are to identify and appraise chronic disease self-management studies tested with samples of US adults living with SMI. We include an appraisal of methodological quality of the chronic disease self-management (CDSM) studies that met our final criteria.

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Reducing Health Disparities for People with Serious Mental Illness Best Practices in Mental Health,

Brekke, John S.; Siantz, Elizabeth; Pahwa, Rohini; Kelly, Erin; Tallen, Louise; Fulginiti, Anthony


People with serious mental illness die, on average, twenty-five years earlier than those in the population without a serious mental illness. This disparity is largely due to treatable medical conditions that remain unaddressed due to factors at the client, treatment, provider, clinic, and system levels of health and mental health service delivery. This article describes the development, initial implementation, and feasibility of the Bridge, a peer-staffed care linkage model situated in a mental health clinic that addresses barriers at multiple levels of service delivery by connecting clients to physical health services and developing client skills that result in self-management of health care. The Bridge was developed collaboratively with interventionists, clinic staff, and mental health peers and relies largely on an in vivo approach.

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Best Practices: Recovery Centers for People With a Mental Illness: an Emerging Best Practice? Psychiatric Services

Rob Whitley and Elizabeth Siantz


The authors report a process evaluation that used rigorous qualitative methods consistent with best practice to assess the development and impact of a nascent recovery center in the New York City area. The center successfully delivered services that focused on helping increasing numbers of consumers achieve educational and functional improvements. Consumers perceived the center as providing a strong sense of community while also serving as a “stepping stone” to wider opportunities. Because they offer a feasible and popular means to help individuals with mental illness acquire skills, recovery centers may be an emerging best practice. Further research is necessary to test their efficacy.

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