Dr. Sears specializes in occupational health services research, and in program and policy evaluation. She is Co-Director of the Occupational Health Services Research training program, which is part of the Northwest Center for Occupational Health and Safety, a NIOSH-funded Education and Research Center (ERC). She has evaluated the impact of legislation expanding the role of nurse practitioners and physician assistants in the workers' compensation system, as well as policy changes to the vocational rehabilitation system for injured workers. Her current research is focused on investigating the potential for expanded use of existing data resources that have been underutilized for occupational injury surveillance and outcomes research, such as the Washington State Trauma Registry. She is studying methodological issues such as approaches to measuring injury severity in administrative data sets, and the relationship between injury severity and occupational injury trend estimates. She is also involved in assessing the health and cost-related outcomes of interventions related to substance abuse and harm reduction.