Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute hosts regular seminars where our scientists and collaborators present their research findings.

All are welcome.

Left: Senior Investigator David Arterburn, MD, MPH

Upcoming seminars and events

February 26, 2019

Alcohol Use, Depression Severity and Access to Firearms: Improving Health System Suicide Prevention Initiatives Using Routine Patient-Reported Behavioral Health Monitoring Tools.

Where: Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute, 4–5 p.m., Room 1509A

Speaker: Julie E. Richards, MPH, Research Associate, KPWHRI,PhD Candidate in Health Services, University of Washington School of Public Health


Suicide prevention opportunities are possible in health care systems, because patients often seek care prior to suicide attempt.  Standard questions about alcohol use, depression severity and firearm access may be useful for improving suicide prevention initiatives in the health care setting.  This presentation will describe a series of  quantitative and qualitative analyses designed to: 1. evaluate the short-term risk of suicide attempt associated with different patterns of alcohol use, and 2. identify barriers and facilitators to patient disclosures about suicidality and access to firearms.

Coffee and tea will be provided.

Past Events


November 27, 2018

Sit, Stand or Move: Building the evidence base for sedentary behavior and older adult health.

Where: Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute, 4–5 p.m., Room 1509A

Speaker: Dori Rosenberg, PhD, MPH, Assistant Scientific Investigator, KPWHRI, Affiliate Assistant Professor, University of Washington, Department of Health Services


In this talk, Dr. Rosenberg will describe the current field of sedentary behavior research. She will then describe several studies she developed to reduce sedentary time in older adults. The focus will be on her recently completed pilot randomized controlled trial which sought to better understand the cardiometabolic health impacts of reducing sedentary time among older adults with obesity. 

Coffee and tea will be provided.

November 13, 2018

Maternal and neonatal outcomes following a new approach to identifying gestational diabetes mellitus: a learning health system story

Where: Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute, 4–5 p.m., Room 1509A

Speakers: Gaia Pocobelli, PhD, Research Associate, KPWHRI; Onchee Yu, MS, Biostatistician, KPWHRI; Sharon Fuller, Programmer, KPWHRI; Susan Warwick, MD, Obstetrician/Gynecologist, WPMG Medical Director of Professional Development and Wellness, Kaiser Permanente Washington


Routine screening for gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) in pregnancy reduces risks of adverse maternal and neonatal outcomes but the best screening approach remains unclear.  The traditional approach is a two-step process: a screening test followed by a diagnostic test in women who screen positive. In 2010, a key international organization endorsed a one-step process: a diagnostic test given to all women. This approach has a lower threshold for diagnosis but whether it improves outcomes for women and their infants is not yet settled.  In 2011 Kaiser Permanente Washington (KPWA) issued a new clinical guideline recommending providers switch from the two-step to the one-step approach. We conducted a before-after cohort study of women enrolled in KPWA who had a singleton live birth delivery during 2009-2014.  We compared a wide range of perinatal outcomes before (01/2009-03/2011) and after (04/2012-12/2014) the guideline change among women who received prenatal care from providers internal to KPWA.  We also made this comparison among women who received prenatal care from external providers (not exposed to the guideline change) to control for time trends in the outcomes that were unrelated to the guideline change.  In this seminar, we describe our findings and our delivery system’s response to them

Coffee and tea will be provided.

October 23, 2018

Innovation is our DNA: How Human Centered Design helps drive innovation across Kaiser Permanente.

Where: Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute, 4–5 p.m., Room 1509A

Speaker: Brian Clark, Experience Designer, Kaiser Permanente’s National Marketing & Digital Services Experience Design Group (Oakland, CA).


Starting with a high-level orientation on how Human Centered Design (HCD) is integrated & supported across Kaiser Permanente’s national & regional groups. We will review a few specific case studies that highlight how HCD has been able to positively impact our members’ care experiences. Lastly, we will have a chance for discussion on possible opportunities for HCD research collaboration & consultation related to KPWHRI health research.

Coffee and tea will be provided.

