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Lankenau Institute for Medical Research names executive director of population health research

Lankenau Medical Center September 28, 2017 Research News

The Main Line Health Center for Population Health Research (CPHR) at the Lankenau Institute for Medical Research has named Sharon Larson, PhD, executive director. CPHR is a collaboration between Main Line Health and Thomas Jefferson University’s College of Population Health (JCPH).

Dr. Larson, an expert in social and behavioral health research, program evaluation, and community-based research, comes to CPHR from Geisinger Health System, Danville, Pennsylvania, where she held positions of increasing responsibility, including chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Health Services Research. Prior to that she served as the associate director of science and division director for evaluation, analysis and quality at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

She completed her PhD at the University of Nebraska in sociology, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship in psychiatric epidemiology at Johns Hopkins’ University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health.

“Dr. Larson’s expertise will help guide our research in areas that are very important to the patient populations served by Main Line Health,” said George Prendergast, PhD, president and CEO of the Lankenau Institute for Medical Research (LIMR), which is part of Main Line Health. “We look forward to advancing our population health research agenda under Dr. Larson’s esteemed leadership.”

In addition to her new role at Main Line Health and LIMR, Dr. Larson will have a faculty appointment at JCPH. Dr. Larson and associate CPHR director Norma Padrón, PhD, together with other JCPH faculty, will work closely with Main Line Health clinicians and researchers to continue to identify and explore the underlying social, economic and physical determinants of population health in the community.

“I am thrilled to welcome Sharon to our team, and I am confident in her ability to make a major contribution to the future of LIMR,” said David B. Nash, MD, Founding Dean of JCPH.

Dr. Larson’s research interests include the epidemiology of substance abuse and psychiatric conditions, access to care, care delivery models, and policy. She is particularly interested in health conditions that co-occur with depression. Additionally, her research focuses on health survey design, implementation and analysis.

“I am excited about the opportunity for partnering with patients, health care providers and our communities in asking and answering questions that promote good health and wellbeing,” said Dr. Larson. “I look forward to working with colleagues at Main Line Health and Thomas Jefferson University to conduct research aimed at advancing health care delivery and improving patient outcomes.”

Over the years, Dr. Larson’s research has been published in several peer-reviewed journals, including Journal of Behavioral Health Services and Research and American Journal of Preventive Medicine, as well as book chapters and government health reports. Her research has been funded by the State of Pennsylvania, the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, as well as private organizations such as Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Bucknell Geisinger Research Initiative, Kohl’s Foundation and Children’s Miracle Network.

About Main Line Health

Founded in 1985, Main Line Health is a not-for-profit health system serving portions of Philadelphia and its western suburbs. Main Line Health’s commitment—to deliver advanced medicine to treat and cure disease while also playing an important role in prevention and disease management as well as training physicians and other health care providers—reflects our intent to keep our community and ourselves well ahead. A team of more than 10,000 employees and 2,000 physicians care for patients throughout the Main Line Health system.

At Main Line Health’s core are four of the region’s most respected acute care hospitals—Lankenau Medical Center, Bryn Mawr Hospital, Paoli Hospital and Riddle Hospital—as well as one of the nation’s recognized facilities for rehabilitative medicine, Bryn Mawr Rehabilitation Hospital.

The Main Line Health system also includes Mirmont Treatment Center for drug and alcohol recovery; Main Line Health HomeCare & Hospice, which includes skilled home health care, hospice and home infusion services; Main Line Health Centers, primary and specialty care, lab and radiology, and other outpatient services located in Broomall, Collegeville, Concordville, Exton and Newtown Square; Lankenau Institute for Medical Research, a biomedical research organization; and Main Line HealthCare, one of the region’s largest multispecialty physician networks.

Main Line Health is the recipient of numerous awards for quality care and service, including System Magnet® designation, the nation’s highest distinction for nursing excellence, the Mid-Atlantic Alliance for Performance Excellence (MAAPE) Excellence Award, and recognition as among the nation’s best employers by Forbes magazine. Main Line Health is committed to creating an environment of diversity, respect and inclusion and has proudly embraced the American Hospital Association’s #123forEquity Pledge to Act to eliminate disparities in care. We are dedicated to advancing patient-centered care, education and research to help our community stay healthy.

About Lankenau Institute for Medical Research

Lankenau Institute for Medical Research (LIMR) is a nonprofit biomedical research institute located on the campus of Lankenau Medical Center and is part of Main Line Health. Founded in 1927, LIMR’s mission is to improve human health and well-being. Faculty and staff are devoted to advancing innovative new approaches to formidable medical challenges, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, gastrointestinal disorders and autoimmune diseases, such as diabetes and arthritis. LIMR’s principal investigators conduct basic, preclinical and translational research, using their findings to explore ways to improve disease detection, diagnosis, treatment and prevention. They are committed to extending the boundaries of human health through technology transfer and training of the next generation of scientists and physicians.

About Main Line Health Center for Population Health Research (CPHR) at Lankenau Institute for Medical Research

Founded in 2016, the Center for Population Health Research (CPHR) is a joint collaboration between Main Line Health and Thomas Jefferson University’s College of Population Health. CPHR’s mission is to advance the understanding of population health by being a research and educational partner to Main Line Health, informing and assessing initiatives to improve the health status and quality of life in the communities it serves. CPHR’s researchers identify effective models to improve population health, as well as build evidence on successful implementation strategies.


Mary Kate Coghlan
Communications Specialist
Office: 484.580.1028
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