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

All are welcome.

Left: Aruna Kamineni, PhD, MPH, with Ali Thomas, MD, of Washington Permanente Medical Group

Upcoming seminars and events

October 5, 2021

Racism and recurrence: Unpacking the root causes of breast cancer mortality disparities in Georgia


The views expressed in the seminars and events hosted by KPWHRI do not necessarily reflect those of Kaiser Permanente

Speaker: Lauren McCullough PhD, MSPH is Rollins Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the Rollins School of Public Health. She received her BA from Vanderbilt University (2005), MSPH from Meharry Medical College (2007), and PhD in Epidemiology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2013). Her overarching research interests are in cancer epidemiology, specifically the contributions of obesity and the social environment to the tumor epigenome and microenvironment, as well as disparities in cancer outcomes. Her research program integrates molecular epidemiology, epigenetics, and other biomarkers for disease risk and progression; environmental and reproductive epidemiology; social epidemiology; and causal inference methods. Her research goals are to improve cancer outcomes in underserved populations by bridging molecular and social epidemiology to identifying targets for pharmacologic, behavioral, and policy intervention.

This research presentation will summarize our past, current, and future research efforts to uncover drivers of race disparities in breast cancer mortality among women diagnosed in Georgia. It will emphasize the consideration of root causes of disparities from tumor biology and individual behavior to health care systems and structural racism.

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past events

September 21, 2021

Incorporating EDI at individual, team, and organizational levels: CCHE’s journey and reflections


The views expressed in the seminars and events hosted by KPWHRI do not necessarily reflect those of Kaiser Permanente

Speaker: Lisa Schafer (she/her) is a Senior Evaluation and Learning Consultant at CCHE. She has over 15 years of experience working in evaluation and community health and has expertise in all phases of participatory, mixed methods evaluation—design, data collection, analysis, and communication of results. She has led projects ranging from evaluations of health system transformation and quality improvement programs to large scale, multi-sector collaborations for health improvement and systems change. Lisa has experience in developmental evaluation, qualitative and quantitative methods, and evaluation technical assistance and training. Her approach is practical and adaptive, so the evaluation stays relevant and useful, contributing to strategy development, learning, and improvement.

For over 30 years, CCHE has evaluated community health-related programs and initiatives throughout the United States. We take a collaborative approach to evaluation so mitigating power dynamics and values of social justice have always been core to our work. In January, 2020, we decided that we wanted to elevate EDI principles, and began trying out different ways, including monthly workgroup discussions and being more systematic about feedback practices and team building activities.  In June 2020, CCHE publicly renewed its commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) and vowed to be accountable to explicitly, incorporating EDI principles into all aspects of our work. Since then, we have focused on EDI in three areas: individual CCHE team members’ work, our collective team’s work at CCHE, and within our evaluation practice. At the seminar, we will share a little more about our journey including approaches we’ve tried and lessons that we’re learning. This is ongoing work and we do not have all the answers; we are sharing our progress in the spirit of collective learning.

September 7, 2021

Race and Ethnicity in Analyses of Health Care Data: Reflections from KPWHRI Researchers

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The views expressed in the seminars and events hosted by KPWHRI do not necessarily reflect those of Kaiser Permanente

Speakers: Jessica Chubak (she/her) is a Senior Investigator at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute and Affiliate Professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Washington. Her research focuses primarily on cancer screening and cancer survivorship, with an emphasis on modifiable exposures and receipt of health services. She has a strong interest in epidemiologic methods, including methods for using electronic health data. Before completing her PhD in Epidemiology in 2007 from the University of Washington, Dr. Chubak was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Otago in New Zealand, where she received a Masters of Bioethics and Health Law.

Rebecca Ziebell (she/her) is a Manager of Programming & Analysis at KPWHRI, where she has led programming for multisite studies on cancer as well as suicide risk prediction. Prior to joining KPWHRI in 2013, Rebecca was a public health analyst in the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia.

Maricela Cruz (she/her) is an Assistant Investigator and Biostatistician at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute and Affiliate Assistant Professor at the University of Washington Department of Biostatistics. Her research primarily focuses on developing novel statistical methods to assess and evaluate the impact of complex health interventions.

