Assistant Professor of Epidemiology: Dr. Ashcraft, PhD, MSW

Assistant Professor of Epidemiology: Dr. Ashcraft, PhD, MSW

Jan. 2, 2024. Please join us in welcoming LauraEllen Ashcraft, PhD, MSW to the Department of Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Informatics as an Assistant Professor of Epidemiology. Dr. Ashcraft completed a PhD in Social Work (2021) with a focus on implementation science in chronic pain management in primary care settings, and a Master of Social Work with concentrations in community organizing and social administration (2013), from the University of Pittsburgh. Her interest and expertise in implementation science began during her time at the University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Critical Care Medicine, where she observed the need for better dissemination and implementation of research findings into practice. During her doctoral program, she established an implementation science training program, which resulted in the publication of two highly cited systemic reviews – on parent empowerment in pediatric healthcare settings and effective dissemination strategies to U.S. policymakers – and her co-founding of the Pittsburgh Dissemination and Implementation Science Collaborative (Pitt DISC) in 2019, which is currently comprised of more than 150 researchers in Pittsburgh and beyond.  

In 2021, Dr. Ashcraft joined the University of Pennsylvania as a Senior Research Investigator in the Division of General Internal Medicine. Her current research is funded primarily through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, where she leads implementation science efforts and methodological innovations in two large-scale implementation trials: “Implementing the Age-friendly Health System in VHA: Using Evidence-based Practice to Improve Outcomes in Older Adults” (SAGE QUERI) and “Handoffs and Transitions in Critical Care: Understanding Scalability” (HATRICC-US). Dr. Ashcraft is a co-Investigator and the implementation science methodologist on the recently funded AMETHIST@Penn Implementation Science Hub. She has published a number of impactful peer-reviewed articles (16 manuscripts with 4 as the first author) in high-impact journals, including Implementation Science, Journal of Clinical and Translational Science, and Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.  

In her new faculty position, Dr. Ashcraft plans to establish an independent, federally-funded implementation science research program and support the development of implementation science infrastructure within the department to ensure the success of current and future research, education, and mentorship initiatives. Her expertise in implementation science and her collaborative research experience in clinical settings, including the University of Pennsylvania Health System and the Veterans Affairs, will be integral to numerous research programs at Penn that involve clinical or community-based epidemiology. 

About Us

To understand health and disease today, we need new thinking and novel science —the kind  we create when multiple disciplines work together from the ground up. That is why this department has put forward a bold vision in population-health science: a single academic home for biostatistics, epidemiology and informatics. 

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