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

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As of: 03-28-2030

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

Laura is a researcher and educator with international experience communicating program, policy, and research impacts for global audiences. Her areas of expertise qualitative research methods (visual methods in particular), community-based participatory research, lived experience with chronic conditions, cost-effectiveness of rehabilitation services, disability policy, and translation of research findings to programming, policy, and continuing professional education. From 2012 to 2017 she was director of research and education at the nonprofit Supportive Living Inc., where she worked with 14 interdisciplinary colleagues to plan and implement a program of research on physical, cognitive, and social health of people with chronic brain injury residing in group homes in the community and develop an internship program hosting over 30 students per year. In 2015 Laura co-authored a policy brief on the continuum of care for severe brain injury in Massachusetts for the Massachusetts Health Policy Forum. In 2019 she co-authored a second issue brief for MHPF on a policy analysis of the cost-effectiveness of access t rehabilitation services after an acquired brain injury requiring hospitalization

Since 2001, Laura has been using participatory visual methods (Photovoice, photo-elicitation, graphic narratives) to engage youth, patients, and communities in picturing local problems and strengths and contributing their voices to public policy-making. While affiliate faculty at the Center on Disability Studies at the University of Hawaii at Manoa she developed an online professional development course “Talking with Pictures: Photovoice.” She now offers Photovoice professional development training online and in-person through her small business PHOTOVOICEWORLDWIDE LLC. Since January 2019, more than 150 individuals have been trained, with continuing education credits approved for four clinical disciplines. Laura has developed and taught graduate and undergraduate courses (Qualitative Research Methods and Introduction to Social Policy). She also mentors students, is faculty for independent studies, and serves on dissertation committees.

Prior to her graduate studies, Laura worked over 20 years in international development as a photo-journalist, writer, and editor for UNICEF, World Food Programme, CARE, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and Management Sciences for Health among others. She published dozens of articles on their programs to encourage community partnerships, project replication, and behavior change—for example, to improve girls’ access to education. For six years she was a managing editor of The Manager, a quarterly continuing education publication for health program managers in Africa, Asia, and Latin America and wrote the associated teaching scenarios.

Laura has published in peer review journals in disability, health, brain injury, managed care, research involvement and engagement, sociology, visual education, and visual studies. She has published two books: Brain Injury Survivors: Narratives of Rehabilitation and Healing (Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2010) under their series Disability in Society and, as co-editor with Ron Berger, Disability and Qualitative Inquiry: Methods for Rethinking an Ableist World (Ashgate, 2015). She is currently co-authoring a chapter for a visual studies book by faculty at the University of Vienna and a chapter on visual ethnography for the forthcoming Handbook of Ethnography in Healthcare Research to be published by Routledge in 2020. 

Laura has co-authored two policy issue briefs in Massachusetts Health Policy Forum, one on the Continuum of care for chronic brain injury (Issue Brief No. 45, 2015) and most recently
A policy analysis of access to post-acute rehabilitation services for people with acquired brain injury in Massachusetts and beyond (Issue Brief No. 50, 2020)., as well as 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.

-  For more information on Laura's Books and Book Chapters click here.

-  For more information on Laura's Presentations, Papers, etc click here.

Click here for Laura's

  Heller School for Social Policy - Faculty Profile

  Brandeis University -
Faculty Profile



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Learn about Laura's: Brain Injury Survivors: Narratives of Rehabilitation and Healing, Disability and Qualitative Inquiry: Methods for Rethinking an Ableist World, and other books here.

Homepage | Bio | Books | Curriculum Vitae | Presentations & Papers | Research & Other Projects | Lectures & Workshops

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