Yates Coley (she/they) is an Assistant Investigator and Biostatistician at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute and Affiliate Assistant Professor at the University of Washington Department of Biostatistics. Dr. Coley’s primary research focus is on developing, validating, and implementing prediction models that are accurate, actionable, and ethical.

Regan Gray (she/they) is a Research Specialist at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute and Leader of Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity representing I-KPAAPA (KPWHRI African American Professionals Association.) Regan has a passion for finding methods to build equity into the foundation of research. Before the Institute, Regan previously received a Master’s of Science Degree in Biology with a focus on Medical Science at University of Texas at Arlington.

In this seminar, KPWHRI researchers will discuss their experiences with and reflections on incorporating race and ethnicity into our studies. We will set the stage by discussing what we mean by race and the broader implications of its usage by scientists, followed by how race and ethnicity data are collected and stored in KP Washington’s data warehouse. We will then focus on methodological considerations around including race and ethnicity in statistical models and how to best communicate findings of racial and ethnic disparities.

August 17, 2021

Are We There Yet? Increasing Black, Indigenous and People of Color Participation in Research

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The views expressed in the seminars and events hosted by KPWHRI do not necessarily reflect those of Kaiser Permanente

Speakers: Dr. Michele Andrasik (she/her), PhD, is a clinical health psychologist with expertise in implicit bias, historical trauma, and the utilization of Community-Based Participatory Research approaches and Qualitative Research Methods. Dr. Andrasik works to address psychosocial and structural factors associated with HIV risk and STI disparities among marginalized communities in the US. Her efforts have focused on developing collaborative and reciprocal relationships between researchers, community members, and organizations to address existing health disparities. Dr. Andrasik also works to address the impact of stigma on disparities across the HIV care continuum. Dr. Andrasik does this work because ensuring the health and wellbeing of marginalized communities is incredibly important to me and good health means health and wellbeing for all.

Dr. Rueben C. Warren, PhD, is currently the Director of the National Center for Bioethics in Research and Health Care and Professor of Bioethics at Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, Alabama. He is also former Director of the Institute for Faith-Health Leadership and Adjunct Professor of Public Health, Medicine and Ethics at the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC) in Atlanta, GA. From 1988 to 1997, Dr. Warren served as Associate Director for Minority Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  From 1997 to 2004, he was Associate Director for Urban Affairs at the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).  From 2005 to 2007, Dr. Warren served part-time as the Director of Infrastructure Development for the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD.  From 2004 to 2009, he was on leave from the National Center for Environmental Health-CDC/ATSDR) in Atlanta, where he served as Associate Director for Environmental Justice.  As Associate Director at CDC/ATSDR Dr. Warren had lead agency responsibility for Environmental Justice and Minority Health. 

  1. Discussion of efforts to ensure inclusion in the COVID-19 vaccine trials and equity in Vaccine distribution
  2. Efforts to increase the BIPOC scientific workforce
  3. Ongoing efforts to increase equity and inclusion through self-awareness and efforts to address institutional bias

August 3, 2021

Design and Implementation of an Intervention to Address Diabetes Self-Management and Social Needs among a High-Risk Patient Population

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The views expressed in the seminars and events hosted by KPWHRI do not necessarily reflect those of Kaiser Permanente

Speakers: Stephanie L. Fitzpatrick, PhD is a Senior Investigator and clinical health psychologist at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, OR as well as the Senior Manager of Multicultural Program at WW (formerly Weight Watchers). She earned her doctoral degree in clinical psychology with a specialization in health psychology from the University of Miami, completed a one-year health psychology internship in the Department of Behavioral Sciences at Rush University Medical Center and a two-year postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of General Internal Medicine at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Dr. Fitzpatrick’s research focuses on implementing behavioral interventions for obesity and chronic disease management while also addressing health-related social needs in clinical care settings. In her new role at WW, Dr. Fitzpatrick is responsible for ensuring that the WW program is an inclusive behavior change program that facilitates weight management and wellness for everyone. Dr. Fitzpatrick has been an investigator on several NIH-funded studies and recently was appointed to the Oregon Health Authority’s Metrics & Scoring Committee.

Dea Papajorgji-Taylor, MPH, MA is a Research Associate at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, OR. She holds a Master’s in Public Health from the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina and a Master’s in International Studies from East Carolina University. With over 13 years of experience working on public health research studies, Ms. Papjorgji-Taylor has worked in a variety of settings including health departments, community health clinics, bilingual (Spanish/English) mental health clinics, academic institutions, the Veterans Affairs, and most recently, at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, OR. Her contributions span across a variety of public health domains, with an emphasis on project planning and implementation, recruitment and retention, qualitative research methods, dissemination of results, and stakeholder engagement.


