Heather Leutwyler

Dr. Heather Leutwyler, PhD, RN, FNP-BC, CNS, FGSA (she/her/hers) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Physiological Nursing and an Associate Director for the UCSF Hartford Center of Gerontological Nursing Excellence. In June 2000, she received a BS in Neuroscience, a program that provided a strong foundation for understanding the neurobiology of mental illness. This training underpinned her choice of specialty practice as a registered nurse and board-certified family nurse practitioner. Dr. Leutwyler has now worked for over 15 years caring for and doing research with people that have a serious mental illness (SMI). Her experience working with this population underpinned the focus of her doctoral dissertation – the poor physical health of older adults with schizophrenia. Over the past decade, Dr. Leutwyler received numerous grants including extramural funding with a K23 from the NIA and research awards from the Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program. Heather and her team have investigated several social determinants of health (SDoH) and developed and tested clinical interventions for older adults with SMI including physical activity programs, tobacco cessation support, and social connections, and evaluated the impact of housing instability and interactions with the criminal justice system, and health care disparities.



  1. Jester, D., Thomas, M., Sturm, E., Keshavan, M., Davis, B., Shekhar, S., Tampi, R., Compton, M., Leutwyler, H., Palmer, B., Jeste, D. “Review of Major Social Determinants of Health in Schizophrenia-Spectrum Psychotic Disorders: I. Clinical Outcomes”, Schizophrenia Bulletin, In Press.
  2. Lauren Hunt; Kenneth E. Covinsky; Irena Cenzer; Edie Espejo; W. John Boscardin; Heather Leutwyler; Alexandra K. Lee; Janine Cataldo. “The Epidemiology of Smoking in Older Adults: A National Cohort Study”, Journal of General Internal Medicine, J Gen Intern Med. 2022 Dec 20. doi: 10.1007/s11606-022-07980-w. Online ahead of print.
    PMID: 36538157
  3. Leutwyler, H. and Hubbard, E. Telephone based smoking cessation intervention for adults with serious mental illness during the COVID-19 pandemic. Tobacco Use Insights, January 2022. doi:10.1177/1179173X211065989
  4. Dobbins, S., Hubbard, E., and Leutwyler, H.  Education Mediates Racial Disparities in Cognitive Impairment among Older Adults with Schizophrenia. Clinical Gerontologist, 2021 Feb 12;1-14.  doi: 10.1080/07317115.2021.1882021.  Online ahead of print.
  5. Dobbins, S., Hubbard,E., Flentje, A.,Dawson-Rose, C., and Leutwyler, H.  Play and Social Connection for Older Adults with Serious Mental Illness: Examining a 10-week Exergame Intervention through Grounded Theory Analysis.  2020 Apr;24(4):596-603.  doi: 10.1080/13607863.2018.1544218. Epub 2018 Dec 27.
  6. Hubbard, E. and Leutwyler, H. Successful Community Transition from the Criminal Justice System for Older Adults with Schizophrenia. Advancing Corrections, 2020; 9 (68-79).
  7. Leutwyler, H., Hubbard, E., and Zahnd, E. Case Management helps Prevent Criminal Justice Involvement for People with Serious Mental Illness. International Journal of Prison Health, 2017; 13(3-4):168-172. doi: 10.1108/IJPH-06-2016-0021.
  8. Leutwyler, H., Chafetz, L., and Walhagen, M. Older adults with schizophrenia finding a place to belong. Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 31:507-513, 2010. doi: 10.3109/01612841003647005.