Tamara Cadet

Tamara J. Cadet, PhD, LICSW, MPH

  • Associate Professor
  • Co-Director, PhD in Social Welfare Program
  • Associate Professor, Penn Dental Medicine
  • Senior Fellow, Leonard Davis Institute
  • Senior Fellow, Center for Public Health
  • Associate Director, Penn Center for Cancer Care Innovation (PC3I) & Director, Program in Community Engagement Innovation, PC3I
  • Research Interests

    Health social work

    Health literacy


    Social determinants of health

    Evidence-based health promotion interventions in the community

    Facilitators and barriers to reducing disparities in preventative health behaviors

    Advancing health equity

    Health care service utilization among vulnerable populations with a focus on oncology and gerontology

    Dr. Cadet has a motto: “if she is not thinking about the underserved or under-represented client or patient, then I have forgotten the most important part of conducting research.” This commitment to social justice permeates every aspect of her research. This translates to her desire to more than ensure that communities will benefit from her innovative and impactful research but that students will learn about evidence-based practices that support underserved and underrepresented populations and recognize all the biases they bring to the work to ensure they are helping not harming. It is ultimately about ensuring that her research, teaching, and service are intertwined to make meaningful social change.

    Dr. Cadet brings more than 25 years of practice experience in many capacities and settings to her research and teaching. Dr. Cadet has worked in the fields of substance use, adoption, mental health, health care, schools, and oncology with children, adults, families, and older adults, as both a social worker and as a community organizer. As part of her doctoral training at Simmons College (now Simmons University) School of Social Work, she learned to view her clinical experiences through a scientific lens and developed an interest in conducting qualitative and quantitative research. Her overall research focus is to advance efforts to develop health promotion interventions with underserved and underrepresented populations and communities, and to translate research to practice. Her current work focuses on health disparities of older people, particularly around cancer screening and cancer care. Her work is at the intersection of health and social work, spanning the areas of evidence-based health promotion interventions, facilitators, and barriers to reducing disparities in preventative health behaviors, and health care service utilization among vulnerable populations. Dr. Cadet has received funding or research support from the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities, National Cancer Institute, National Institute on Aging and the Heath Resources Services Administration.

    Her work has a continuing focus on issues of health among the under-resourced, underserved, and underrepresented which has earned her a place as a leading scholar in the arena of social work and public health. As such, she was appointed in 2018 to the “Integrating Social Care into Heath Care Delivery System” committee of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine Committee. She is currently co-chairing the Council on Social Work Education’s Health Curricular Guide. Dr. Cadet received her BA from Tufts University and her MSW and MPH from Boston University. In sum, she consistently aims to ensure that she is a change agent at the clinical, macro, policy, and organizational levels using her national reputation and her excellence in teaching to increase the quality of life with underserved and underrepresented populations.



    office: 215.898.5501

    fax: 215.573.2099



    3701 Locust Walk, Caster Building
    Philadelphia, PA 19104-6214



    Faculty | Standing Faculty | School Administration | Degree Programs | PhD Program


    MSW | DSW | PhD

    Research Areas(s)

    Health Equity, Mental Health, Aging

    Related Links

    Curriculum Vitae >