• Helen Lowe Bamberger Colby Presidential Endowed Chair in Gerontological Nursing, Con Nursing
  • Associate Professor, College Of Nursing


  • BS, Biological Psychology; Human Development & Aging (minor), University of California, Davis
  • BSN, Nursing, University of Pennsylvania
  • MSN, Geropsychiatric Advanced Practice Nursing/CNS, University of Pennsylvania
  • Post-Master's Certificate, Gerontological Nurse Practitioner, University of Pennsylvania
  • PhD, Gerontological Nursing & Health Policy, University of California, San Francisco
  • John A. Hartford Foundation/Atlantic Philanthropies Claire M. Fagin Postdoc, Clinical Health Services Research, University of California, San Francisco School of Nursing
  • VA Quality Scholars Post-doctoral Fellowship, Health Care Quality & Leadership , San Francisco VA/UCSF School of Medicine, Division of Geriatrics
  • Advanced Training in Clinical Research Certificate, Clinical Research, University of California, San Francisco CTSI


Dr. Stephens is an Associate Professor and the Helen Lowe Bamberger Colby Presidential Endowed Chair in Gerontological Nursing. Informed by nearly 20 years of clinical experience as a Gerontological Nurse Practitioner and Geropsychiatric Advanced Practice Nurse, including consulting in over 100 nursing homes in 3 states, her program of research focuses on vulnerable populations at high risk for poor care transitions, particularly in the post-acute/long-term care setting. Key findings from her national population-based studies reveal that ED use by vulnerable nursing home residents is not only common, but frequently preventable. Her mixed-methods research has highlighted how suboptimal communication between hospitals, nursing homes and families, as well as poor access to appropriate and timely palliative care, contribute to frequent hospital transfers by our most high risk older adults. Additional findings published in JAMA IM reveal that the majority of nursing home residents are eligible for palliative care, but do not receive it. Moreover, families feel unprepared as advocates and knowledge gaps often lead them to ineffectively or inappropriately advocate for care.  Her current extramurally-funded program of research is focused on developing and testing the Improving Palliative Care Access Through Technology (ImPAcTT) intervention in the long term care setting.