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Karra Bikson - USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work. Los Angeles, CA, US

Karra Bikson Karra Bikson

Clinical Associate Professor of Social Work Dept. of Adult Mental Health and Wellness | USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work


Dr. Bikson is an expert in health policy, grief and bereavement, gerontology, human behavior, and social welfare policy.


Dr. Bikson is a clinical associate professor in the Virtual Academic Center where she is co-chair of the Health concentration. Bikson’s career integrates social work education, practice and research, with an emphasis in health care and gerontology. She has taught in the areas of health policy, grief and bereavement, death and dying, gerontology, human behavior in the social environment, and social welfare policy and history. Bikson’s clinical work primarily has been in the area of palliative care, hospice and emergency department practice. Her research interests have multiple focuses, including innovation diffusion, organizational change, interdisciplinary team service technology, primarily employing case study and qualitative research methodologies. Bikson’s current research centers on palliative care as an innovative interdisciplinary team technology.

Education (4)

University of California: PhD, Social Welfare 2007

University of California: MSW, Social Work 2000

San Francisco State University: MA, Gerontology 1997

University of California: BA, Psychology 1986

Areas of Expertise (9)

Social Welfare Policy Human Behavior Grief and Bereavement Gerontology Social Work Social Work Education Health Policy Death and Dying Hospice and Palliative Care

Industry Expertise (2)

Research Education/Learning

Accomplishments (3)

Young Investigators Award (professional)

American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine

Paper Award, (professional)

American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM)

Scholarship Award (professional)

College of Palliative Care, AAHPM Annual Assembly

Affiliations (5)

  • American Society on Aging (ASA)
  • Gerontological Society of America (GSA)
  • National Association of Social Workers (NASW)
  • Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI)
  • Society for Social Work & Research (SSWR)


Articles & Publications (1)

Psychosocial problems in primary care: Patient and provider perceptions Social Work in Health Care

Bikson, K., McGuire, J., Blue-Howells, J., & Seldin-Sommer, L.

Primary care physicians and clinics have become the frontline of health care for most Americans—they are the first point of contact and the source of both treatment and referrals. Psychosocial problems, such as difficulty with finances, family, housing, and work, are associated with a high demand for medical care in primary care practice, yet little is known about the prevalence of psychosocial problems in primary care settings. The purpose of this study is to assess the type and level of psychosocial problems in primary care patients by examining patient and provider perceptions at the Veterans Affairs Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System (VAGLAHS). A purposive sample of 684 veterans and a convenience sample of 59 providers anonymously completed the Social Needs Checklist. Patients reported an average of five psychosocial problems, with finances, personal stress, transportation, employment, and legal issues being the most prevalent. Thirty-two percent of patients indicated a desire to see a social worker. Provider and patient differences were compared. Provider estimates of patients' problems were consistently lower than patient estimates in all psychosocial problem areas except need for nursing home placement and problem drinking or drug use. Implications for social work in primary care are discussed.

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