October 22–24, 2018 

3rd Seattle Symposium on Health Care Data Analytics: “Learning from Health Care Data to Improve Patient Outcomes and Public Health” 

Where: Hyatt Olive 8, Seattle

This symposium will bring together biostatisticians, health informaticists, epidemiologists, and other data scientists to discuss health research and methods that involve large health care databases. Expert speakers will share their research on statistical approaches to learning from electronic health care data, methods for precision medicine, and health policy:

  • M. Alan Brookhart, PhD, University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health
  • Scott Counts, PhD, Microsoft Research
  • Ruth Etzioni, PhD, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
  • Sandy Griffith, PhD, Flatiron Health
  • Susan Gruber, PhD, Putnam Data Sciences
  • Rebecca Hubbard, PhD, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine
  • Su-In Lee, PhD, University of Washington
  • Vincent Liu, MD, Kaiser Permanente Northern California
  • Ross Prentice, PhD, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and University of Washington School of Public Health
  • Sherri Rose, PhD, Harvard Medical School
  • Lucy Savitz, PhD MBA, Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research, Northwest & Hawaii
  • Mark van der Laan, PhD, University of California Berkeley School of Public Health
  • Scott Zeger, PhD, John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Students and those new to the field of health care data analytics are especially encouraged to attend. On Monday, October 22, we are also offering two short courses on data adaptive causal inference in observational taught by Mark van der Laan, PhD and Susan Gruber, PhD and randomized studies and data visualization taught by Michael Jackson, PhD.

The Symposium is sponsored by the Biostatistics Unit at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (KPWHRI) and the Department of Biostatistics at the University of Washington.

Our website is now live. Register here for the 2018 3rd Seattle Symposium on Health Care Data Analytics.

October 9, 2018

What Can ACT Study Data Tell Us About Family Support for Informal Caregiving, and the Consequences of Not Having It?

Where: Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute, 4–5 p.m., Room 1509A

Speaker:  Janelle S. Taylor is Professor in (and was formerly Chair of) the Department of Anthropology at the University of Washington, where she has researched and taught medical anthropology since 1999, and is an Affiliate Investigator at KPWHRI. She is the author of one scholarly book, and co-editor of another, and has published widely in medical journals as well as social science journals.


This presentation will offer an overview of research questions, methods, and possibly some tentative initial findings from an NIA-funded R21 secondary study of ACT data, on "Health Outcomes for Patients with Dementia without Family," on which Marlaine Gray is site PI for KPWHRI. Taylor will discuss how this mixed-methods project is informed by concepts and questions from medical anthropology, and how ACT study data can be used to address critically important questions about dementia caregiving.

Coffee and tea will be provided.       

September 25, 2018

Returning Results to Research Participants:  A New Report from the National Academy of Medicine

Where: Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute, 4–5 p.m., Room 1509A

Speaker: Wylie Burke, MD, PhD, Department of Bioethics and Humanities, University of Washington


Research participants often value the opportunity to receive personal results obtained as part of their participation in research, and some results may offer important health information.  However, research results may be uncertain or preliminary, and researchers may not have the appropriate skills or resources for returning them.  A recent report from the National Academy of Medicine offers recommendations for addressing this challenge.

Coffee and tea will be provided.

July 24, 2018

How to design and manage innovative research projects: A French perspective

Where: Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute, 4–5 p.m., Room 1509A

Speaker: Katherine Un, Veterinary Public Health & Epidemiology Master’s Candidate, Royal Veterinary College of London


More than ever, we are required to acquire and transfer knowledge across disciplinary boundaries and collaborate on innovative projects to keep up with the ever-evolving field of health care. Crossdisciplinarity and innovation are trendy ideas, yet their real-life application to solve complex societal issues has been challenging. We would like to share our experience of accompanying networks of accomplished actors who, in spite of their individual expertise, failed to achieve their collective objectives because they lacked a cohesive management strategy. Our work is grounded in Concept-Knowledge theory (CK), a management framework known for facilitating innovation in complex, cross-disciplinary contexts. CK theory has been successfully used by a number Global Fortune 500 companies, but we were the first to adapt it to answer societal challenges. I will first give a brief overview of CK theory, what it is and how it works, followed by two case studies drawn from my work. We were able to use CK theory to not only simplify the structure of the concepts and solutions but also improve their completeness and evidence base. This approach helped to breakdown intellectual and creative barriers of the various stakeholders and promoted more effective communication. Hopefully, it will also improve public spending. Our experience highlights the value of CK theory to clarify design and management decisions around complex and cross-disciplinary, societal issuestypical of the healthcare challenges taken on at an institution like KPWHRI.

