Laura P. Sands has joined Virginia Tech's Center for Gerontology as a full professor in the Department of Human Development in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.

Sands is one of 27 new tenure-track faculty members at the college this fall. The new hires are part of the college’s ongoing efforts to attract renowned scholars to strengthen and expand its teaching, research, and engagement programs. The college has added more than 100 full-time permanent faculty members in the past four years.

Sands' research focuses on improving the efficiency and effectiveness of care pathways for vulnerable older adults. Her funded research describes downstream healthcare utilization among older adults who do not receive sufficient help for their disabilities, how resilience influences healthcare utilization among older adults exposed to a disaster, and risks for poor outcomes among older surgical patients. 

Trained in quantitative psychology and biostatistics, Sands links survey, electronic health record, and medical claims data to identify modifiable drivers of older adults’ healthcare outcomes.

Her research has been funded by organizations including the National Institute on Aging, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Veterans Affairs Health Services Research and Development Service, the Alzheimer's Association.

Sands has published more than a hundred articles in peer-reviewed journals, including Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, Journals of Gerontology: Medical Sciences, Statistics in Medicine, The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, The Gerontologist, Health Informatics Journal, and Medical Care.

Previously, Sands was the Katherine Birck Professor of Nursing and the director of research for the School of Nursing at Purdue University. She holds a Ph.D., master's degree and bachelor's degree from the University of California, Berkeley.