Julia E. Szymczak, PhD

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Julia E. Szymczak, PhD

Assistant Professor of Epidemiology

Julia E. Szymczak, PhD is a medical sociologist with expertise in the social and cultural determinants of decision-making and behavior in healthcare organizations. Through her research, she seeks to achieve two overarching goals: (1) generate knowledge about the social mechanisms that produce safe, high quality, and equitable healthcare and (2) apply that knowledge to the design and implementation of interventions that improve patient outcomes, minimize unintended consequences, and are sustainable.

She is an internationally recognized expert on the sociobehavioral dynamics that shape antimicrobial use across clinical contexts in human and veterinary medicine and in the application of implementation science frameworks to research in antimicrobial stewardship. She has served in expert advisory roles on these topics for the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA), Infectious Diseases Society of America, the United States (U.S.) Presidental Advisory Council on Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria, Pew Charitable Trust, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), American Academy of Pediatrics, and NORC at the University of Chicago. She is a highly sought-after speaker, and has delivered over 70 talks about antimicrobials to diverse groups, including hospitals, patient safety associations, departments of public health, universities and patient stakeholder groups.

Dr. Szymczak’s research on antimicrobials and stewardship has been funded by AHRQ, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute. Her peer-reviewed scholarship has appeared in journals such as Clinical Infectious Diseases, Annals of Internal Medicine, JAMA Pediatrics, Social Science and Medicine, Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, Veterinary Record, and Mayo Clinic Proceedings. She has received numerous accolades for her research, most recently, the SHEA Research Scholar Award for work measuring the prevalence and predictors of burnout in antimicrobial stewardship personnel across U.S. hospitals.

She serves as the Associate Director for Social Science Methods in Healthcare Delivery Science in the Center for Pediatric Clinical Effectiveness at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), an elected member of the Medical Faculty Senate at the Perelman School of Medicine, a Senior Scholar in the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and is an Associate Editor of BMJ Quality and Safety. She is also an award-winning teacher and mentor, who strives to train clinical scholars in social science theory-informed methodology aimed at generating knowledge about ways to improve healthcare delivery.

Dr. Szymczak completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Division of Infectious Diseases at CHOP, holds Ph.D. and A.M. degrees in sociology from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. in sociology, summa cum laude, from Brandeis University.

Content Area Specialties

Medical sociology, hospital epidemiology, implementation science, patient safety and quality improvement, antimicrobial stewardship, infection prevention and control

Methodology Specialties

Ethnography, in-depth interviewing, qualitative content analysis, computer-assisted qualitative data analysis

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