Jung Kwak, PhD

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(414) 229-6107
Enderis Hall 1055
Associate Professor
Social Work

Dr. Jung Kwak’s primary research areas focus on long-term care policy, dementia care, and end-of-life decision making. In 2010, Dr. Kwak was selected as a Hartford Geriatric Social Work Faculty Scholar. Her recently funded research projects include a study on decision-support needs among caregivers of people with advanced dementia or Parkinson’s disease, a pilot study on a decision-support coaching program for family caregivers, and a study of the effects of personalized music listening on nursing home residents with advanced dementia.

Dr. Kwak is committed to conducting translational research with community partners to promote evidence-based patient-focused, family-centered support interventions. Her scholarly work on end-of-life care and caregiving has been published in journals including American Journal of Nursing, The Gerontologist, Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, Journal of Gerontology, Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, and Research on Aging.


  • Ph.D., Aging Studies, University of South Florida, 2006
  • MSW, University of South Carolina, 2001
  • B.S., Business Administration, University of South Carolina, 1998

Professional Interests:

  • Advance care planning and surrogate end-of-life decision-making
  • Cultural diversity at the end of life
  • Decision support for family caregivers of persons with advanced dementia
  • Long-term care policies and programs

Recent Grants:

  • January 2014-June 2015: Evaluation of Music and Memory Program among Nursing Home Residents with Dementia. Co-Principal Investigator. Submitted to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) as a project application for Applying for Use of Civil Money Penalty (CMP). Total funds: $96,765.
  • Summer 2014, spring and summer 2013: Salary for Undergraduate Research Fellows (SURF) Award funded by University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Office of Undergraduate Research. Principal Investigator. Total amount: $10,200 (for three students).
  • 2010-2012: Decisional Conflict at the End-of-Life: The Needs of Surrogates for Persons with Dementia. Principal Investigator. Total Funds: $100,000. Source: Hartford Foundation - Hartford Faculty Scholars Program in Geriatric Social Work.
  • 2010-2011: Surrogate decision support needs among caregivers of advanced Parkinson’s disease patients. Principal Investigator. Total Funds: $10,000. Source: Parkinson’s Research institute (PRI) of the Regional Parkinson’s Disease Center.

Professional Affiliations:

  • Gerontological Society of America

Media Coverage:

Book Chapters:

  • Kwak, J. & Collet, E.P. (in press). Diversity at the end of life. In Werth, J. L. (Ed.), Counseling clients near the end of life: Practical perspectives on fundamental issues. New York: Springer. (Invited)
  • Kwak, J., Allen, J. Y., & Haley, W. E. (2011). Advance care planning and end-of-life decision making. In P. Dilworth-Anderson & M. H. Palmer (Eds.), Annual review of gerontology and geriatrics: Pathways through the transitions of care for older adults (Vol. 31, pp. 143-165). New York: Springer. (Invited)
  • Haley, W. E., & Kwak, J. (2010). Gerontology. In I. B. Weiner and W. E. Craighead (Eds.), The concise Corsini encyclopedia of psychology (4rd  ed.). (pp. 715-717). Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. (Invited)


  • Ko, E., Kwak, J., & Nelson-Becker, H. (accepted for publication). What constitutes a good and bad death?: Perspectives of homeless older adults. Death Studies.
  • Kwak, J., Wallendal, M., Fritsch, T, Leo, G. & Hyde, T. (accepted for publication). End-of-life decision making preferences among surrogates of persons with Parkinson disease. Southern Medical Journal.
  • Kwak, J. & Polivka, L. (2014). The future of long-term care and the aging network. Generations, 38 (2), 67-73.
  • Kwak, J., Ko, J. & Kramer, B.J. (2014). Advance care planning practice with elders of diverse ethnic backgrounds and needs. Health & Social Care in the Community, 22, 169-177. doi: 10.1111/hsc.12073.
  • Kwak, J., Kramer, B., Lang, J., & Ledger, M. (2013). Challenges in end-of-life care management for low-income frail elders at the end of life: A case study of Wisconsin Family Care program. Research on Aging. doi:10.1177/0164027512446939
  • Maschi, T., Kwak, J., Ko, E. J., &  Ko, E., & Morrissey, M.B. (2012). Forget me not: Dementia in prison. The Gerontologist.doi: 10.1093/geront/gnr131
  • Kwak, J., Montgomery, R.J.V., Kosloski, K., & Lang, J. (2011). The impact of TCARE® on service recommendation, use, and caregiver well-being. The Gerontologist, 51, 704-713.
  • Montgomery, R.J.V., Kwak, J., Kosloski, K., &  O’Connell Valuch, K. (2011).  Effects of the TCARE® intervention on caregiver burden and depressive symptoms: Preliminary findings from a randomized, controlled study. The Journal of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 66, 640-647.
  • Jang, Y., Chiriboga, D.A., Allen, J., Kwak, J., Salmon, J., & Haley, W.E. (2010). Willingness to use hospice among Korean American older adults, Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 58, 352-356.
  • Fritsch, T., Kwak, J., Montgomery, R. J. V., Lang, J., & Basting, A.D. (2009). Impact of TimeSlips, a creative expression intervention, on nursing home staff and residents with dementia. The Gerontologist, 49, 117-127.
  • Kwak, J., Haley, W. E., & Chiriboga, D. A. (2008). Racial differences in hospice use and in-hospital death among Medicare and Medicaid dual-eligible nursing home residents. The Gerontologist, 48, 32-41.
  • Kwak, J., Salmon, J. R., Acquaviva, K., Brandt, K., & Egan, K. (2007). Benefits of training family caregivers on experiences of closure during end-of-life care.  Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 33, 434-445.
  • Kwak, J., & Salmon, J. R. (2007). Attitudes and preferences of Korean American elders and caregivers on end-of-life care. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 55, 1867-1872.