Skip to main content.

Charlene Harrington

Expert Profile

Charlene Harrington

Professor Emerita, Sociology and Nursing; Principal Investigator
University of California, San Francisco; Center for Personal Assistance Services
long-term care
nursing homes
home care
disability and aging
home and community services


Dr. Charlene Harrington is a professor emerita of sociology and nursing in the department of social and behavioral sciences in the School of Nursing at the University of California, San Francisco. She joined the faculty in 1980. Her major interest is in nursing home quality and regulation, developed after she served as the director of the California Division of Licensing and Certification in 1975. She served on the Institute of Medicine (IOM) Committee on Nursing Home Regulation, whose 1986 report led to the passage of the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987. Dr. Harrington developed a Nursing Home Consumer Information System (funded by the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research from 1995 to 2000) that was used to develop the Medicare NursingHome Compare Web site. She led a team of researchers to design a state-of-the-art California consumer information system for nursing homes funded by the California Health Care Foundation that was launched in October 2002, and she continues to maintain that Web site. She is the director of a new $4.5 million national Center for Personal Assistance Services, funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research. She recently served on the Institute of Medicine Committee to study Quality in Long Term Care and the 2003 IOM Committee on Keeping Patients Safe. She has testified before the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging several times and is a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing and was elected to the Institute of Medicine. She has written more than 140 articles and chapters, co-edited five books, and lectures widely in the United States and other countries.

3333 California St., Laurel Heights 455
Box 0612
San Francisco  California  94708
United States
Office Phone: 
(415) 476-4030
Office Fax: 
(415) 476-6552


The USC Center for Health Journalism at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism is seeking two Engagement Editors to serve as thought leaders in one of the most innovative and rewarding arenas in journalism today – “engaged reporting” that puts the community at the center of the reporting process. Learn more about the positions and apply to join our team.

Let us support your next ambitious health reporting project through our National Fellowship program. Apply today.

Nowhere was the massive COVID wave of winter 2021 more devastating than in America’s nursing homes, where 71,000 residents died in the surge. In this webinar, we’ll hear from the lead reporter in the USA Today series "Dying for Care," who will show how an original data analysis and an exhaustive reporting effort revealed a pattern of unnecessary deaths that compounded the pandemic’s brutal toll. Sign-up here!


Follow Us



CHJ Icon