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Bruce Stevenson Jansson, PhD

TitleMargaret W. Driscoll/Louise M. Clevenger Professorship in Social Policy and Administration, Professor of Social Work, Dept. of Social Change and innovation
InstitutionUniversity of Southern California
DepartmentSocial Work
AddressATT T1400
Off Campus
Los Angeles CA 90089-1400
Phone+1 213 740 0292
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    Collapse Biography 
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    Marquis2004  - 2014Who's Who in America
    2004Jefferson Award
    University of Southern California2004Sterling Franklin Award for Excellence in Research

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    BRUCE JANSSON joined the USC faculty in 1973 after working as a community organizer and planner for tenants' rights in the state of Michigan and a stint as the Moses Distinguished Research Professor at the City University of New York Graduate Center.

    His scholarly interests focus on advancing case advocacy and policy advocacy in social work, as well as examining the history and practice of social welfare policy. He invented the term "policy practice" in the 1984 release of The Theory and Practice of Social Policy, which was succeeded by Social Welfare Policy: from Theory to Practice (1990), Social Welfare Policy: from Theory to Policy Practice (1994), and Becoming an Effective Policy Advocate (1999, 2003, 2008 and 2011). Policy practice has since emerged as a recognized intervention, with the Council on Social Work Education now requiring social work schools to teach policy practice. Additionally, the Journal of Policy Practice was established by a group Jansson founded.

    In 2011, Jansson published Improving Healthcare Through Advocacy: A Guide for the Health and Helping Professions, which uses new case advocacy and policy frameworks and more than 100 case studies to explain how health care professionals, including social workers, can better navigate the U.S. health care system for their clients and patients.

    In his historical tomes, such as The Reluctant Welfare State: Engaging History to Advance Social Work Practice in Contemporary Society (1988, 1993, 1997, 2001, 2005, 2000 and 2011), Jansson takes a chronological look at America's social welfare system, offering insights into an ambivalent social welfare policy and its impact on vulnerable groups – African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, women, and others – that are often overlooked in other texts. The book also analyzes the evolution of the American welfare state from colonial times to present and places social policy in its political, cultural and societal context.

    Jansson is probably most well-known for The Sixteen Trillion Dollar Mistake: How the U.S. Bungled Its National Priorities from the New Deal to the Present (2001), which Publishers Weekly praised as a "lucid, remarkably flowing critical history of American government spending." From Franklin D. Roosevelt to Richard Nixon to Bill Clinton, Jansson writes that America's past 11 presidents have squandered trillions of taxpayer dollars on innumerable useless projects. Jansson spent more than a decade researching and analyzing social and domestic policy through the prism of the federal budget. Over the past 70 years, he contends, administrations misspent at least $16 trillion (in constant 1992 dollars), a figure that includes a variety of costly mistakes on military and civilian projects, unnecessary tax concessions and the use of interest payments to cover deficit spending.

    Currently, Jansson is working on two new books. One discusses how social workers and other frontline staff in the health and human services can link case and policy advocacy in different sectors including mental health, child welfare, corrections, education and civil rights. The other book analyzes why the United States has not significantly reduced health disparities in the last five decades – and whether the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 will achieve this result in coming decades.


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    Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Researchers can login to make corrections and additions, or contact us for help.
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    1. Jansson B, Nyamathi A, Heidemann G, Bird M, Ward CR, Brown-Saltzman K, Duan L, Kaplan C. Predicting Levels of Policy Advocacy Engagement Among Acute-Care Health Professionals. Policy Polit Nurs Pract. 2016 Feb; 17(1):43-55. PMID: 27151835.
      View in: PubMed
    2. Jansson B, Nyamathi A, Heidemann G, Duan L, Kaplan C. Validation of the Policy Advocacy Engagement Scale for frontline healthcare professionals. Nurs Ethics. 2017 May; 24(3):362-375. PMID: 26396141.
      View in: PubMed
    3. Jansson B, Nyamathi A, Heidemann G, Duan L, Kaplan C. Predicting Patient Advocacy Engagement: A Multiple Regression Analysis Using Data From Health Professionals in Acute-Care Hospitals. Soc Work Health Care. 2015; 54(7):559-81. PMID: 26317762.
      View in: PubMed
    4. Jansson B, Nyamathi A, Duan L, Kaplan C, Heidemann G, Ananias D. Validation of the patient advocacy engagement scale for health professionals. Res Nurs Health. 2015 Apr; 38(2):162-72. PMID: 25556351.
      View in: PubMed
    5. Dodd SJ, Jansson B, Brown-Saltzman K, Shirk M, Wunch K. Expanding nurses' participation in ethics: an empirical examination of ethical activism and ethical assertiveness. Nurs Ethics. 2004 Jan; 11(1):15-27. PMID: 14763647.
      View in: PubMed
    6. Jansson B, Dodd SJ. Ethical activism: strategies for empowering medical social workers. Soc Work Health Care. 2002; 36(1):11-28. PMID: 12506959.
      View in: PubMed
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