Racial/ethnic and socioeconomic disparities in diabetes-related outcomes persist. There is a need for effective interventions that facilitate diabetes self-management while also acknowledging the social context in which patients are trying to self-manage. We will present a detailed overview of our study design, implementation process, and a summary of findings and lessons learned from our study, Bridge to Health/ Puente a la Salud.

July 6, 2021

Important Consideration When Conducting Ethical Research with American Indian and Alaska Native Communities

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The views expressed in the seminars and events hosted by KPWHRI do not necessarily reflect those of Kaiser Permanente

Speaker: Cynthia Pearson, (she/her), PhD, is a Professor at the School of Social Work, Adjunct Professor with American Indian Studies, and Director of Research at the Indigenous Wellness Research Institute at the University of Washington. Dr. Pearson provides oversight for research activities including the development of institute and tribal partnership polices, quantitative and qualitative methods, data-related activates (collection, analyses, storage), as well as human subject protocols. Since 2006, Dr. Pearson, has collaborated with Native American communities in designing and implementing community-based prevention interventions and in the development of tribally approved research polices such as data use agreement, and research and publication guidelines.  Her effort has contributed to 47 community and university-led grants. She has over 62 publications: and have contributed to over 100 national and international presentations.


Dr. Pearson share content from her training curriculum “Research Ethics Training for Health in Indigenous communities (rETHICS).”  This discussion will

  • Describe how tribal sovereignty affects the application of the Common Rule.
  • Define the three principles of the Belmont Report from an Indigenous perspective.
  • Apply the underlying tenets of the Common Rule at a community level.
    • Understand individual vs. group harms,
    • Privacy vs Public data
    • Community level Confidentiality
  • Clarity what constitutes a “vulnerable groups/population.”
  • Identify essential tools that facilitate the conduct of ethical research with American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) communities.

May 25, 2021

Can One Be Against Data and Still Be for Kinship?*

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The views expressed in the seminars and events hosted by KPWHRI do not necessarily reflect those of Kaiser Permanente

* Presentation title is a line from Billy-Ray Belcourt’s NDN Coping Mechanisms: Notes from the Field in Fragments Ending with a Requiem

Speaker: Mariah Tso (she/her), MS, is a Diné cartographer with the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies. As a GIS Specialist she serves as part of the Million Dollar Hoods team mapping and documenting the fiscal and human costs of mass incarceration in Los Angeles.

Summary: Data are power. Drawing from themes in critical data studies and Indigenous methodologies, this presentation explores the critical need for unpacking and rethinking our everyday relationships to data. 

May 11, 2021

Financial Incentives for Increasing Colorectal Cancer Screening in Priority Populations: A Randomized Controlled Trial

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The views expressed in the seminars and events hosted by KPWHRI do not necessarily reflect those of Kaiser Permanente

Speaker: Beverly B. Green (she/her), MD, MPH, is a physician scientist whose research has focused on improving systems of care by designing and evaluating programs that make it easier for patients to get the care they need, including colorectal cancer screening.  Dr. Green’s research focuses public health, targeting conditions that impact large proportions of the population, such as cancer. She has used electronic technologies to implement an EHR-linked mailed fecal testing program for colorectal cancer screening that more than doubled screening uptake and decreased screening costs compared to usual care. The program was subsequently successfully adapted for use and scaled up in Federally Qualified Health Centers and Medicaid health plans. Dr. Green is also interested in understanding and changing policies that block the development and improvement of equitable care and prevention of chronic conditions. She is a member of the Colorectal Cancer Screening Workgroup of the Bree Collaborative an organization appointed by Washington Governor Inslee to decrease health inequities and improve health outcomes in Washington state. She is also a member of the National Colorectal Cancer Round Table Steering Committee and is leading an effort to add colorectal cancer screening to the Medicaid Core Set of Quality Measures.


