Sharon L. Larson, PhD

Headshot of Sharon L. Larson, PhD

Resident Faculty

Executive Director

Dr. Larson is an expert in social and behavioral health research. She works with clinical partners at Main Line Health to conduct research aimed at improving the health care delivery system and patients’ outcomes.

About

  • 2017–Present: Professor and Executive Director, Main Line Health Center for Population Health Research at Lankenau Institute for Medical Research
  • 2021–Present: Associate Dean for Research, Thomas Jefferson University College of Population Health
  • 2017–Present: Research Professor, Thomas Jefferson University College of Population Health
  • 2021–Present: Research Consultant, Geisinger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health
  • 2015–Present: Professor, Geisinger Health
  • 2017–2021: Professor, Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine

Researcher Video

Sharon Larson, PhD, an expert in social and behavioral health research, recently discussed her work with clinical partners at Main Line Health to conduct research aimed at improving the health care delivery system and patients’ outcomes.

Research Descriptions

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.

Research Interests:

  • Health services research
  • Behavioral health
  • Patient outcomes
  • Disparities

Publications

  • Greater number of weekly stairs climbed is associated with lower low back pain prevalence among female but not male physical therapists. Amabile AH, Larson SL, et al. PLoS One. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0292489
  • African American Males Have More Distress During Cancer Treatment Than White Males. Kjelstrom S, Wynn C, Larson S. Am J Mens Health. 2023 May-Jun;17(3):15579883231157978. doi: 10.1177/15579883231157978
  • Building community at work: An exploratory study in healthcare system management. Boyd NM, Larson S. J Community Psychol. 2023 Mar 17. doi: 10.1002/jcop.23027
  • Disparities in neighborhood park access among adults in Philadelphia. McIntire RK, Halstead T, … Buckley M, McGregor K, Larson S. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening. 2022;45. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ufug.2022.127790
  • Organizational cultures that support community: Does the competing values framework help us understand experiences of community at work? Boyd NM, Larson S. J Community Psychol. 2022; 1-21. https://doi.org/10.1002/jcop.22950
  • Risk factors for heightened COVID-19-Related anxiety among breast cancer patients. Shah YB, Kjelstrom S, … Larson S, Weiss M. Cancer Med. 2022 Sep 4. doi: 10.1002/cam4.5184.
  • Outcomes of Abbreviated MRI (Ab-MRI) for Women of any Breast Cancer Risk and Breast Density in a Community Academic Setting. Kennard K, Wang O, Kjelstrom S, Larson S, Sizer LM, Carruthers C, Carter WB, Ciocca R, Sabol J, Frazier TG, Carp NZ. Ann Surg Oncol. 2022 Oct;29(10):6215-6221.
  • Primary Palliative Care Education for Graduate Medical Trainees: Impacts and Needs. Pennarola A, Yoshioka T, … Larson S. Am J Hosp Palliat Care. 2022 May 18:10499091221102141. doi: 10.1177/10499091221102141
  • Computer-Animated Relational Agents in Human Papillomavirus Vaccination Education. Gogoi RP, Wallbillich JJ, … Larson S, et al. Obstet Gynecol. 2022 May 1;139(5):913-915.
  • Racial and socioeconomic disparities in breast cancer diagnosis and mortality in Pennsylvania. Williams AD, Buckley M, Ciocca RM, Sabol JL, Larson SL, Carp NZ. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2022 Feb;192(1):191-200.
  • Characterizing Primary Care for Patients With Major Depressive Disorder Using Electronic Health Records of a US-Based Healthcare Provider. Larson S, Nemoianu A, et al. J Affect Disord. 2022 Mar 1;300:377-384.
  • A Survey of Breast Cancer Patients' Use of Cannabis During Radiation Therapy. Weiss M, Danese S, Ruiz KA, Kjelstrom S, Buckley M, … Larson S, DeNittis AS, et al. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2021 Nov 1;111(3S):e165-e166.
  • A Coala-T-Cannabis Survey Study of breast cancer patients' use of cannabis before, during, and after treatment. Weiss MC, Hibbs JE, Buckley ME, ... Meske SW, Aliano-Ruiz KE, McHugh TW, Larson SL, … Gilman PB, et al. Cancer. 2022 Jan 1;128(1):160-168.
