Samantha Harden, an associate professor in Virginia Tech's Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, has been appointed by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute as a member of its Advisory Panel on Clinical Effectiveness and Decision Science. PCORI is an independent, nonprofit organization authorized by Congress to fund research that will provide patients, caregivers, and clinicians with the evidence-based information needed to make better-informed health care decisions.

Harden will join other members of the panel in applying her experience and expertise to helping PCORI refine and prioritize the research it funds. She will also ensure that the research PCORI supports centers on the outcomes that matter to patients and other health care decision makers.  She was selected on the basis of her experience, expertise, and ability to contribute to the panel’s mission. Panel members represent a broad range of health care stakeholder groups and perspectives, including patients, family caregivers, clinicians, drug and device makers, and researchers, among others.

For the past decade, Harden has been part of a number of research-practice partnerships that leverage expertise across health care, patients, providers, and community-based agents of change (e.g., teachers, instructors, para professionals). These relationships, as well as the process and products of knowledge-sharing, continue to shape the trajectory of their shared research priorities. Harden said that these exchanges keep her in touch with why she is an academic in the first place.

As a registered yoga instructor and academic, Harden uses science and the personal experience of “clients, participants, and myself” to promote that being active can change lives by avoiding chronic disease, feeling better in body and mind, and maintaining or finding a better quality of life. Harden’s experiences across a broad range of systems serving a variety of target audiences, paired with her expertise in dissemination and implementation science, gives her a lens that will serve the CEDS advisory panel in its mission and vision.

More information about CEDS, including its scope of work and a list of all members, is available on the PCORI website.