Coffee and tea will be provided.


July 10, 2018

Development and Use of Patient-Reported Outcomes for Research and Clinical Care

Where: Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute, 4–5 p.m., Room 1509A

Speaker: Salene M. W. Jones, PhD, Clinical Psychologist and Assistant Member, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center


This presentation will cover the basics of patient-reported outcome (PRO) development and use as well as the current research directions of the field. Examples will mainly come from mental health and cancer care but the principles of PRO use in research and clinical practice can be applied to many other chronic conditions such as neurological conditions and heart disease. 

Coffee and tea will be provided.


June 24–26, 2018

AcademyHealth 2018 Annual Research Meeting

WhereWashington State Convention Center, Seattle, Washington

The Annual Research Meeting (ARM) is the gathering place for individuals leading the charge to transform delivery systems and health care in a rapidly changing landscape. Over the course of this three-day conference, more than 2,500 individual attendees work together to share and strengthen the evidence needed to inform the decisions that affect the health of individuals and communities.

KPWHRI faculty participating in panels

  • Eric B. Larson, MD, MPH
  • Cara Lewis, PhD
  • Pedrag Klasnja, PhD
  • Diana Buist, PhD, MPH
  • Katharine Bradley, MD, MPH
  • Gregory Simon, MD, MPH
  • Lynn DeBar, PhD

For more information, visit the AcademyHealth 2018 Annual Research Meeting website


June 12, 2018

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: Conducting research when you wish you didn’t have to stand on those guys’ shoulders

Where: Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute, 4–5 p.m., Room 1509A

Speakers: Jane Anau, Yates Coley, Jane Grafton, Dianne Johnson (patient partner), Karen Wernli (Elena Kuo also contributed to the presentation) 


This seminar came about in response to a September 2017 Nature editorial (view PDF [114 KB]). The editorial starts with the vandalization of a statue in Central Park that honored a U.S. medical researcher who conducted experiments on enslaved women in the 1800s. It cites other times medical research was done on non-consenting people, in particular in people of color and vulnerable populations, and gives examples of how professional organizations have handled recognition of researchers whose valuable scientific findings were made possible only by knowingly harming people. Broadly, the editorial was not well received by current medical researchers. It was revised by the Journal, with an acknowledgement that the original was “offensive and poorly worded.”

In this seminar, we’ll take a deeper-dive into the issues raised by the editorial, discussing the lasting consequences that actions described in the editorial have had on health research. We will give examples from study teams at KPWHRI on how we can conduct research that is focused on the rights of participants, acknowledging the history of other researchers. We will also touch on involvement of patients as researchers.

Coffee and tea will be provided.


May 8, 2018

Patient-Centered Research for Standards of Outcomes in Diagnostic Tests: The PROD Study

Where: Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute, 4–5 p.m., Room 1509A


  • Matthew Thompson, MBChB, MPH, DPhil, MRCGP, Helen D. Cohen Endowed Professor and Vice Chair for Research, Family Medicine, University of Washington
  • Monica Zigman Suchsland, MPH, Research Scientist 3, University of Washington


Current methods for evaluating and reporting imaging tests are inadequate. They focus primarily on accuracy, with little known about other outcomes of imaging tests that are important to patients. The PROD study aimed to use qualitative and systematic literature overview methods to understand patient and provider experiences with different imaging tests then compare those experiences to what is being reported in the literature. The researchers identified the patient-centered outcomes important to patients and where gaps exist in current radiology research.

Coffee and tea will be provided.


April 27, 2018

Expanding Use of Real-World Evidence, a National Academies Workshop Series

Where: Online webinar

Speaker: Gregory E. Simon, MD, MPH, Senior Investigator, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute; Psychiatrist, Washington Permanente Medical Group

To join the online meeting:
Go to https://dukemed.webex.com/dukemed/j.php?MTID=m1a4a0665a615ae0382440edecedbdd33
You must log in to the URL first.
Click ‘Audio Conference’
Choose ‘I will call in’, select the Toll Free number.
Dial in using the information from the dialog box that appears.
Be certain to use the Access Code AND the Attendee ID.

