August 26, 2020

CATALyST Program selects 2 new K12 Scholars

Drs.  Leah Marcotte (left) and Kendra Liljenquist (right) are the second cohort selected for the CATALyST program. 

The early-career scientists will receive 3 years of intensive training in Learning Health System research

The CATALyST K12 Learning Health System scholar program, based at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (KPWHRI), is pleased to welcome 2 new scholars in September: Kendra Liljenquist, PhD, MPH, and Leah Marcotte, MD, were recently selected from a highly competitive group of applicants.

“We are thrilled to have Drs. Liljenquist and Marcotte joining CATALyST,” says program co-director and head of admissions, Paula Lozano, MD, MPH, who is senior investigator at KPWHRI and senior associate medical director for research and translation at Washington Permanente Medical Group. “These scholars will be working with health system partners to conduct embedded research designed to accelerate health care improvement.  We believe they will make important contributions to learning health system science.”

Dr. Liljenquist, a rehabilitation scientist, is an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington (UW) School of Medicine and an investigator at the Seattle Children’s Research Institute. Her research focuses on addressing racial and economic disparities in child development outcomes through enhanced access to high-quality pediatric preventive care services and community-based programs. She was raised in South King County and is incredibly excited to work with families in the communities where she grew up. As a CATALyST Scholar, Dr. Liljenquist is partnering with families, clinicians, and staff at the Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic in Seattle to design and integrate a new developmental and family resource needs screening and response program for families of children ages 2 to 5 years old. Her primary CATALyST mentor is Dr. Tumaini R. Coker, a pediatrician at Odessa Brown and leader in community-engaged delivery system design for pediatric preventive care. 

Dr. Marcotte is associate medical director for population health at  UW School of Medicine and a primary care physician at UW General Internal Medicine Center. When she joins CATALyST, she will transition to an acting assistant professor of medicine at UW School of Medicine. Her research is aimed at understanding and improving how feedback is delivered to clinicians to improve patient care. Her goals are to leverage experience in health systems leadership with a skill set in research to help develop and lead in learning health system models. Her primary mentor, Josh Liao, MD, MSc, is an internal medicine physician and the director of the UW’s Value & Systems Science Lab.

CATALyST is a collaborative training program launched 2 years ago with funding from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). It brings together the expertise of 4 institutions: KPWHRI, the Elson S. Floyd School of Medicine at Washington State University, the VA Puget Sound, and UW. This K12 program is focused on providing early career scholars with training and mentorship to build the nation’s capacity to conduct advanced learning health systems research. “K12” refers to a federal award that provides early-career research scientists funding for protected time to conduct pilot activity and obtain training that can be leveraged toward future independent research.

“We are excited to have 2 such talented and committed scholars join the 4 current scholars in our program,” said Diana Buist, PhD, MPH, who serves as CATALyST co-director as well as senior investigator and director of research and strategic partnerships at KPWHRI. “Drs. Liljenquist and Marcotte will bring additional expertise, perspective, and learning health system laboratories to the CATALyST Learning Health System community.”

The first cohort of scholars in CATALyST include Yates Coley, PhD; Gwen Lapham, PhD, MPH, MSW; Maggie Ramirez, PhD, MS, MS; and Linnaea Schuttner, MD. A third cohort of scholars with 2-year appointments is expected to be selected in 2021 to round out the first cycle of this 5-year grant.

Drs. Liljenquist and Marcotte will begin their appointments as CATALyST scholars on Sept. 30.

--By Susan Brandzel

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