Selena E. Ortiz

Assistant Professor
Organization
The Pennsylvania State University

Selena E. Ortiz, PhD, MPH, is an Assistant Professor of Health Policy and Administration & Demography at The Pennsylvania State University. Her scholarship focuses on the social determinants of health, health equity, and health and social policy formation processes, with the goal of promoting social justice in housing affordability, health care access, and health care outcomes, especially within racial/ethnic and low-income communities. Dr. Ortiz’ research incorporates mixed-method approaches to examine policymaking, public deliberation, public opinion, and health disparities. Prior to her appointment at Penn State, Dr. Ortiz was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health and Society Scholar at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies and a non-resident fellow at the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Dr. Ortiz is also a member of the Alpha Nu Chapter of Delta Omega, the National Public Health Honor Society. 

Projects

Housing choices for those with traditional housing choice vouchers (HCV) are constrained and rent subsidies set too low to significantly increase moves to high-opportunity neighborhoods. Moreover, many landlords in destination neighborhoods are unaware of the HCV program and its benefits, producing an additional hurdle to HCV use. As a result, most voucher recipients end up in neighborhoods similar to those they previously lived in. For this project, the research team will partner with the Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh (HACP) and the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania to investigate the effects of HACP's innovative mobility vouchers and mobility counseling programs on improving low-income racial minority access and transition to opportunity-rich neighborhoods in Pittsburgh, PA.