Jennifer F. Bobb, PhD

Jennifer Bobb

I am excited about the potential for scientific discovery in the era of big data. With critical scientific thinking and advanced statistical methods, we can leverage rich data sources to improve public health.

Jennifer F. Bobb, PhD

Associate Biostatistics Investigator, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute

Biography

Jennifer Bobb, PhD, aims to apply rigorous statistical methods to address important problems in public health. She is interested in statistical issues that occur when data that were not originally collected for research purposes, such as administrative claims data or electronic health records (EHRs), are used for addressing scientific questions relevant to clinical practice and health policy.

At Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (KPWHRI), Dr. Bobb collaborates with scientists across a broad range of research areas, including mental and behavioral health and social determinants of health. As an investigator with the Health Care Systems Addictions Research Network, she provides statistical leadership on pragmatic clinical trials at Kaiser Permanente Washington and other health systems. These include:

  • A pragmatic encouragement trial evaluating a collaborative care model to treat patients with opioid use disorder and depression, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health as part of the Helping to End Addiction Long-term (HEAL) Initiative
  • A cluster-randomized implementation trial conducted in 6 diverse health systems to evaluate a program for increasing medication treatment for opioid use disorders within primary care settings, funded by the National Institute of Drug Abuse

She has also developed statistical guidance to address methodological challenges introduced by pragmatic trials that leverage EHR data to define study eligibility and outcomes.

With expertise in environmental biostatistics, Dr. Bobb has led large-scale epidemiological investigations on the health effects of exposure to extreme heat and air pollution. She developed flexible modeling approaches for estimating the health effects of multi-pollutant mixtures that broadly apply to settings where large numbers of exposures may interact or have complex relationships with health, along with publicly available software implementing these methods. In recent work, she is collaborating on the Moving to Health study, which explores whether changes in the built environment, such as access to healthy foods and walkability, affect long-term weight and diabetes management. Work on this study spurred new methodology addressing statistical complexities of spatial confounding and time-varying health impacts.

Dr. Bobb is an affiliate associate professor in biostatistics at the University of Washington and an associate editor of the journal Biostatistics. She serves on the Committee for Funded Research of the American Statistical Association (ASA) and was elected the 2024 Chair of the ASA’s Biometrics Section. She has also served as grant reviewer for federal funding agencies and taught short courses on statistical methods for EHR data at national meetings. Before joining KPWHRI, Dr. Bobb completed her PhD in biostatistics at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2012, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

SELECT PUBLICATIONS

Bobb JF, Cruz MF, Mooney SJ, Drewnowski A, Arterburn D, Cook AJ (2022). Accounting for spatial confounding in epidemiological studies of individual-level exposures: an exposure penalized spline approach. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, Series A. 185(3):1271–1293.

Bobb JF, Qiu H, Matthews AG, McCormack J, Bradley KA (2020). Addressing identification bias in the design and analysis of cluster-randomized pragmatic trials: a case study. Trials. 21(1):289.
∗ Included in collection on The future of pragmatic trials

Bobb JF, Valeri L, Claus Henn B, Christiani DC, Wright RO, Mazumdar M, Godleski JJ, Coull BA (2015). Bayesian kernel machine regression for estimating the health effects of multi-pollutant mixtures. Biostatistics. 16(3):493–508.

Bobb JF, Obermeyer Z, Wang Y, Dominici F (2014). Cause-specific risk of hospital admission related to extreme heat in older adults. JAMA. 312(24):2659–2667.
∗ Recognized as one of the Papers of the Year by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

Research interests and experience

  • Biostatistics

    Bayesian methods; analysis of observational data; pragmatic trial design and analysis; analysis of spatial-temporal data

    Health Services & Economics

    Biostatistics; implementation science

  • Mental Health

    Biostatistics; behavioral health; alcohol and substance use disorders

    Social Determinants of Health

    Biostatistics; built environment

  • Environmental Health

    Health effects of air pollution, extreme weather events; statistical methods for complex environmental mixtures

  • Addictions

    Prevention and treatment

Recent publications

Bauer JA, Devick KL, Bobb JF, Coull BA, Bellinger D, Benedetti C, Cagna G, Fedrighi C, Guazzetti S, Oppini M, Placidi D, Webster TF, White RF, Yang Q, Zoni S, Wright RO, Smith DR, Lucchini RG, Claus Henn B. Associations of a metal mixture measured in multiple biomarkers with IQ: evidence from Italian adolescents living near ferroalloy industry. Environ Health Perspect. 2020;128(9):97002. doi: 10.1289/EHP6803. Epub 2020 Sep 8. PubMed

Matson TE, Lapham GT, Bobb JF, Johnson E, Richards JE, Lee AK, Bradley KA, Glass JE. Cannabis use, other drug use, and risk of subsequent acute care in primary care patients. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2020 Aug 8;216:108227. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2020.108227. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Williams EC, McGinnis KA, Rubinsky AD, Matson TE, Bobb JF, Lapham GT, Edelman EJ, Satre DD, Catz SL, Richards JE, Bryant KJ, Marshall BDL, Kraemer KL, Crystal S, Gordon AJ, Skanderson M, Fiellin DA, Justice AC, Bradley KA. Alcohol use and antiretroviral adherence among patients living with HIV: is change in alcohol use associated with change in adherence? AIDS Behav. 2021 Jan;25(1):203-214. doi: 10.1007/s10461-020-02950-x. PubMed

Mooney SJ, Bobb JF, Hurvitz PM, Anau J, Theis MK, Drewnowski A, Aggarwal A, Gupta S, Rosenberg DE, Cook AJ, Shi X, Lozano P, Moudon AV, Arterburn D. Impact of built environments on body weight (the Moving to Health study): protocol for a retrospective longitudinal observational study. JMIR Res Protoc. 2020 May 19;9(5):e16787. doi: 10.2196/16787. PubMed

Bobb JF, Qiu H, Matthews AG, McCormack J, Bradley KA. Addressing identification bias in the design and analysis of cluster-randomized pragmatic trials: a case study. Trials. 2020;21(1):289. doi: 10.1186/s13063-020-4148-z. PubMed

Boudreau DM, Lapham G, Johnson EA, Bobb JF, Matthews AG, McCormack J, Liu D, Samet JH, Campbell CI, Rossom RC, Binswanger IA, Yarborough BJH, Arnsten JH, Cunningham CO, Glass JE, Murphy MT, Zare M, Hechter R, Ahmedani B, Braciszewski JM, Horigian VE, Szapocznik J, Samet JH, Saxon AJ, Schwartz RP, Bradley KA. Documented opioid use disorder and its treatment in primary care patients across six US health systems. J Subst Abuse Treat. 2020 Mar;112S:41-48. doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2020.02.001. PubMed

 

Research

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Increasing opioid use disorder treatment in primary care

A trial led by KPWHRI researchers found that adding nurse care managers helped more people get needed treatment.

Research

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Better care for patients who drink alcohol

A new primary care approach improves alcohol-related preventive care as well as care for alcohol use disorder.

Research roundup

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What's new in cannabis use research?

Use in pregnancy and screening in primary care studied by KPWHRI’s Kiel, Matson, and Lapham.

New findings

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Research roundup on natural language processing and machine learning

Using doctor's notes to learn about drug reactions, dementia, and cannabis use.

Research

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How did the pandemic impact hospital visits with animals?

Top pediatric oncology hospitals reported lasting changes to programs involving visits with animals.