  • COVID-19 Pandemic: Changes in Care for a Community Academic Breast Center and Patient Perception of Those Changes. Kennard K, Williams AD, Goldblatt LG, Buckley ME, Bruce L, Larson S, Carter WB, Lamb EP, Carp NZ, Sizer LM, Frazier TG. Ann Surg Oncol. 2021 Sep;28(9):5071-5081.
  • Yankelevich GR, Dreher PC, Taylor Z, Kim D, Buckley M, Larson S, Belkoff L, Bernstein G, Edwards DC. Socio-Environmental Conditions Associated with Geospatial Clusters of Urothelial Carcinoma: A Multi-Institutional Analysis. J Urol. 2021 Jul 21: doi: 10.1097/JU.0000000000002119
  • Catch-up HPV Vaccination and Subsequent Uptake of Papanicolaou Testing in A State-mandated Health System. Chodick G, Leader AE, Larson S. Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2021 Apr;14(4):415-420.
  • Metabolic Syndrome: does this influence breast cancer outcomes in the triple-negative population? Kennard K, Buckley ME, Sizer LM, Larson S, Carter WB, Frazier TG, Carp NZ. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2021 Jan 3. doi: 10.1007/s10549-020-06034-1.
  • "A Health System’s Interprofessional Approach to Impact Health Equity" in Health Equity and Nursing: Achieving Equity Through Policy, Population Health, and Interprofessional Collaboration, ed. Moss MP, Phillips JM (Springer 2020). Wadsworth B, Mann BD, Onyekere C, Ross S, Smith KF, Roberts S, Larson S.
  • "Interprofessional Training in Developmental and Behavioral Health Within a Pediatric Residency Program: An Organizational Systems Case Study," in Interprofessional Care Coordination for Pediatric Autism Spectrum Disorder, ed. Brunson McClain M, Shahidullah JD, Mezher KR. (Springer, 2020). Shahidullah JD, Kettlewell PW, DeHart KA, Larson SL, Bellino PJ, pg. 437-58.
  • Factors Affecting Electroconvulsive Therapy Ictal Outcomes: Duration and Postictal Suppression. Ingram WM, Weston C, Dar Lu W, … Larson S. AMIA Jt Summits Transl Sci Proc. 2019 May 6:672-79.
  • Caring for trafficked and unidentified patients in the EHR shadows: Shining a light by sharing the data. Katsanis SH, Huang E, Young A, Grant V, Warner E, Larson S, Wagner JK. PLOS ONE 2019 14(3):e0213766.
  • Cervical Cancer Patients’ Willingness and Ability to Serve as Health Care Educators to Advocate for Human Papillomavirus Vaccine Uptake. Ladd IG, Gogoi RP, Bogaczyk TL, Larson SL. Journal of Cancer Education. 2018. Mar 25. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13187-018-1348-2.
  • Defining Priorities to Improve Patient Experience in Non-Muscle Invasive Bladder Cancer. Garg T, Nault Connors J, ... Larson S. Bladder Cancer 2018;4(1): 121-128.
  • An Empirical Approach to Assessing Pediatric Residents' Attitudes, Knowledge and Skills in Primary Care Behavioral Health. Shahidullah JD, Kettlewell PW, DeHart K, Rooney K, Ladd I, Larson SL. Intl J Health Sciences Ed. 2017;4(2):1-14.
  • Reducing Breast Cancer Risk: Why Aren't Providers Screening and Prescribing? Larson SL, Kirchner HK, Wang H. Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety Vol. 25. 2016.
  • Introduction to special section: Behavioral health and disasters-planning for the next time. Larson S, Gould DW. J Behav Health Serv Res. 2015 Jan:42(1) 3-5.
  • Behavioral health in the Gulf Coast region following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill: findings from two federal surveys. Gould DW, Teich JL, Pemberton MR, Pierannunzi C, Larson S. J Behav Health Serv Res. 2015 Jan:42(1) 3-5.
  • Religiosity and behavioral health outcomes of adolescents living in disaster-vulnerable areas. Rose T, Shields J, Tueller S, Larson S. J Relig Health. 2014 Apr:54(2): 480-94.
  • 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, Rockville, MD; Atlanta, GA: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Larson SL, Teich J, Hughes A. 2013.

Education and Training

Education

  • MA, Sociology
    University of Nebraska Lincoln
  • PhD, Sociology
    University of Nebraska Lincoln

Academic Titles

  • 2017–Present: Professor and Executive Director, Main Line Health Center for Population Health Research at Lankenau Institute for Medical Research
  • 2021–Present: Associate Dean for Research, Thomas Jefferson University College of Population Health
  • 2017–Present: Research Professor, Thomas Jefferson University College of Population Health
  • 2021–Present: Research Consultant, Geisinger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health
  • 2015–Present: Professor, Geisinger Health
  • 2017–2021: Professor, Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine