Pamela Davidson

Type of Faculty: 
Full Time
Appointment Title: 
Adjunct Professor, Department of Health Policy and Management
Leader, CTSI-Evaluation Core, UCLA Clinical and Translational Science Institute
Co-Director, NIH Diversity Program Consortium, Center for Coordination and Evaluation (CEC) at UCLA
Address: 
10833 Le Conte Avenue Room 16-131 CHS Los Angeles, CA 90095-7396
310.794.4182
Biographical Information: 

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.

Research Areas

  • Evaluation Design and Methods
  • Leadership and Career Development
  • Organizational Climate and Org Performance 
  • Strategic Planning
  • Systems Thinking/Research
  • Conceptualizing, measuring and analyzing effects of the Contextual Variables on individual and population health behaviors and health outcomes
  • Policy, delivery system, programmatic and population determinants of access to medical care and health disparities

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

Education: 
BS, Biological Sciences, University of North Carolina, 1983
MS, Health Sciences, CSULB, 1988
PhD, Health Services Policy & Management, UCLA, 1995
Selected Courses: 
Practices of Evaluation in Health Policy and Management
Organization and Management Processes
Health Systems and Organizations
Selected Publications: 

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.

  1. Davidson PL, Cunningham, WE, Nakazono, TT, Andersen, RM.  Evaluating the effect of usual source of dental care on access to dental services: Comparisons among diverse populations.  Medical Care Research and Review, March 1999, 56(1): 74-93.
  2. Davidson PL, Andersen RM.  Dental care utilization patterns in USA ethnic minority groups, Advances in Dental Research, 1997, 11(2): 254-262.
  3. Davidson PL, Rams TE, Andersen RM. Socio-behavioral determinants of oral hygiene practices among ethnic and age groups, Advances in Dental Research, 1997, 11(2):245-53.
  4. Reifel N, Davidson PL, Rana H and Nakazono TT.  ICS-II USA research locations: Environmental, dental care delivery system and population characteristics, Advances in Dental Research, 1997, 11(2): 210-216.

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.   

  1. Davidson PL, Andersen RM, Wyn R, Brown ER.  “A framework for evaluating effects of safety net and other community-level factors on access to health care. Inquiry 2004, 41(1):21-38.
  2. Brown ER, Davidson PL, Wyn R, Andersen RM, Razack N.  “Effects of Safety Net and Other Community Factors on Access to Care for Low-Income Adults in Large Urban Communities. Inquiry, 2004, 41(1): 39-56.
  3. Davidson P.L., Bastani, R.B., Nakazono, T.T., Carreon, D.C.  “The Role of Community Risk Factors and Resources on Breast Cancer Stage at Diagnosis.”  Cancer. 2005 Mar 1;103(5):922-30.
  4. Davidson, PL, Carreon, DC, Baumeister, S, Nakazono, TT, Gutierrez, JA,  Afifi, AA, Andersen, RM. Influence of Contextual Environment and Community-Based Dental Education On Practice Plans of Graduating Seniors. J Dent Educ, 2007, 71(3): 403-18.

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.

  1. Davidson, P.L., Nakazono, T.T., Afifi, A., Gutierrez, J.J. Methods for evaluating change in community-based dental education. J Dent Educ 2009;73 (2 Suppl/Feb): S37-51.
  2. Davidson, P.L., Nakazono, T.T., Carreon, D.C., Bai, J., Afifi, A. Practice Plans of Dental School Graduating Seniors: Effects of the Pipeline Program. J Dent Educ 2009;73 (2 Suppl/Feb): S283-296.
  3. Andersen, RM, Davidson, PL, Atchison, KA, Crall, JJ, Friedman, JA, Hewlett, ER, Thind, A. Summary and Implications of the Dental Pipeline Program Evaluation. J Dent Educ 2009;73 (2 Suppl/Feb): S319-330.
  4. Davidson, PL, Nakazono, TT, Carreon, DC, Gutierrez, JJ, Shahedi, S, Andersen, RM. Reforming dental workforce education and practice in the USA. European J Dent Educ, 2011, 15: 73-79.
  5. Tran, T., Bowman-Carpio, L., Buscher, N., Ford, J.J., Jenkins, E., Kalay, H., Nakazono, T., Sak, R., Shin, I., Davidson, P.   Collaboration in Action: Measuring and improving contracting performance in the University of California Contracting Network. Research Management review, Vol 21, Number 1 (2016).
  6. Van Draanen, J. Davidson, P., Bour-Jordan, H., Bowman-Carpio, L., Boyle, D., Dubinett, S., Gardner, B., Gardner, J., McFall, C., Mercola, D., Nakazono, T.,l Soares, S., Stoppler, H., Tempero, M., Vandenberg, S., Wan, Y-J.Y., Dry, S. Assessing researcher needs for a virtual biobank. Biopreservation and Biobanking, 2016 (in-press) DOI: 10.1089/bio.2016.0009).

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