The Epidemiology, Policy, Implementation Lab (EPI Lab) was established in 2021 at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA under the leadership of Chelsea L. Shover, PhD. Trained as an epidemiologist, Dr. Shover has worked in academic research, government, and community clinics, all of which inform her team’s approach to urgent and complex public health problems. Research areas include overdose, substance use disorders, infectious diseases, and homelessness. The lab’s work unites quantitative data analysis with community based participatory research. Projects across the lab’s three pillars include:
Epidemiology: Aggregating existing data to improve understanding of addiction and overdose in the United States, including the spread of fentanyl west of the Mississippi River, and emerging psychoactive substances (e.g., isotonitazene) and adulterants (e.g. xylazine). "Predicting fatal and non-fatal overdose in Los Angeles County with Rapid Overdose Surveillance Dashboard to target street-based addiction treatment and harm reduction services" is an R01 funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse from 2022-2027 with MPI David Goodman-Meza, MD, MAS.
Policy: As a Commissioner on the Stanford-Lancet Commission on the North American Opioid Crisis, Dr. Shover conducted original analyses for the commission report published in 2022. She has briefed national and international audiences on emerging issues related to opioids and overdose. Early in 2021, data and briefings from EPI lab helped secure an additional 100,000 doses of naloxone targeted for unhoused people in Los Angeles to be distributed by community agencies.
Implementation: In 2021, Dr. Shover and EPI lab research staff led a same-day unhoused peer vaccine ambassador project, which was featured on the front page of the Los Angeles Times. This project's visibility garnered national training and technical assistance opportunities to disseminate lessons learned for other jurisdictions working to implement vaccine ambassadors.