Sharon L. Larson, PHD

Executive Director, Center for Population Health Research

Dr. Larson serves as a Professor and the Executive Director of the Main Line Health Center for Population Health Research at LIMR. Population Health aims to improve the health of entire populations. It is concerned with understanding health and health care from the perspective of patients, providers, payer systems, and communities in order to identify strategies for promoting health and well-being.

Dr. Larson’s research focus encompasses behavioral health (substance abuse and psychiatric conditions), epidemiology, policy, access to care, care delivery models, conditions that co-occur with depression, and survey research, the latter of which includes design, implementation, and analysis.

During her career, her research has focused on the use of extensive, national surveys to help answer questions that relate to patients’ access to health care, rural-urban differences in health and care utilization, as well as behavioral health. She is particularly interested in the use of item-response analysis to understand differential item functioning and response biases to behavioral health measures. Her research also focuses on evaluation design, which includes the use of well-constructed strategies that link interventions directly to measurable outcomes. She uses mixed-methods approaches, including the integration of focus groups, qualitative interviews, and population-level quantitative analysis of surveys and administrative data to more completely answer pertinent and timely questions.

In summary, Dr. Larson works with clinical partners to conduct research aimed at improving the health care delivery system and patient outcomes. She is particularly interested in research that spans traditional health services research models, clinical research and public health.

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Norma A. Padron, PHD, MPH, MA

Associate Director, Center for Population Health Research

Dr. Padron’s research interests focus on Big Data analysis in healthcare and its applications to population and health services research. Over the years, she has collaborated with interdisciplinary teams on topics related to health insurance coverage and access to care among minorities; behavioral factors affecting adherence to recommended care among individuals with diabetes; teenage childbearing and long-term economic and health consequences; parental unemployment and children’s mental health; and she has investigated the use of multisectoral city-level data to address infant mortality and child health working closely with officials from the cities of Philadelphia and Los Angeles. With a background in economics and public health, she takes into account the social and financial impacts associated with population health.

Her current research agenda is focused on improving quantitative methodologies and coordinating data interoperability to investigate population health. She incorporates variables that address the social determinants of health, including, for example, socioeconomic status, education, access, the physical environment, employment and social support networks.

Over the years, her research has been funded by government agencies, including the National Science Foundation, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and private foundations, including the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, WT Grant Foundation and NYS Health Foundation.

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