If the URL above does not work, go to dukemed.webex.com and enter:
Meeting Number: 739 348 059
Meeting Password: 1234

For Audio only:
Call-in toll-free number (US/Canada): 1-855-244-8681
Access code: 739 348 059



April 24, 2018

Dashboard Design and Exploratory Data

Where: Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute, 4–5 p.m., Room 1509A

Speaker: Laura Ichikawa, Biostatistician III, KPWHRI 


Data dashboards can be a useful tool for exploring data and sharing information with project teams. This seminar will cover lessons learned on dashboard design and give some examples of dashboards set up to help projects better understand their data.

Coffee and tea will be provided.


March 27, 2018

The Pathogenesis of Research Misconduct

Where: Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute, 4–5 p.m., Room 1509A

Speaker: Ferric C. Fang, MD is a Professor of Laboratory Medicine, Microbiology and Medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine. He is a clinician-scientist, educator and journal editor who has authored a series of articles on the contemporary scientific enterprise and opportunities for reform.


Dishonest research practices threaten the integrity of the scientific enterprise. This lecture will examine the problem of research misconduct, focusing on retracted publications in the scientific literature. The underlying factors contributing to the recent apparent increase in misconduct will be discussed, along with potential strategies for reform.

Coffee and tea will be provided.


March 13, 2018

Combining Data Sources via Probabilistic Record Linkage

Where: Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute, 4–5 p.m., Room 1509A

Speaker: Mauricio Sadinle, Genentech Distinguished Assistant Professor, Department of Biostatistics, University of Washington


The availability of multiple data sources containing complementary information on a common population is a common feature of today’s data world. In this talk Mauricio Sadinle will present methodologies for combining data sources at the individual/unit level. The goal of record linkage is to merge two disparate datafiles containing information on two overlapping sets of entities. This is challenging in the absence of unique identifiers (e.g., SSNs) due to missingness, errors in the data, and the existence of different individuals with legitimate similar information (e.g., individuals in the same family). From a statistical point of view, we are interested in developing methodologies that properly quantify the uncertainty in this linkage process. Sadinle will review traditional record linkage methodologies and present some advances and challenges. 


March 2, 2018

Discussion with Eric Larson—Enlightened Aging: Building Resilience for a Long, Active Life

Where: Kaiser Permanente Washington Senior Caucus Meeting, 10 to 11:30 a.m.

Presenter: Eric B. Larson, MD, MPH, MACP, Vice President for Research and Health Care Innovation, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Washington, Executive Director and Senior Investigator, KPWHRI


Dr. Eric B. Larson will discuss his book Enlightened Aging: Building Resilience for a Long, Active Life on Friday, March 2 at Kaiser Permanente Capitol Hill Main Building, Room D649, 201 16th Avenue E., Seattle, Wash.


Jan. 31, 2018

Webinar: Overview of the Delta Center for a Thriving Safety Net

Register: http://bit.ly/2Dnhsen

Time9 to 10 a.m. Pacific

Presenters: Katie Coleman, MSPH, research associate, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute's MacColl Center for Health Care Innovation, and representatives from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, National Council on Behavioral Health, and National Association of Community Health Centers


The Delta Center will provide technical assistance to ten state primary care associations and behavioral health state associations, who will be selected through a competitive grant process to participate in a Learning and Action Network. The Delta Center aims to inspire innovation and change in value-based care and payment, through both policy and practice.

Please join this informational webinar at 9 a.m. PT / 12 p.m. ET on Wednesday, January 31, 2018, to learn more about the Delta Center and this funding opportunity.


January 9, 2018

Learning Health System Program: Leveraging research capabilities to accelerate impact

Where: Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute, 4–5 p.m., Room 1509A


  • Katie Coleman, Research Associate III, KPWHRI
  • Paula Lozano, Associate Medical Director, KPWHRI
  • Robert Frazier, Research Support Specialist III, KPWHRI
  • Nicole Van Borkulo, Research Associate II, KPWHRI
  • Caitlin Morrison, Research Associate I, KPWHRI
  • Emily Westbrook, Research PMO Director, KPWHRI

Kaiser Permanente Washington is investing in a Learning Health System (LHS) program to leverage the capabilities of our region’s Research Institute and enable KPWA to accelerate progress toward delivering on its strategic goals. The LHS team will present the background and context for this program, share data and stories from our 2017 work and describe goals for the LHS Program in 2018 and beyond.


