Lesley Watson, PhD

Director, Research and Evaluation

Lesley Watson, PhD, is director of research and evaluation in the Statistics and Evaluation Center at the American Cancer Society. She is a qualitative data collection and analysis expert, and oversees and conducts evaluations of community-based pilot programs for cancer prevention and early detection.

Dr. Watson manages process evaluations for two pilot programs. The first aims to increase lung cancer screening rates, with funding from the Bristol Meyers Squib Foundation. The second pilot program, funded by the Pfizer Foundation, focuses on improving support for women as they transition through breast cancer screening, diagnosis, and treatment. She also consults on qualitative research design, instrument development, and analysis for other projects throughout the Center.

Prior to joining the Society in 2016, Dr. Watson worked for a public health consulting organization where she evaluated large, federally-funded, programs in HIV/AIDs prevention and treatment, chronic disease prevention, mental health, and cancer survivorship. She also served as a leader in qualitative and mixed methods design, analysis, and professional development for the organization.

A graduate of Emory University with a Doctorate in Sociology, Dr. Watson has nearly 10 years of experience designing and conducting qualitative and mixed methods studies. Her research and evaluation expertise includes cross-sectional and longitudinal statistical analysis, qualitative comparative analysis, and qualitative methods and analysis using in-depth interviews, focus groups, and participant observation. She has experience conducting research and evaluation studies and providing training and technical assistance in the United States and international settings.

Her publications include theoretical contributions to the social psychology of legitimacy and justice, and empirical evaluations of organizational sustainability initiatives.  

Contact:  lesley.watson@cancer.org