Laura Lorenz

Visiting Scholar

Laura  Lorenz's photo


Office: Heller-Brown Building 248
Phone: 781-736-3847
Brandeis Directory


Lived experience with health, healthcare, and disability; acquired and traumatic brain injury (a.) translation of research findings to policy and practice, (b.) cost-effectiveness of disability service and programming; military and veterans health; harm reduction; instructional design; dissemination and outreach; facilitation and training; community-based participatory research; qualitative methods.


  • Brandeis University
  • Brandeis University
  • University of Massachusetts, Boston
  • Bowdoin College

Laura Lorenz

Visiting Scholar


Laura is a researcher, evaluator, 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 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. 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, Laura 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.

She has developed and taught graduate and undergraduate courses (Qualitative Research Methods and Introduction to Social Policy). She mentors students, serves as faculty for independent studies, serves on dissertation committees, and facilitates training workshops.

She has published in peer review journals in health, sociology, brain injury, managed care, and visual studies. She has published two books: Brain Injury Survivors: Narratives of Rehabilitation and Healing (Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2010) under their series and, as co-editor with Ron Berger, Disability and Qualitative Inquiry: Methods for Rethinking an Ableist World (Ashgate, 2015). Laura has also co-authored a policy issue brief in Massachusetts on the Continuum of care for chronic brain injury, and 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 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.

Awards and Honors

  • 2016-2017 Research Grant, From the Office of the Provost, Brandeis University, “Research Innovation Awards” (co-PI). Research Innovation Award - Testing Innovative Interventions to Improve Relational Care for People with Chronic Severe Brain Injury (2016 - 2017)
  • Grant for the study "Talking with Pictures: Community Integration of Older Adults with Brain Injury" (2014 - 2015)
  • Research and Travel Grant, Center for German and European Studies, Brandeis University (2012)
  • 2010 Best Workshop Award, Association for Medical Education and Research in Substance Abuse (AMERSA), for "Talking with Pictures: Concepts and Hands-on Experience" (2011)
  • David Strauss Memorial Award, American Congress of Rehabilitation, Brain Injury Interdisciplinary Special Interest Group (2008)
  • PhD Speaker, Fifty-seventh Commencement Exercises, Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University (2008)
  • Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award, Doctoral Training Fellowship in Health Serivces Research and Policy Analysis, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (2007 - 2008)
  • Family Strengthening Grant, Annie E. Casey Foundation, for developing the curriculum "Photovoice: Girls' Vision, Girls' Voices (2002 - 2003)
  • Career Development Grant, Association of American University Women (2000 - 2001)