January 2, 2018

Discussion with Eric Larson—Enlightened Aging: Building Resilience for a Long, Active Life

WhereBarnes & Noble, Clackamas Town Center, Portland, Ore, 7 p.m.

Presenter: Eric B. Larson, MD, MPH, MACP, Vice President for Research and Health Care Innovation, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Washington, Executive Director and Senior Investigator, KPWHRI


Dr. Eric B. Larson will discuss his book Enlightened Aging: Building Resilience for a Long, Active Life on Tuesday, Jan. 2 in Portland, Ore. 


December 12, 2017

The long and winding road—highlights on the journey as our ACT study became a living learning laboratory of aging

Where: Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute, 4–5 p.m., Room 1509A/B

Presenter: Eric B. Larson, MD, MPH, MACP, Vice President for Research and Health Care Innovation, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Washington, Executive Director and Senior Investigator, KPWHRI


In the lead-up to my coming to Group Health in 2002, I presented a narrative of the evolution of community based research in Seattle starting from the founding of a unique clinic, Geriatric and Family Services, at the University of Washington which led to the award from NIA in 1986 we received to establish the Group Health/University of Washington Alzheimer’s disease patient registry. This project morphed into the Adult Changes in Thought (ACT) study with the formation of a cohort of randomly selected persons without dementia over age 65, 1994-6. 

This presentation will briefly set the historical stage and move through the highlights and then describe the current state of the ACT study, which is now an ongoing living laboratory of aging. The seminar will focus especially on current and future research and how ACT can contribute to prevention of cognitive decline and dementia along with enhance our understanding of the aging brain.


December 11, 2017

Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer in Ontario: A focus on locus of care

Where: Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute, 10–11 a.m., Room 1509A

Presenter: Jason D. Pole, PhD, Scientist, Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario (POGO) and Associate Professor, University of Toronto


Cancer is the leading cause of disease-related death in the Adolescent and Young Adult population (AYA). Improvements in survival and research in general of the AYA population lag behind that focused on children and older adults. Location of cancer therapy may exacerbate or mitigate vulnerabilities because this group is transitioning from childhood to adulthood.  They may receive care in pediatric or adult systems, neither designed for the specific needs of this vulnerable group. The Initiative to Maximize Progress in Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Therapy (IMPACT) cohort, a unique AYA data platform that takes advantage of the diverse data resources available in Ontario was established to perform critical analyses that examine the impact of the location of cancer therapy on the entirety of the AYA cancer journey. This talk will introduce the design of the IMPACT cohort and present preliminary findings.


November 28, 2017

Service-level Selection: Strategic Risk Selection in Medicare Advantage in Response to Risk Adjustment 

Where: Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute, 4–5 p.m., Room 1509A

Presenter: Sungchul Park, PhD Candidate, Department of Health Services, University of Washington


The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has phased in the Hierarchical Condition Categories (HCC) risk adjustment model during 2004–2006 to more accurately estimate capitated payments to Medicare Advantage (MA) plans to reflect each beneficiary’s health status. However, it is debatable whether the CMS- HCC model has led to strategic evolutions of risk selection.

We examine the competing claim on the effectiveness of the CMS-HCC model to comprehensively understand strategic risk selection behaviors of MA plans. We find that the CMS-HCC model reduced the phenomenon that MA plans avoid high-cost beneficiaries in traditional Medicare plans, whereas it led to increased disenrollment of high-cost beneficiaries, conditional on illness severity, from MA plans. We explain this phenomenon in relation to service-level selection.

First, we show that MA plans have incentives to effectuate risk selection via service-level selection, by lowering coverage levels for services that are more likely to be used by beneficiaries who could be unprofitable under the CMS- HCC model. Then, we empirically test our theoretical prediction that compared to the pre-implementation period (2001–2003), MA plans have raised copayments disproportionately more for services needed by unprofitable beneficiaries than for other services in the post-implementation period (2007–2009), thereby inducing unprofitable beneficiaries to voluntarily disenroll from their MA plans. Further evidence supporting this selection mechanism is that those dissatisfied with out-of-pocket costs were more likely to disenroll from MA plans. We estimate that such strategic behavior led MA plans to save costs of $5.2 billion in 2007–2009. To counter service-level selection, it may be of value to develop a better risk adjustment model that not only conditions on each beneficiary’s health status but also reflects each beneficiary’s service-level propensity of service use. 


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