Prof. Mercedes Bern-Klug

The University of Iowa

Contact Details

The University of Iowa
Iowa City, IA

Prof. Mercedes Bern-Klug

The University of Iowa


Mercedes Bern-Klug is a social work faculty member specializing in gerontology. Professor Bern-Klug is an Associate Professor at the University of Iowa in the School of Social Work and she serves as Director of the UI Aging Studies Program. The Aging Studies Program facilitates the development of classes for students to be able to earn a minor or certificate in Aging Studies. In addition to coordinating the Aging Studies Program, Professor Bern-Klug teaches the following gerontology classes: Basic Aspects of Aging, Global Aging, and Introduction to Nursing Homes, as well as social work courses.

Bern-Klug conducts research on how social workers and other health care providers can support older adults and their family members with the psychosocial implications of with medical decision-making in long-term care settings. Her research has been supported by the AARP Andrus Foundation, the John A. Hartford Foundation, The Soros Foundation, the UI Cancer and Aging Program, and the Retirement Research Foundation. In 2010 she was awarded the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Faculty Achievement Award for excellence in research, teaching, and service. In 2011, she was inducted as a fellow in the Gerontological Society of America. In 2014, she was appointed by the Iowa City Council to the Ad Hoc Senior Services committee to review the senior center and senior services in the Iowa City area. She edited the book Transforming palliative care in nursing homes: The social work role. Columbia University Press.


University of Kansas
Lawrence, Kansas, United States
PhD, 2003
Social Welfare/Social Work
Dissertation: The Social Construction of Dying in Nursing Homes: Implications for Social Work
Advisor: Dr. Rosemary Chapin

Georgetown University
Washington, District Of Columbia, United States
M.A., 1991
Applied Demography

The University of Iowa
Iowa City, Iowa, United States
MSW, 1984
Social Work and Aging Studies

Job History

The University of Iowa School of Social Work
Faculty member (Associate Professor)
Iowa City, IA, United States
August 2004 - present

The Center on Aging, University of Kansas Medical Center
Associate Director for Community Education & Outreach
Kansas City, KS, United States
January 1992 - January 2004

Pan American Health Organization
Demographic consultant in aging
Washington, DC, United States
January 1990 - January 1995

National Institute on Aging
Social Science Analyst
Bethesda, MD, United States
January 1991 - January 1992

American Association of Dental Schools
Director, Geriatric Education Project
Washington , DC, United States
January 1987 - January 1990

Areas Of Expertise

  • Death and Dying
  • Decision Making: Surrogate
  • Education: Families of Elders
  • Education: Other
  • Family: Family Decision-Making
  • Global Aging
  • Long-Term Care
  • Palliative Care
  • Social Roles
  • Social Services
  • Social Services: Long-Term Care Facility Social Services

Change Industry

  • Long Term Care

Industry or Setting

  • University

Domains of Practice Change

  • Practice, Care, and Services


  • Social Worker