  • Study question: Do financial incentives increase colorectal cancer screening uptake and decrease colorectal cancer screening disparities?
  • Results: Financial incentives did not increase overall colorectal cancer screening rates but significantly increased completion of fecal testing, and decreased screening disparities among some historically disadvantaged groups.
  • Incentives were most effective among groups with higher levels of defensive information processing and less worried about future consequences: (“if I feel healthy I don’t go to the doctor”, “I only act to take care of immediate concerns, figuring the future will take care of itself”)
  • We interviewed screeners and non-screeners.  Screeners were more likely to remember the incentive, whereas most non screeners did not. We learned to what degree incentives influenced decision making and what might have improved the intervention.
  • Future studies should determine whether financial incentives could be used to increase COVID-19 vaccine uptake and reduce disparities.
  • If there is time we will discuss work we have been doing to transform research findings into action.

April 27, 2021

Breaking the Sound Barrier: Equity and Language Inclusion in Research

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The views expressed in the seminars and events hosted by KPWHRI do not necessarily reflect those of Kaiser Permanente

Speaker: Casey Lion, MD, MPH is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics in the divisions of General Pediatrics and Hospital Medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine, and an investigator at the Seattle Children’s Research Institute. She is an NIH-funded health services researcher whose work focuses on healthcare equity, patient-provider communication, and health system navigation. Her methodological expertise relates to the rigorous evaluation of quality improvement interventions. She co-directs the Health Services and Quality of Care Research Fellowship and serves as Program Lead for Patient Navigation within the UW Cancer Consortium’s Office of Community Outreach and Engagement.

In this talk, Dr. Lion will highlight barriers to equitable inclusion of participants with limited English proficiency (LEP) in research studies, then layout techniques for addressing these barriers, using examples from her research. She will also make the case for why this is relevant to all researchers who engage with human subjects, not just those focused on health equity.

April 13, 2021

Population-based outreach to prevent suicidal behavior among outpatients reporting frequent suicidal ideation: A pragmatic randomized trial

Video presentation unavailable

The views expressed in the seminars and events hosted by KPWHRI do not necessarily reflect those of Kaiser Permanente

Speaker: Susan Shortreed, PhD is a Senior Investigator in the Biostatistics Unit at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle, Washington and an Affiliate Associate Professor in the Biostatistics Department at the University of Washington Biostatistics. Dr. Shortreed’s methods work is focused on developing and applying machine learning methods to address health science problems and improving the design and analysis of studies that use data gathered from electronic health records. As co-lead of the Analytic Methods core of the Mental Health Research Network, she has led efforts to develop suicide risk prediction models using data collected from electronic health records and was the lead Biostatistician for the suicide prevention outreach trial.   

Speaker: Greg Simon, MD, MPH is a psychiatrist and senior investigator well-known for his extensive research on practical approaches to improving mental health care. He seeks to develop and evaluate effective real-world strategies that support better mental health and wellness.  Current areas of emphasis include identifying and assessing suicide risk, improving care for treatment-resistant depression, and early intervention for mental health conditions in children and youth.

Dr. Simon leads the Mental Health Research Network (MHRN), a consortium of research centers affiliated with 13 large health systems across the United States, including Kaiser Permanente Washington.

The Suicide Prevention Outreach Trial (SPOT) evaluated two low-intensity outreach interventions to prevent suicide attempt among outpatients who reported frequent suicidal ideation on routinely administered depression questionnaires.  The trial enrolled approximately 18,600 participants in four MHRN health systems (KPWA, KPNW, KPCO, and HealthPartners), randomly assigning participants to continued usual care or one of the two outreach programs.  This presentation will report overall effects of the two outreach programs on use of mental health services and risk of self-harm or suicide attempt over 18 months.

Tuesday, March 23

Real presence: Growing and sustaining BIPOC lives in biomedicine

Virtual Scientific Seminar hosted by the Institute-Kaiser Permanente African American Professionals Association (I-KPAAPA)
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The views expressed in the seminars and events hosted by KPWHRI do not necessarily reflect those of Kaiser Permanente

Abisola (Mary) Akosile, Biostatistician
Regan Gray, Research Specialist
Kayne Mettert, Research Specialist

Speaker: Patricia Egwuatu, MD “I am a first generation Nigerian/Ugandan American who developed a passion for practicing medicine during childhood as I listened to my parents tell stories about health care in their native countries of Nigeria and Uganda. I am a Pacific NW Native. Grew up South of Seattle. Attended University of Washington, Pacific NW University of Health Sciences for Medical School and trained at University of Washington Family Med Residency program. I joined Kaiser Permanente Family Medicine Residency Program as a Faculty Member who co leads our Racism in Medicine Curriculum. I also practice comprehensive health care for adults of all ages, primary care, women's health, obstetrics, and pediatrics.”

