Robin R. Whitebird, MSW, PhD, LISW

Associate Professor of Social Work


I am passionate about learning and the value of education to explore and expand how we understand our world and ourselves. My research interests focus on the health and wellbeing of older adults, using complementary therapies to improve wellbeing and improving healthcare for all.

  • Health Care
  • Chronic disease and aging
  • Mental health
  • Hospice and palliative care
  • Complementary and integrative therapies

Ph.D., Social Work
University of Minnesota, 1999

Master of Social Work, Social Work
University of Minnesota, 1992

Bachelor of Science, Music Therapy
Augsburg College, 1989

Principal Investigator. Guided Imagery for Health Sleep. HealthPartners Research Foundation (2010–2012).

Co-Investigator (with L.I. Solberg, Principal Investigator). Mental Health Research Network: A Population-Based Approach to Transform Research. NIH: National Institutes of Mental Health #U19MH092201 (2010–2013).

Co-Investigator (with L.I. Solberg, Principal Investigator). Evaluating Statewide Transformation of Primary Care to Medical Homes. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality #R18HS019161 (2010–2013).

Co-Investigator (with L.R. Hanson, Principal Investigator). The Minnesota Memory Project: A Registry of Brain Aging in Normal Adults with Memory Loss Together with their Care Partners. Regions Alzheimer’s Research Center, Regions Hospital #09-174 (2010–2014).

Co-Investigator (with L.I. Solberg, Principal Investigator). Measuring Patient Outcome from High Tech Diagnostic Imaging: PIONEER. Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PICORI) #PI-12-001 (2012–2014).

Co-Investigator (with S. Magnan, Principal Investigator). Care of Management of Mental and Physical Comorbidities: A Triple Aim Bullseye (COMPASS). Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services #C1CMS331048 (2014–2015).

Co-Investigator (with G. Simon, Principal Investigator). Reducing Cardiovascular Risk in Adults with SMI using EMR-Based Clinical Decision Support. NIH: National Institutes of Mental Health #3U19MH092201 (2014–2019).

Co-Investigator (with J. Friction, Principal Investigator). Tailored SelfManagement of TMD Pain using Health Information Technology. NIH: National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research #R34DE024260 (2014–2015).

Co-Investigator (with R. Smith-Bindman, Principal Investigator). CT Dose Collaboratory. NIH: National Institute of Cancer Research #R01CA181191 (2014–2019).

Lecturer, University of Minnesota MOOC (Massive Online Open Course), 2014

Instructor, School of Social Work, University of Minnesota, 2004–2011

Course Faculty, Social Work Licensing Exam Review Course, National Association of Social Work, Minnesota Chapter, 1999–2012

Instructor, School of Social Work University of St. Thomas/ College of St Catherine, 1998–2002

Organizational Consultant, Center on Aging, University of Minnesota, 1997

Consultant/Workshop Development and Facilitation, Employee Assistance Program, University of Minnesota, 1994–1996

Instructor, School of Social Work, University of Minnesota Extension Division, 1993

Geriatric Care Coordinator, Department of Continuing Care and Geriatrics, HealthPartners, Minneapolis Minnesota, 1992–1997

Fontaine, P., Whitebird, R.R., Solberg, L.I., Tillema, J.O., Smithson, A., & Crabtree, B.F. (2015). "Minnesota's experience with statewide medical home implementation: Viewpoints from the front lines." Journal of General Internal Medicine, 30(7): 899-906. doi:10.1007/s11606-014-3136-y

Solberg, L.I., Asche, S.E., Butler, J., Carrell, D., Norton, C.K., Jarvik, J.G., SmithBindman, R., Tillema, J.O., Whitebird, R.R., & Ziegenfuss, J.Y. (in press). "Patient centered patient-reported outcome measures: Association with patient satisfaction." Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine.

Solberg, L.I., Crain, A..L, Maciosek, M., Unutzer, J., Ohnsorg, K., Beck, A., Rubenstein, L., Whitebird, R.R., Rossom, R.C., Pietruszewski, P.B., Crabtree, B.F., Joslyn, K., Van de Ven, A., & Glasgow R.E. (in press). "A stepped wedge evaluation of an initiative to spread the collaborative care model for depression in primary care." Annals of Family Medicine.

Whitebird, R.R. (2010). "Don't just tell me to relax: New approaches to coping with stress." Invited presentation at: Aging & Alzheimer's Disease: Preserving Brain Function and Caring for Caregivers Conference. HealthPartners Center for Dementia and Alzheimer's Care. St. Paul, MN.

Whitebird, R.R. (2011). "Using mindfulness based stress reduction with caregivers for people with dementia." Invited presentation at the Minnesota Gerontological Society Meeting, Minneapolis, MN.

Whitebird, R.R. (2012). "Mindfulness based stress reduction for caregivers." Invited Presentation at the Annual Conference of the Minnesota Council on Family Relations. Vadnais Height MN.

Whitebird, R.R. (2014). "The perils of perception: The role of stress in diabetes." Invited presentation at the EBAN 3D Collaborative Meeting, Minneapolis, MN.

Whitebird, R.R. (2014). "Managing diabetes mindfully." Invited presentation at the American Association of Diabetes Educators MN Network Spring Symposium, Minneapolis MN.