Susanne Klawetter

Assistant Professor

PSU History

I joined the Portland State University School of Social Work as an assistant professor in 2017.


I graduated with my MSSW from the University of Texas at Austin. Following graduation, I worked with families involved in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems in Denver, Colorado using a community-based, empirically-supported family therapy approach aimed at keeping families together in their communities and natural ecologies. I went on from there to teach in schools of social work and public health, engage in private practice, and complete my PhD in social work from the University of Denver.

Academic/Research Interests

I am a maternal and child health disparities scholar, with particular interests in maternal and parent mental health and well-being. My recent work has focused on exploring the integration of behavioral health support for parents in novel settings including neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). I have also recently partnered with Multnomah County’s Health Birth Initiatives (HBI) to explore how culturally-specific perinatal care mitigates the influence of racism-related stress on Black women’s health and pregnancy. My research includes the exploration of the etiology of intergenerational maternal and child health disparities, intervention research to improve clinical care, and policy advocacy to address systemic drivers of disparities. I have published on topics related to parent and infant mental health, parent experiences in the NICU, and parental leave policy.

Personal Interests

My personal interests include running, hiking, and going to live music concerts.

  • PhD
    University of Denver
  • MSSW
    University of Texas at Austin