Painting of the people from Laura's Grandmother Artist - Carmin Z Simpkins

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As of: 08-28-2016

Laura S. Lorenz, PhD, MA, MEd - Biography

Laura is a researcher, EVALUATOR,  and educator with international experience communicating program, policy, and research impacts for global audiences. Her areas of expertise include qualitative, narrative, and visual research methods, community-based participatory research, lived experience with chronic conditions, disability policy, and translation of research findings to programming interventions and continuing education for healthcare professionals. Recent studies include a) innovative interventions to improve relational care for people with chronic brain injury, b) cost-effectiveness of residential services and supports for people with chronic brain injury, c) community integration of older adults with chronic brain injury, d) health and functional impacts of exercise for adults with chronic brain injury, e) evaluation of a continuing clinical education program for HIV/AIDS care, and f) lived experience with transitions to community living for adults with chronic brain injury.  She is visiting scholar at the Schneider Institutes for Health Policy, Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University and director of research and education for the non-profit organization Supportive Living.

Since 2004, Laura has been using innovative visual and narrative methods to include patient perspectives with health and healthcare in public policy-making. She became interested in brain injury because her brother, who was a youth hockey player in the 1960s and 70s, had multiple concussions and suffered cognitive and mental health challenges—perhaps as a result. Laura is Research & Education Director for Supportive Living in Lexington, MA. With Supportive Living Laura works with a group of multidisciplinary colleagues to plan and implement research on the physical, cognitive, and social fitness of people with chronic moderate-to-severe ABI.

Prior to getting her PhD, Dr Lorenz worked over 20 years in international development as a photo-journalist, writer, and editor for UNICEF, World Food Programme, CARE, the US Agency for International Development (USAID), and Management Sciences for Health among others. Her assignments often involved encouraging community partnerships, project replication, and behavior change—for example, to improve girls’ access to education. Since 2001 she has used photovoice (a participatory visual method of research) to engage youth, patients, and communities in picturing local problems and strengths and motivating action for change.

She has developed and taught graduate and undergraduate courses (Qualitative Research Methods and Introduction to Social Policy). She mentors students, serves as faculty for independent studies, serves on dissertation committees, and facilitates training workshops.

She has published in peer review journals in health, sociology, brain injury, managed care, and visual studies. She has published two books: Brain Injury Survivors: Narratives of Rehabilitation and Healing (Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2010) under their series  and, as co-editor with Ron Berger, Disability and Qualitative Inquiry: Methods for Rethinking an Ableist World (Ashgate, 2015). Laura has also co-authored a policy issue brief in Massachusetts on the Continuum of care for chronic brain injury, and a national white paper on Harm reduction for out-of-treatment individuals with a grant from the Campaign for a New Drug Policy, Open Society Foundations.

Laura received her PhD in social policy (health policy/health services research) from Brandeis University (2008) and a Master of Education (Instructional Design/Adult Education) from the University of Massachusetts Boston (2001). She holds a BA in English Literature from Bowdoin College

View Laura's Curriculum Vitae for more information about her here.

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Learn about Dr. Lorenz's 2010 book: Brain Injury Survivors: Narratives of Rehabilitation and Healing



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