Sharon Larson
Senior Investigator (Professor)
Director of Behavioral Research

Center for Health Research
100 North Academy Avenue
Danville, PA 17822
Phone: 570 214 1079

Research Interests

I am interested in behavioral health (substance abuse and psychiatric conditions) epidemiology, access to care, care delivery models, and policy. I am interested in health conditions that co-occur with depression. Additionally, I am interested in survey research—design, implementation, and analysis. My research has focused on the use of large national surveys to answer questions related to disparate access to health care, rural urban differences in health and care utilization, and behavioral health. In a recent study, colleagues and I examined the impact of large scale human-made disasters on population behavioral health. This study emphasized the need for community level data, routinely gathered for surveillance purposes in order to more effectively assess the health of a community following significant events.

I am interested in opportunities to work with clinical partners to conduct research aimed at improving the health care delivery system and patient outcomes. In work completed during a previous tenure with Geisinger I was involved as a Co-Investigator on the Keystone Beacon project as the lead evaluator for the deployment of a health information exchange and case management of complex health care needs. I also developed, with a clinical partner, an evaluation of an intervention to improve HPV vaccine uptake. I am particularly interested in research that spans traditional health services research models, clinical research and public health. I prefer to work in a multidisciplinary projects. Methodologically my interests include the use of item response analysis to understand differential item functioning and response biases to behavioral health measures. Additionally, I am interested in evaluation design—the use of well-constructed design strategies that link interventions directly to measurable outcomes. I use 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 questions.

Recent Publications

  • Gould DW, Teich JL, Pemberton MR, Pierannunzi C, Larson S. (Jan, 2015). Behavioral health in the gulf coast region following the deepwater horizon oil spill: findings from two federal surveys. J Behav Health Serv Res , 42(1) 6-22. Full Text
  • Rose T, Shields J, Tueller S, and Larson S. (2015, Apr). Religiosity and behavioral health outcomes of adolescents living in disaster-vulnerable areas. J Relig Health , 54(2): 480-94. Full Text
  • Larson S and Gould DW. (2015, Jan). Introduction to special section: Behavioral health and disasters-planning for the next time. J Behav Health Serv Res , 42(1) 3-5. Full Text
  • Larson SL, Teich J, Hughes A. (2013). Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Behavioral Health in the Gulf Coast Region Following the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, . HHS Publication No. (SMA) 13-4737, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and Cen , Rockville, MD; Atlanta, GA. Full Text
  • Carayon P, Alyousef B, Hoonakker P, Hundt AS, Cartmill R, Tomcavage J, Hassol A, Chaundy K, Larson S, Younkin J, Walker J. (2012). Challenges to care coordination posed by the use of multiple health IT applications. Work , 41 Suppl 1:4468-73. Full Text


MA Sociology, University of Nebraska -- Lincoln, 1993-1994
PhD Sociology, University of Nebraska -- Lincoln, 1995-1999
Postdoctoral Certificate, Psychiatric Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health, 1999-2001

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