Susan Caplan

Susan Caplan, PhD, RN, FNP-BC, FAAN

Assistant Professor
Division of Nursing Science

An authority on the assessment and treatment of mental health issues and chronic disease self-management, particularly as they relate to Latino immigrant communities, Dr. Susan Caplan serves as an assistant professor in the Division of Nursing Science at the Rutgers University School of Nursing.

For more than a decade, Dr. Caplan has worked with Latino immigrants as a bilingual, bicultural primary care provider and researcher. She is the recipient of a Sigma Theta Tau International Research grant that focuses on developing a Spanish Language Mobile Telephone Application to supplement traditional treatment or as a stand-alone treatment for mild to moderate depression in areas with scarce mental health resources. This research builds upon her recent GAIA funded research to explore mental health services in the Dominican Republic from the perspectives of interdisciplinary health care providers.

Another area where Dr. Caplan currently concentrates her research is a community-based pilot study seeking to improve mental health literacy among Latino immigrants. The education and treatment engagement intervention is facilitated by community health workers combining Western bio -medicine with faith-based teachings.  The goal is to reduce stigma about depression and improve mental health literacy. Dr. Caplan has analyzed how religious and supernatural beliefs about medical issues (as well as stigmas attached to mental health conditions such as depression) sometimes prevent people from seeking the health they need – and how to overcome those tendencies by fostering patient centered care and mutual decision making that takes into context the social and cultural factors that relate to health and illness. The work is detailed in the Community Mental Health Journal 52 (4) (online first). doi: 10.1007/s10597-016-0005-7) which describes her innovative and new method of measuring stigma in the community-based setting and in the International Quarterly of Community Health Education, 35, 199-214 which describes how to engage with underserved populations in a hard to reach setting to collaboratively develop an anti-stigma intervention using the principles of Community Based Participatory Research.

Dr. Caplan also has developed a graduate course, “Social Determinants of Health,” that introduces looks at specific vulnerable populations  and the impact of social factors on health outcomes, health disparities and, and at the ways healthcare providers contribute to disparities in care. 

She has contributed Cultural Content to two widely-used nursing text books:

Dr. Caplan earned her bachelor of fine arts degree in 1981 from Tufts University, an associate’s degree in 1994 from Kingsborough Community College, a master’s degree in 1997 from Pace University and her doctorate in nursing from Yale University in 2010.

Susan Caplan on ResearchGate

School of Nursing
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