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

About The Author


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As of: 03-25-2015

Laura S. Lorenz, PhD, MA, MEd - Biography - About The Author

Laura is a researcher and educator with international experience communicating program, policy, and research impacts for global audiences. Her areas of expertise include qualitative research methods, narrative and visual research, community-based participatory research, lived experience with chronic conditions, disability policy, advocacy, and translation of research findings to interventions and continuing education. Recent studies include a) community integration of older adults with chronic acquired brain injury (ABI), b) health and functional impacts of exercise for adults with chronic moderate-to-severe ABI, c) cost-effectiveness of residential services and supports for adults with chronic moderate-to-severe ABI, d) an evaluation of continuing education programs for HIV/AIDS clinicians, e) a training needs assessment of Medical Case Managers for HIV/AIDS clients, and f) lived experience with transitions to community living for adults with chronic moderate-to-severe ABI. 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.

Laura teaches and mentors students, and leads photovoice training workshops. Her book Brain Injury Survivors: Narratives of Rehabilitation and Healing was published in 2010 by Lynne Rienner Publishers under their series Disability in Society. She has published in peer review journals in the fields of health, sociology, and visual studies. Laura received her PhD in social policy 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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