Profile: Eric Larson

Eric H. Larson, Senior Research Scientist, MEDEX Northwest Physician Assistant Training Program, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA. Eric’s major research interests are in rural health workforce analysis, the roles of non-physician clinicians such as physician assistants (PAs) and nurse practitioners (NPs) in the workforce, perinatal outcomes, and access to care for rural and underserved populations.

Eric Larson grew up Minneapolis, Minnesota and earned his B.A. in Geography from the University of Minnesota. He completed the M.S. program in medical geography at the University of Calgary in 1985. A few years later he entered the Ph.D. program in Geography at the University of Washington in Seattle, working under the supervision of Jonathan Mayer. He completed his Ph.D. in 1995. A brief stint as a research assistant in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Washington grew into a full-time job with the Washington-Wyoming-Alaska-Montana-Idaho (WWAMI) Rural Health Research Center, and later with the WWAMI Center for Health Workforce Studies, working in both cases with Gary Hart. He was Deputy Director of the Rural Health Research Center from 1998 until 2006. While at the Rural Health Research Center, Eric published numerous papers on access to care for rural residents, perinatal and surgical outcomes in rural areas, the distribution and composition of the rural health workforce, methods for estimating available care in rural settings, and the contribution of PAs and NPs to primary care. His work has been published in Social Science and Medicine, the Journal of Rural Health, the American Journal of Public Health, Health Services Research and other journals. In 2003, he was the lead author of a monograph profiling the rural health workforce in the United States. In 2006, he entered his present position. At MEDEX, he is continuing to work on health workforce related research, including the continuing evolution of roles for PAs in U.S. health care and the internationalization of the physician assistant concept and its application in the less-developed world.

Eric may be reached at

Updated: December 2007