May 14, 2002

National awards granted to Group Health psychiatrist

Seattle—Greg Simon, MD, a Group Health Cooperative psychiatrist and mental health researcher, will receive two prestigious awards at the American Psychiatric Association's (APA) Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, Pa., on Saturday, May 18.

Simon will receive the 2002 American Psychiatric Institute for Research and Education/GlaxoSmithKline Senior Scholar Award, which is given in recognition of outstanding contributions to the field of mental health services research. He will also be granted the 2002 Welcome Back Award, sponsored by Eli Lilly and Company for his exceptional achievements in improving the treatment of depression.

Much of Simon's research has centered on identifying problems in administering depression treatment and then implementing targeted solutions to improve results. For example, his research has revealed that in many clinical settings, patients are prescribed inappropriate doses of medication, stop medication too soon, or don't receive adequate follow-up.

To solve these problems, Simon has developed systematic programs to provide ongoing patient care after an initial diagnosis of depression. Currently, he is researching the benefits of providing medication monitoring, support, and counseling over the telephone as a way to make talk therapy more accessible.

Simon's research, conducted through Group Health's Center for Health Studies, has been published in major medical journals, influencing depression care worldwide. Within Group Health Cooperative, he is recognized for helping to design improved processes for depression care at the primary care level.

Simon's work was recognized in a resolution passed by the Washington State Senate on March 12. Senator Pat Thibaudeau, Chair of the Senate Health & Long Term Care Committee, introduced the resolution to congratulate Simon for receiving the Welcome Back Award and to thank him for "his advocacy and compassion" in addressing mental health issues.

"The Welcome Back Awards committee was impressed with the amount Dr. Simon has accomplished so early in his career and the widespread application many of his programs may have in improving long-term depression treatment," said Lewis A. Opler, MD, PhD, a Welcome Back Awards committee member who is adjunct professor of psychiatry, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Michael Quirk, PhD, director of Group Health's Behavioral Health Services, agreed. "Greg is the sort of physician/scientist hybrid who comes along once in a lifetime. He develops powerful new ideas, translates them into research proposals that are funded and that are eventually translated into improved care here at Group Health."

About Group Health Center for Health Studies
Group Health Center for Health Studies conducts epidemiologic, health-services, and clinical research related to prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of major health problems. Funded primarily through government and private research grants, the Center is located in Seattle, Washington.

Group Health Cooperative is the nation's largest consumer governed health care system, serving nearly 600,000 people in Washington and Idaho.

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