Meagan Brown, PhD, MPH

Tess Matson

“We all live intersectional lives, and our research should reflect the complexity and richness of those experiences.”

Meagan Brown, PhD, MPH

Assistant Investigator, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute
Affiliate Assistant Professor, Department of Epidemiology, University of Washington School of Public Health


Meagan C. Brown, PhD, MPH, is a health equity and implementation science researcher who joined Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (KPWHRI) as a collaborative scientist in 2021. She is also the associate director of SONNET: Social Needs Network for Evaluation and Translation, which is funded by Kaiser Permanente's National Office of Community Health and aims to address the social risks and needs of Kaiser Permanente members.

Dr. Brown’s work is rooted in intersectionality theory, which emphasizes the interdependence of social positions (for example, race, class/income, and disability) situated within larger macrosystems of power, privilege, and oppression. She has extensive experience in designing, implementing, and evaluating interventions for chronic disease prevention across community-based and academic settings.

Since joining KPWHRI, Dr. Brown has applied her expertise in health equity theories and methods, social determinants of health (SDOH), implementation science, and chronic disease prevention to the rapidly growing field of social health research. She has led several notable social health projects. These include:

  • Leading a social health strategic planning study using concept mapping methods. This study, which engaged 500-plus partners, resulted in a set of 92 social health priorities for learning and action for use by Kaiser Permanente and the growing social health research field.
  • Developing an SDOH database that can help advance understanding of social and structural factors that impact health outcomes, as site principal investigator of a National Cancer Institute (NCI)-funded health equity supplement.
  • Serving as co-principal investigator of the 2022 Kaiser Permanente National Social Health Survey. In addition to being a data asset widely used by both researchers and leadership across Kaiser Permanente to inform their strategic directions, this survey is one of the first and largest longitudinal assessments of social health in the larger field of social health research.

In addition to these projects, Dr. Brown currently serves as the health equity expert on the Optimizing Implementation in Cancer Control (OPTICC) Center, which is an implementation science center funded by the NCI. She is also leading a pilot study comparing the impact of local community resource specialists on addressing the social needs of Kaiser Permanente members, with the impact of a centralized call center. In 2022, Dr. Brown also received a National Institutes of Health/NCI Disparities Loan Repayment Award to examine the impact of these 2 different approaches to addressing members’ social needs in relation to preventative breast, colon, and cervical cancer screenings.

Dr. Brown obtained her MPH in health behavior from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her PhD in health services from the University of Washington (UW). At UW, she received a Graduate Opportunities-Minority Achievement Program (GO-MAP) scholarship as well as T32 fellowships from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, all of which supported chronic disease prevention intervention implementation, effectiveness, and equity research. In 2019, Dr. Brown was named one of the Husky 100 — an award given to only 100 UW students across all 3 campuses — for her commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in her research and the broader community.

Dr. Brown is an affiliate assistant professor at UW and is committed to training and mentoring the next generation of public health professionals, particularly those from marginalized backgrounds. In addition to being a co-instructor for the Foundations of Public Health course in the UW MPH Core Program, she also has extensive experience working with rural and under-resourced local health department practitioners to improve their use of evidence-based and community-engaged implementation strategies.

In her spare time, Dr. Brown plays semi-professional ultimate frisbee and, like many PNWers, enjoys hiking and backpacking with her dog, Callie.

Recent Publications

Clennin M, Reifler L, Goodman O, Brown MC, Vupputuri S, Daugherty SL, Schootman M. Association of housing instability with obesity status among insured adults. Am J Prev Med. 2024 Apr 20:S0749-3797(24)00135-1. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2024.04.008. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Warner ET, Huguet N, Fredericks M, Gundersen D, Nederveld A, Brown MC, Houston TK, Davis KL, Mazzucca S, Rendle KA, Emmons KM. Advancing health equity through implementation science: Identifying and examining measures of the outer setting. Soc Sci Med. 2023 Aug;331:116095. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2023.116095. Epub 2023 Jul 17. PubMed

Triplette M, Brown MC, Snidarich M, Budak JZ, Giustini N, Murphy N, Romine PE, Weiner BJ, Crothers K. Lung cancer screening in people with HIV: A mixed-methods study of patient and provider perspectives. Am J Prev Med. 2023 Oct;65(4):608-617. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2023.05.001. Epub 2023 May 3. PubMed

Brown MC, Paolino AR, Dorsey CN, Kelly C, Lewis CC. Kaiser Permanente’s Social Needs Network for Evaluation and Translation empirical research agenda. AJPM Focus. 2023 Sep; 2(3): 100101. Published online 2023 May 2. doi: 10.1016/j.focus.2023.100101. PubMed

Mahmud A, Cushing-Haugen K, Wellman R, Brown MC, Lewis CC. Understanding the relationship between social risk factors and COVID-19 contacts. Perm J. 2023; 27(2): 18-22. Published online 2023 Apr 18. doi: 10.7812/TPP/22.146 PubMed


HCSRN conference


Researchers present, connect at annual conference

The HCSRN conference is a venue for collaborative work to improve health and health care.



Improving social health

Learn how SONNET helps Kaiser Permanente design, evaluate, and implement effective social health interventions that address and improve our members' social health. 

SONNET study

Mother and daughter in kitchen by sink

Social risks: Do patients want health systems to help?

New research led by Leah Tuzzio, MPH, looks at patients’ unmet social risks and their desire for assistance.

healthy communities


Partnering with research, CRS program addresses social needs in primary care

Cindee DeWitt describes how Kaiser Permanente Washington’s community resource specialist program stands out among efforts to meet patients’ social needs.