The opportunity to do research in pediatric chronic illness with Dr. Ed Wagner brought me to Group Health in 1994, and I've been at the Research Institute in one way or another ever since. I joined GHP (now the Washington Permanente Medical Group) as a pediatrician and medical director in 2011. An integrated health system like ours that provides care and coverage, partners with a multispecialty medical group, and aligns all parts of the system to do what's right for patients—this kind of system is our best hope for solving the health care crisis in the US. I was born in Boston to Argentine immigrants and was raised in a multi-generational Spanish-speaking home. My husband and I moved to Seattle almost 30 years ago for what was supposed to be a three-year stint as residents in pediatrics (me) and internal medicine (him). We loved it here and stayed. Despite being East Coast transplants, we've managed to raise three truly Pacific Northwest kids. I enjoy hiking, open water swimming, and boisterous kitchen table conversations.
My health care career began at a large Federally Qualified Health Center in Chicago where I came to understand the power and import of organized, affordable primary care‐based systems. After completing my master's degree in 2006, I moved to Seattle to work with Dr. Ed Wagner at Group Health to explore what it takes to make practice transformation happen. Now, with Kaiser Permanente, I hope to help leverage our reach and knowledge to benefit our members and the communities in which they—and we—live and work. My husband and I are the proud parents of two rowdy boys, born with the fantastic midwives at Family Beginnings. I enjoy adventuring with my family—be it exploring neighborhood gems or hiking in our glorious surroundings. With family ties to commercial fishing, the Fisherman's Terminal in Ballard is one of our favorite local hangouts.
Group Health/Kaiser Permanente is synonymous with home and family. I have been a member my entire life. My mom, a nurse, worked at Group Health when I was a child, and I began working at the Research Institute in 2000. I am married to WPMG PA-C, Amy Mohelnitzky. Growing up—and to this day—conversations around the dinner table are frequently about health care. It is my unwavering belief that having access to high-quality health care is a fundamental human right. I want to be a part of an organization that is trying to improve the health care system and the health of our communities. The best thing about living in the Pacific Northwest is the easy access to both mountains and water. Year-round I take every opportunity to enjoy outdoor activities with my family, from biking to skiing.
I came to Kaiser Permanente in 2018 specifically to support and expand the Learning Health System (LHS) Program. Prior to this position, I worked in both academic research and in clinical quality. With research, I found the pace of the work and the dissemination and integration of findings to be too slow—but in clinical quality, I found a lack of rigor, evaluation, focus, and meaningful metrics to be frustrating. The LHS Program aims to strike a balance between rigorous research and rapid quality improvement. I'm grateful for the opportunity to help build an operational Learning Health System that seamlessly and rapidly integrates evidence-based practices into care to improve people's lives at a time when they need it most. I enjoy new experiences of all kinds, exploring, entrepreneurship, and epic adventures. My most recent endeavor is parenthood with my wonderful husband and our 18-month old girl. It is the most epic adventure yet.
Born in Missouri and raised overseas in Saudi Arabia and Singapore, I have lived and worked in Washington State since 1998—holding executive administrative support positions in corporate hospitality and a nonprofit land trust before landing at the Research Institute in 2011 as a Research Support Specialist to Immunization Studies. When my husband applied and enrolled at the WSU College of Veterinary Medicine in Pullman, I took leave from my Seattle job and pursued a temporary career in fashion sales and photography that allowed me to work predominantly from home. After my husband attained his DVM in 2015, we returned to the West side of the Cascades and I resumed my tenure at the Institute. We are the proud "parents" of two shelter dogs, Clementine and Bayda, and a cat named Palouse, who was rescued as a newborn kitten from the lilac bush behind our Pullman residence. As a pack, we actively adventure together at every opportunity in this exquisite landscape we call home.
Senior Investigator, KPWHRI; Associate Medical Director for Research and Translation & Physician, Pediatrics, Washington Permanente Medical Group
Director, Learning Health System Program
Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute
One year in, leaders of Kaiser Permanente Washington’s Learning Health System Program describe how research-care delivery partnerships drive continuous learning.
Read it in Healthy Findings.
For more information about Kaiser Permanente Washington's Learning Health System Program, please email us at KPWALHS@kp.org.