Faculty Research and Expertise
Dr. Pamela Davidson's expertise is in evaluation research design and methods, strategic planning, and leadership and professional development in translational research teams. Approximately 90% of her professional effort is spent in the UCLA research enterprise. For more than two decades she has directed large-scale multisite health services research and evaluation studies and taught graduate courses in ‘Health Services Evaluation’, ‘Organization and Management Processes’, and ‘Health Systems and Organizations’. Her research and professional activities continue to be transdisciplinary in medicine, public health, dentistry, life sciences, management, and nursing. Early in her career as a health services researcher, Dr. Davidson focused on utilization of health services and health outcomes, particularly among underrepresented minority groups. This research generated empirical evidence using methods such as, population based surveys, clinical examinations, and multi-level statistical analysis that could be used to guide policy, programmatic, and delivery system changes to improve access and access outcomes. Her other contributions include conceptualizing, measuring, and analyzing the effects of contextual variables on individual and population health behaviors and health outcomes.
By mid-career, Dr. Davidson gained expertise in applied evaluation research and participated on the leadership team that developed and launched the UCLA Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI). Her studies in organizational change and development coupled with expertise in design and methods are useful in evaluating this large-scale change initiative (competitive renewal awarded 2016-2021). She serves as the director of the CTSI-Evaluation Core and has previously served as a member of the CTSI-Education and KL2 CREST Committees. Currently as the CTSI-Evaluation leader, Dr. Davidson collaborates with members of the national CTSA Program and the UC BRAID regional network [Biomedical Research Acceleration Integration and Development] to evaluate and improve the CTSA hubs and regional and national networks.
In 2014, Dr. Davidson became a Co-Leader of the newly awarded NIH sponsored Diversity Program Consortium Center for Coordination and Evaluation at UCLA (2014-2019). Her professional effort is shared as a co-leader on the CEC and the UCLA Clinical and Translational Science Institute, Evaluation Core. These organizations are complementary. The CTSA Program is developing an integrated network connecting 50+ CTSA hubs for conducting translational science at research intensive academic medical centers nationally. The CTSA Program has the potential for accelerating translational science, improving population health, and contributing as an economic engine to drive biomedical research for the country. The CEC is concerned with promoting diversity in biomedical research to ensure under-represented groups have opportunities to lead and become substantially more represented in the future biomedical workforce.
Honors and Awards
1988: Outstanding Thesis Award, Graduate Dean's List of University Scholars, CSULB
1991: Scholarship, Management and Org Development, UCLA Anderson School
1994: Dissertation Award, Maxicare Research and Educational Foundation
1996: Delta Omega National Honorary Society in Public Health
1998: Chapman University Faculty Research Award
1999: Chapman University Faculty Research Award
2003: Academic Keys, Who's Who in Health Sciences Education (WWHSE)
2008: Upsilon Phi Delta Membership, National Scholastic Honorary Society
2016/17: Faculty Advisor, PILOT: Public Health Initiative Leaders of Tomorrow
1. Dr. Davidson's interest in the policy, delivery system, programmatic and population determinants of access to medical care and health disparities started early in her career with her M.S. thesis, “Health status and utilization of health services among Hispanic and Southeast Asian immigrants in a low socioeconomic neighborhood (1988), and her PhD dissertation, “Ethnicity, Age Cohort, and Dentition Status as Indicators of Dental Services Utilization: Findings from the ICS-II USA Research Locations” (Dissertation Award, 1994-1995). Specifically, her research focused on utilization of health services, health behaviors, and health outcomes, particularly among underrepresented minority groups. Results from socio-environmental analysis, population based surveys, and clinical examinations were used to guide policy, programmatic, and delivery system changes to improve access and access outcomes.
2. In addition to her scientific contributions related to health services and evaluation research, methodologically Dr. Davidson is interested in conceptualizing, measuring and analyzing the effects of contextual variables on individual and population health behaviors and health outcomes. Contextual variables measure the social milieu and physical and economic environment, such as public policy interventions, the structure of the healthcare market and delivery system, and population characteristics that affect access to health insurance, medical care utilization, health behaviors and outcomes. Contextual variables are constructed from existing administrative datasets that reflect geographic units of analysis and are used in multilevel statistical analysis to examine their influence on a broad range of outcomes in medical care and health policy research and can be used to inform the need for macro-level interventions (e.g., policy, delivery system, and programmatic changes) designed to improve health and health care.
In addition to directing the UCLA CTSI-Evaluation Core, the more recent contributions emerging out of this research have been application of Dr. Davidson's expertise in evaluation design and methods to co-lead two large-scale multisite intervention/evaluation studies that examine the individual-, faculty-, programmatic-, institutional-, and policy-level determinants of increasing diversity in the health professions and biomedical workforce. The first was the national evaluation of the “Pipeline, Profession and Practice: Community-Based Dental Education Program (Pipeline Program), jointly sponsored by grants from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The California Endowment (2003-2010). Their National Evaluation Team conducted a multi-methods evaluation in order to examine recruitment of under-represented groups, curriculum revisions, clinical services to the underserved, the decision to practice in settings serving disadvantaged populations, and sustainability of the Pipeline Program. Dr. Davidson was able to bring to bear her expertise in evaluation design and methods (e.g., quasi-experimental design, multiple case study research) to conduct a systematic and comprehensive evaluation study that has significant and far-reaching policy and programmatic implications for the field. Now as Co-Leader and multiple PI on the NIH Diversity Consortium Coordination and Evaluation Center (CEC) at UCLA (2014-2019), her and her team are conducting a similar national evaluation of 10 Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity (BUILD) institutions and the National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN) interventions to promote diversity in biomedical research.
The CEC initiative is complimentary to the UCLA CTSI (described above) -- one developing an integrated network connecting 50+ CTSA hubs for conducting translational research nationally. The CEC is concerned with promoting diversity in biomedical research to ensure under-represented groups have opportunities to lead and become substantially more represented in the future biomedical workforce.