Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine.
Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Carol M. Ashton

Carol M. Ashton, M.D., M.P.H.

Carol M. Ashton, M.D., M.P.H.

Co-Director, Center for Outcomes Research
Full Member
Houston Methodist Research Institute

Member, Health Policy and Outcomes Research Group
Methodist Institute for Technology, Innovation, and Education
John F., Jr. and Carolyn Bookout Professor of Surgical Quality and Outcomes Science
Houston Methodist Hospital

Research Professor of Medicine in Surgery
Weill Cornell Medical College of Cornell University

E-mail: cashton@houstonmethodist.org
Phone: 713-441-6310
Fax: 713-790-3085


B.A.   The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX
M.D.   The University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX
M.P.H.   The University of Texas School of Public Health, Houston, TX

Postdoctoral Training

Internal Medicine Internship and Residency, Baylor Affiliated Hospitals, Houston, TX
Visiting Research Fellowship, Unit of Healthcare Epidemiology, Department of Public Health and Primary Care, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
Visiting Research Fellowship, Center for Health Economics and Policy Analysis, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Visiting Research Fellowship, Center for Health and Social Policy, LBJ School of Public Policy, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX



Dr. Carol Ashton joined Houston Methodist Hospital in 2008. Prior to that time, she held faculty positions at the University of Alabama School of Medicine in Birmingham and Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. Her research has been supported by the National Institutes of Health, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Veterans Health Administration Research and Development Service, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. While at Baylor, she helped establish a highly productive center of excellence in health services research and served as its director from 1998 to 2006. This center was funded by the Veterans Health Administration.

In 2004, Dr. Ashton received the VA Under-Secretary for Health’s Award for Outstanding Lifetime Achievement in Health Services Research. She has served as Co-Editor-in-Chief of Medical Care, one of the nation’s top-tier health services research journals, and has served on numerous federal and nonfederal grant application review panels. Along with co-author Nelda P. Wray, Dr. Ashton has recently completed a book titled “Comparative Effectiveness Research: Evidence, Policy, and Interests,” published by Oxford University Press in 2013.

Description of Research

Dr. Ashton studies health services research. She has an extensive record of scholarship in the field related to topics such as access to care, assessment of patterns and outcomes of care, and comparative effectiveness in evaluation of new technologies and procedures.

Major areas of research

The diffusion of surgical innovations, the ethics and methods of clinical trials evaluating surgical procedures, clinical outcomes improvement

Recent Publications

Brody BA, Ashton CM, Liu D, Xiong Y, Yao X, Wray NP. Are surgical trials with negative results being interpreted correctly? J Am Coll Surg. 2013 Jan;216(1):158-66.  PMID: 23177270

Wenner DM, Brody BA, Jarman AF, Kolman JM, Wray NP, Ashton CM. Do surgical trials meet the scientific standards for clinical trials? J Am Coll Surg. 2012 Nov;215(5):722-30. PMID: 22819638

Jarman AF, Wray NP, Wenner DM, Ashton CM. Trials and tribulations: the professional development of surgical trialists. Am J Surg. 2012 Sep;204(3):339-346.e5. PMID: 22920404

Kolman JM, Wray NP, Ashton CM, Wenner DM, Jarman AF, Brody BA. Conflicts among multinational ethical and scientific standards for clinical trials of therapeutic interventions. J Law Med Ethics. 2012 Spring;40(1):99-121. PMID: 22458466

Desai RJ, Ashton CM, Deswal A, Morgan RO, Mehta HB, Chen H, Aparasu RR, Johnson ML. Comparative effectiveness of individual angiotensin receptor blockers on risk of mortality in patients with chronic heart failure. Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf. 2012 Mar;21(3):233-40. PMID: 21786364

Ashton CM, Wray NP, Jarman AF, Kolman JM, Wenner DM, Brody BA. A taxonomy of multinational ethical and methodological standards for clinical trials of therapeutic interventions. J Med Ethics. 2011 Jun;37(6):368-73. PMID: 21429960

Ashton CM, Holt CL, Wray NP. A patient self-assessment tool to measure communication behaviors during doctor visits about hypertension. Patient Educ Couns. 2010 Nov;81(2):275-314.  PMID: 20435427

Ashton CM, Houston TK, Williams JH, Larkin D, Trobaugh J, Crenshaw K, Wray NP. A stories-based interactive DVD intended to help people with hypertension achieve blood pressure control through improved communication with their doctors. Patient Educ Couns. 2010 May;79(2):245-50.  PMID: 19833472.

Ashton CM, Wray NP, Jarman AF, Kolman JM, Wenner DM, Brody BA. Ethics and methods in surgical trials. J Med Ethics. 2009 Sep;35(9):579-83.  PMID: 19717699 

Houston TK, Ford DE, Sadasivam RS, Ray MN, Allison JJ, Kohler CL, Ashton CM. Overcoming limits to tobacco control: using the internet to bridge clinical and public health interventions. AMIA Annu Symp Proc. 2008 Nov 6:977.