Racism in Medicine and Addressing the lack of representation of underrepresented minorities in Medicine: “I am co-faculty of Residents Promoting Inclusion Diversity and Equity (RPrIDE) that was founded on the principles of acknowledging that Racism is at the core of inequities in the social structures and health systems of this country. These inequities are unfortunately destructive to not only patients but wellbeing of providers. This has allowed myself and my co faculty to create a curriculum centered around Recruitment, Education, Mentorship and Faculty Development.”

Speaker: Ali Thomas, MD, MPH “I am a hospital-based internal medicine physician ("hospitalist"), and an equity leader with Kaiser Permanente of Washington (previously Group Health Cooperative). I became a physician because of my love for science, for people, and for social justice. My passion is in healthcare systems transformation in regards to equity and anti-racism. I believe integrated delivery systems can deliver clinical excellence through equity. At Kaiser Permanente of Washington, I've served as a Recruiting Ambassador and advisor to our Medical Director for Equity, Inclusion and Diversity. Since October, 2019 I've led our medical group's strategy to increase diversity in the future healthcare workforce. Clinically, I've served as an outpatient internal medicine consultant and led process improvement efforts.”

WA State Health Careers Ecosystem: Dr. Thomas shares the work of the Healthcare Careers Pathways (HCP) program, a commitment to developing healthcare leaders from under-represented minorities lead by the Washington Permanente Medical Group (WPMG) and collaborators. This career pipeline program reflects a commitment to a future healthcare workforce that reflects the population we serve, supporting advanced biomedical career tracks such as research, public health practice, and advanced clinical careers, such as mental health, medicine, nurse midwifery, optometry, and physician assistance. The following assumptions underlie this transformation: WPMG can only reduce structural racism in access to advanced healthcare careers through partnerships with communities most impacted by racial workforce inequities; community organizing is a critical strategy for leadership development; workforce diversity requires sustained, long-term investment in evidence-based strategies.

March 9, 2021

Do clinical prediction models perpetuate health disparities? Assessment of racial and ethnic disparities in suicide prediction models.

Virtual Scientific Seminar
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The views expressed in the seminars and events hosted by KPWHRI do not necessarily reflect those of Kaiser Permanente

Speaker: Yates Coley, PhD is an assistant investigator biostatistician at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute. Her statistical research focuses on the development and implementation of clinical predictions models that are accurate, actionable, and equitable. She has collaborations in mental health, cancer, bariatric surgery, aging, and health services.  

Clinical prediction models are frequently estimated using health records data, which reflect inequities in health care access, quality, and outcomes based on race, sexual orientation, gender identity, immigration status, and other identities.  Presuming that historical treatment patterns reflect clinical need can perpetuate these inequities. This talk will examine racial and ethnic disparities in the performance of suicide risk prediction models, a context which illustrates several challenges of applying prediction models across racial and ethnic groups. We will demonstrate how to evaluate potential disparities in the performance and impact of clinical prediction models.

February 23, 2021

How do I meaningfully incorporate stakeholders into my research?

Virtual Scientific Seminar
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The views expressed in the seminars and events hosted by KPWHRI do not necessarily reflect those of Kaiser Permanente

Speaker: Dr. Karen Coleman studies the behavioral, social, and environmental determinants of success after weight loss surgery. An additional focus of her research is on interventions in primary care settings for adult depression. Dr. Coleman’s main areas of interest are health equity and the study of factors at the level of the patient, the provider, and the system that lead to successful interventions for physical and emotional wellness. Dr. Coleman directs one of the largest weight loss registries in the United States that is used for both patient care and research. She also directs a population management registry for the Kaiser Permanente Southern California depression care management program. She has a half-time appointment in Kaiser Permanente Southern California Clinical Operations, where she serves on the regional leadership teams for bariatric surgery and depression care. 


  • What is engagement? Overview of types of engagement and core principles
  • Why should you do this? Examples of engagement for all kinds of studies
  • How do you do this meaningfully?
  • Shared experiences (audience participation)