Liana Petruzzi

Liana Petruzzi

Liana Petruzzi is a doctoral student at the Steve Hicks School of Social Work and is the recipient of a UT Austin Graduate Recruitment Fellowship. She received her MSSW from The University of Texas at Austin in 2016 and her BA in Psychology from Brandeis University in 2009. She was a recipient of the UT Health Education and Leadership Scholarship during her master’s program at UT as well as the Ricardo Morant Undergraduate Award for Outstanding Scholarship and Breadth in Psychological Inquiry while at Brandeis.

Liana has over 5 years of experience with qualitative and quantitative research in interdisciplinary hospital settings at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and the University of Iowa Hospital. She worked as a clinical research coordinator on multiple randomized controlled trials with children and adolescents with disruptive disorders, as well as adults with depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. This work provided Liana with the opportunity to co-author multiple publications in journals such as Schizophrenia Research, Psychological Assessment and Qualitative Health Research. She also received several awards for poster presentations at MGH’s Clinical Research Day in 2013 and at the NASW Texas’ student poster presentation in 2015.

Most recently, Liana was a medical social worker at Seton Healthcare assisting patients as they navigated the healthcare system through an interdisciplinary case management program. She worked with adults who were uninsured or underinsured with chronic illnesses such as congestive heart failure, diabetes and cancer. This clinical experience demonstrated the significant impact that social factors such as insurance status, income and zip code have on health outcomes and quality of life. This opportunity also required Liana to have a comprehensive understanding of healthcare systems and policies. Therefore, her research is grounded in the role that social workers can play in reducing racial and economic health disparities in the United States, as well as their role in advocating for improved healthcare policies.

Liana is working with professor Barbara Jones at the Institute for Collaborative Health Research and Practice. She hopes to better understand how federal, state and local healthcare policies and programs directly impact the provision and utilization of healthcare services, as well as affect health inequities. After receiving her PhD, she hopes to work in an academic hospital setting to develop and implement programs that foster health equity in the local community.

Professional Interests

Racial and economic health disparities; social determinants of health; healthcare policies, social work in healthcare, care coordination and interdisciplinary care


  • MSSW, The University of Texas at Austin
  • BA, Brandeis University


Social Work Building (SSW)

Mailing Address

The University of Texas at Austin
Steve Hicks School of Social Work
1925 San Jacinto Blvd
STOP D3500
Austin, TX 78712-0358