Julia E. Szymczak, PhD

Associate Director, Social Science Methods in Healthcare Delivery

Julia E. Szymczak is the Associate Director, Social Science Methods in Healthcare Delivery at the Center for Pediatric Clinical Effectiveness (CPCE) at CHOP and an Assistant Professor of Epidemiology and Medicine (Infectious Diseases) at the Perelman School of Medicine. She is a medical sociologist with expertise in symbolic interactionism, organizational change, the sociology of professions, and ethnography. Through her research, she seeks to achieve two goals: (1) generate knowledge about the social mechanisms that produce safe, high quality, and equitable healthcare and (2) apply that knowledge to the design and implementation of interventions that improve patient outcomes, minimize unintended consequences, and are sustainable.

Dr. Szymczak is an internationally recognized expert on the sociobehavioral dynamics that shape antimicrobial use across clinical contexts in human and veterinary medicine and in the application of implementation science frameworks to research in antimicrobial stewardship. She has served in expert advisory roles on these topics for the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA), Infectious Diseases Society of America, the United States (U.S.) Presidental Advisory Council on Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria, Pew Charitable Trust, American Academy of Pediatrics, and NORC at the University of Chicago. She is a highly sought-after speaker, and has delivered over 70 talks about antimicrobials to diverse groups, including hospitals, patient safety associations, departments of public health, universities and patient stakeholder groups.

Dr. Szymczak’s research has been funded by AHRQ, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute. Her peer-reviewed scholarship has appeared in journals such as Clinical Infectious Diseases, Annals of Internal Medicine, JAMA Pediatrics, Social Science and Medicine, Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, and Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

She enjoys collaborating on team science projects that integrate theory-informed qualitative methodology to answer complex questions about process and the influence of context on outcomes with Investigators across the School of Medicine. Dr. Szymczak is an elected member of the Medical Faculty Senate, a Senior Scholar in the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and is an Associate Editor of BMJ Quality and Safety. She is also an award-winning teacher and mentor, who strives to train clinical scholars in social science theory-informed methodology aimed at generating knowledge about ways to improve healthcare delivery.

Dr. Szymczak completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Division of Infectious Diseases at CHOP, holds Ph.D. and A.M. degrees in sociology from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. in sociology, summa cum laude from Brandeis University.