Heather Zelle headshot
HZ

Heather Zelle

Assistant Professor
Unit: School of Medicine
Department: PBHS Public Health Sciences Admin
Office location and address
1335 Lee St
Charlottesville, Virginia 22903
Biography

Heather Zelle, J.D., Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Research with the UVA Department of Public Health Sciences and a clinical psychologist with the UVA Institute of Law, Psychiatry, and Public Policy. She holds a juris doctorate from Villanova University School of Law, and a doctorate in clinical psychology with a forensic concentration from Drexel University.  She is licensed as an attorney in Pennsylvania (voluntary inactive status) and as a clinical psychologist in Virginia.

Dr. Zelle’s current research and policy work focus on the public mental health system and mental health policy in Virginia. She is a core member of the Mental Health Policy Research Center. She also serves on state work groups studying topics such as involuntary civil commitment procedures and mental health dockets in Virginia courts. Previously, Dr. Zelle coordinated the research and implementation efforts regarding the integration of Advance Directives with Instructions for Mental Health Care into routine care in Virginia. Dr. Zelle’s policy and research experience include work with Dr. Patty Griffin for the Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disABILITY Services, including CIT training for Philadelphia law enforcement, assessment of specialty courts, and Cross Systems Mapping activities.


PHS 5052: Mental Health, Law & Policy
Credits: 3
The Mental Health Law & Policy course explores historical and contemporary mental health law and policy in order to address several current areas of law and policy reform. A public health perspective is applied to issues traditionally viewed through an individual-centered, autonomy-driven lens. Topics are reviewed to introduce students to relevant issues, but are also explored through a public health ethics framework.
PHS 7051: Policy Development, Analysis, & Advocacy
Credits: 3
Provides students with the opportunity to engage in the policy development & advocacy process. This includes defining & analyzing a policy issue, synthesizing info & data from numerous sources to generate policy options, examining the legal, ethical & other implications of potential policy options, understanding the preferences & perspectives of key stakeholders, & clearly communicating & advocating for policy options with different audiences.
PHS 7410: Database Management: Analyses with Secondary Data
Credits: 3
In this course students will utilize SAS to access, evaluate, and interpret public health data from large databases and draw basic inferences. Students will develop skills to formulate and answer research questions related to clinical research and health policy. The course will also explore how the publci health infrastructure collects, processes, maintains, and disseminates data.
PHS 7411: Health Policy Analysis with Secondary Data
Credits: 3
Focuses on health policy analysis using secondary data. The course applies skills learned in biostatistics & epidemiology courses in order to conduct secondary data analyses. In particular, students will explore how public health infrastructure collects, processes, maintains, & disseminates data by learning about & accessing large datasets such as BRFSS and NHANES.
PHS 8126: Mental Health Policy Analysis
Credits: 3
Focuses on applying policy analysis skills in the context of public mental health issues. The application of mental health research to inform policy is addressed. Students will complete a policy analysis paper,& shorter writing assignments that evaluate an issue & brief policymakers. Mental health-specific considerations for IRB protocol development are reviewed. The course integrates a deep review of current public mental health issues.
PHS 8880: Integrative Learning RP Part 1
Credits: 2
Practicum associated with Methods Course for Research in Practice Concentration. Prerequisite: Instructor Permission
PHS 8881: Integrative Learning HP Part 1
Credits: 1–3
Practicum associated with Methods Course for Health Policy, Law & Ethics Concentration. Prerequisite: Instructor Permission
PHS 8930: Integrative Learning Experience RP Part 2
Credits: 1–3
The culminating experience project should demonstrate application of knowledge acquired in the MPH program to a real-world public health issue. Students write a paper & create a poster for presentation describing their projects. Students also take a review test of basic material from the core public health disciplines & complete a competency self-assessment to obtain feedback on their progress & accomplishments achieved by the end of the program. Prerequisite: Instructor Permission.
PHS 8931: Integrative Learning Experience HP Part 2
Credits: 1–3
The final project should demonstrate application of knowledge acquired in the MPH program to a real-world public health issue. Students write a paper & create a poster for presentation describing their projects. Students also take a review test of basic material from the core public health disciplines & complete a competency self-assesment to obtain feedback on their progress & accomplishments achieved by the end of the program.
LAW 9312: Seminar on Mental Health Law Reform - Fall (YR)
Credits: 2
This year-long seminar will explore some of the major challenges of designing and implementing mental health law and policy in the 21st century. Coverage will be coordinated with the work of an expert advisory panel chaired by Professor Bonnie for the Virginia General Assembly. Students will review ongoing empirical research and participate in work groups focusing on key topics being addressed by the expert advisory panels/Gen. Assembly.
LAW 9313: Seminar on Mental Health Law Reform - Spring (YR)
Credits: 2
This year-long seminar will explore some of the major challenges of designing and implementing mental health law and policy in the 21st century. Coverage will be coordinated with the work of an expert advisory panel chaired by Professor Bonnie for the Virginia General Assembly. Students will review ongoing empirical research and participate in work groups focusing on key topics being addressed by the expert advisory panels/Gen. Assembly.