  • Charrette, AL, Lorenz, LS, Fong, J, O'Neil-Pirozzi, T, Demore-Taber, M.. "Outcomes, supports and barriers related to intensive exercise participation for adults with chronic moderate to severe acquired brain injury. Oral presentation.." 2017 World Congress, International Brain Injury Association (IBIA). New Orleans, Louisiana. March 29 - April 1 2017.
  • Gallagher, D. M., Hirschhorn, L. R., Lorenz, Laura S., Priyatam, P.. "A community of practice for HIV care: Supporting knowledge translation in a regional training initiative." Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions (JCEHP) 37. 1 (2017): 27-36.
  • Lorenz Laura S., Noonan PJ, O’Neil-Pirozzi TM. "Total health for chronic moderate-to-severe brain injury: Maximizing function and quality of life through community-based physical, cognitive and social programming.." 6th Annual Brain Injury Conference, Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts, 2017. Marlborough, MA.. March 30, 2017.
  • Lorenz, Laura S., Ramakrishna, R. "Seeing, listening, and measuring: A student-faculty visual and mixed methods research collaboration to understand community integration of older adults with brain injury. 'My Day Job: Politics and Pedagogy in Academia'." 2016 86th Annual Meeting, Eastern Sociological Society (ESS). Boston Park Plaza, Boston, MA. March 18, 2016.
  • Charrette, A.L., Lorenz, Laura S., Fong, J, O'Neill-Pirozzi, T. M., Demore-Taber, M., Lamson, K. S., Lilley, R.. "Pilot study of intensive exercise on endurance, advanced mobility, and gait speed in adults with chronic severe acquired brain injury. DOI: 10.1080/02699052.2016.1187766. ISSN: 0269-9052." Brain Injury - Informa, Taylor & Francis Early Online. (2016).
  • Demore-Taber, M., Lorenz, Laura S.. "Nuts and bolts of practice-based evidence (PBE) research: Experiences from the field." 2016 Annual Conference, Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts, Marlborough, MA. March 24, 2016.
  • Berger, John and Lorenz, Laura S., ed. Book: Disability and Qualitative Inquiry: Methods for Rethinking an Ableist World. Hardcover 258-Pages ISBN: 978-1472432896. London: Ashgate, 2015.
  • Lorenz, Laura S. and Paiewonsky, Maria. "Chapter-13: Sharing the Results of Visual Methods Research: Participation, Voice, and Empowerment. Hardcover 258-Pages ISBN: 978-1472432896." Disability and Qualitative Inquiry: Methods for Rethinking an Ableist World. Ed. Berger, John and Lorenz, Laura S. London: Ashgate, 2015. PP 209-220.
  • Lorenz, Laura S.. "Book Chapter: Chapter-12: Living with Brain Injury: Participatory Visual Methods and Narrative Analysis. Hardcover 258-Pages ISBN: 978-1472432896, pp 189-207." Disability and Qualitative Inquiry: Methods for Rethinking an Ableist World. Ed. Berger, John and Lorenz, Laura S. London: Ashgate, 2015. pp 189-207.
  • Lorenz, Laura S.. "Book Review: Picturing disability: beggar, freak, citizen, and other photographic rhetoric by." by Robert Bogdan, Martin Elks and James A. Knoll. Visual Studies 2015
  • Lorenz, Laura S.. "Reviewing the Research - Severe brain injury in Massachusetts: Assessing the Continuum of Care (Issue Brief)." Massachusetts Health Policy Forum. Boston, MA. December 10, 2015.
  • Lorenz, Laura S.. "There will be some changes made: A survivor perspective on post-acquired brain injury residential transition." Brain Injury (2015).
  • Lorenz, Laura S.. "Video Review: Extreme by Design." Visual Studies 2015
  • O’Neil-Pirozzi, TM, Lorenz, LS, Demore-Taber, M, Samayoa, S. "There will be some changes made: A survivor perspective on post-acquired brain injury residential transition." Brain Injury Early online. (2015): 1-7.
  • Kolb, B and Lorenz, LS. "Book Chapter - Let’s see: Participatory visual methods in practice. Hardcover 182-Pages ISBN: 978-1936320431." Imaginative Inquiry: Innovative Approaches to Interdisciplinary Research. Ed. C. Fogel, El Quinlan, and A. Quinlan. Palo Alto: Academica Press, 2014. pp. 79-92.
  • Larson, MJ, Mohr, BA, Lorenz, LS, Grayton, C, and Williams, TV. "General and specialist health care utilization in military children of Army service members who are deployed, Hardcover 258-Pages ISBN: 978-1472432896, Chapter 6, (PP 87-110)." Risk and resilience in U.S. military families. vol. 2 Ed. S. M. Wadsworth & D. Riggs. New York: Springer, 2014. pp. 87-110.
  • Lorenz, LS. "Book Chapter: Photovoice in practice: Ensuring safety and encouraging action. Hardcover 448-Pages Chapter 7, ISBN: 978-1412998642." Qualitative Research for the Social Sciences. Ed. Lichtman, M. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, Inc., 2014. pp. 173-178.
  • Larson, MJ and Lorenz, LS. Upstream Opportunities for Reducing the Harm of Alcohol and Drug Use. Waltham, MA Institute for Behavioral Health, Brandeis University: 2013.
  • Lorenz, Laura S.. "Book Chapter: A Way into Empathy: A 'Case' of Photo-Elicitation in Illness Research. Hardcover 448-Pages Vol. IV, Chapter 55, (pp 84-100), ISBN: 978-1446241028." SAGE Visual Methods. vol. Vol IV Ed. Hughes, Jason. London: SAGE Publications, 2012. pp 84-100.
  • Lorenz, LS and Chilingerian, JA. "Using visual and narrative methods to achieve fair process in clinical care. Issue 48, e2342; doi: 10.3791/2342 (Video )." JoVE - Journal of Visualized Experiments (2011).
  • Lorenz, LS. "A way into empathy: A 'case' of photo-elicitation in illness research." health: An Interdisciplinary Journal for the Social Study of Health, Illness and Medicine 15. 2 (2011): 259-276.
  • Lorenz, LS. "Discovering a new identity after brain injury." Sociology of Health and Illness 32. 6 (2010): 862-879.
  • Lorenz, LS. "Visual metaphors of living with brain injury: Exploring and communicating lived experience with an invisible injury." Visual Studies 25. 3 (2010): 210-223.
  • Lorenz, LS. Book: Brain Injury Survivors: Narratives of Rehabilitation and Healing. Hardcover 200-Pages ISBN: 978-1588267283. Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2010.
  • Lorenz, LS and Kolb, B. "Involving the public through participatory visual research methods." Health Expectations 12. (2009): 262-274.