Eric B. Larson, MD, MPH


“As the public-interest research arm of Kaiser Permanente Washington's learning health care system and a member of major research consortia, KPWHRI is honored to contribute to local and national health care improvements.”

Eric B. Larson, MD, MPH

Senior Investigator, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute
Professor of Health Services, Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine
Former Executive Director, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute
Former Vice President, Research and Health Care Innovation, Kaiser Permanente Washington


Eric B. Larson, MD, MPH, is a senior investigator at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute. He served as the institute's executive director from 2002 through 2018, as well as vice president for research and health care innovation at Kaiser Permanente Washington from 2017 to 2018.

A general internist, Dr. Larson is a national leader in geriatrics, health services, and clinical research and has been an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine since 2007. He pursues an array of research, ranging from clinical interests such as Alzheimer’s disease and genomics to health services research involving technology assessment, cost-effectiveness analysis, learning health systems, and quality improvement. His research on aging includes a longstanding collaboration between Kaiser Permanente Washington and the University of Washington (UW) called the Adult Changes in Thought (ACT) study. Among ACT’s many groundbreaking findings:

  • Regular exercise is linked to reduced risk of dementia, Alzheimer's disease, and declines in how well people think.
  • Use of larger amounts of common medications that have strong anticholinergic side effects is linked to higher risks for developing dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Risk for dementia in old age can be linked to early life factors, such as socioeconomic status, education, and midlife vascular risk factors.
  • Risk for dementia is also tied to high blood sugar levels, even without diabetes.

With colleagues from Duke and  Harvard, Dr. Larson established and now helps lead the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Common Fund’s Health Care Systems Research Collaboratory. The Collaboratory sponsors pragmatic clinical trials and aims to improve the way clinical trials are conducted so that patients and care providers have access to the best available clinical evidence for decision-making. Dr. Larson is also the principal investigator for the Electronic Medical Records and Genomics (eMERGE) project at KPWHRI and the UW. The goal of eMERGE research is to better understand the genomic basis of disease to tailor medical care to individual patients based on their genomic differences.

Dr. Larson has written or co-authored more than a dozen books, including 2017’s Enlightened Aging: Building Resilience for Long, Active Life, which draws from his decades of work as a physician and the leader of the ACT study. He has also published more than 500 peer-reviewed scientific papers.

Until 2019, Dr. Larson maintained a small but longstanding internal medicine practice. He served as medical director for the UW Medical Center and associate dean for clinical affairs at its medical school from 1989 to 2002. He is a member and past president of the Society of General Internal Medicine (SGIM), having received their highest honor, the Robert J. Glaser Award, in 2004. Dr. Larson is also a master of the American College of Physicians (ACP) and served on its Board of Regents for nearly a decade, including one term as chair. He was a commissioner on The Joint Commission from 1999 to 2010. 

Research interests and experience


Recent publications

Larson E, Larson EB. Influence of a role model on handwashing behavior. Am J Inf Control. 1983;11:146.

Luthy DA, Shy KK, van Belle G, Larson EB, Goodwin L. Apgar scores, cord pH, and perinatal mortality in low birthweight infants. Society of Perinatal Obstetricians. 1983;38A.

Simkin PA, Campbell PM, Larson EB. Gout in Heberden's nodes. Arthritis Rheum. 1983;26(1):94-7. PubMed

Larson EB, Reifler BV, Featherstone HJ, English D. The yield of the dementia work-up in unselected elderly outpatients. Clin Res. 1983;31:642A.

Larson EB, McFarland JG, Slichter SJ, Hillman RS. An HLA-typed community donor pool program: A cost-benefit analysis. Clin Res. 1983;31:302A.

Petersdorf RG, Larson EB. Fever of undetermined origin: An overview. In FUO: Fever of Undetermined Origin, edited by Murray HW, Mount Kisco: Futura Publishing Co., 3-7, 1983.

Larson EB. Recognizing, treating, and preventing high-altitude illness. Emergency Med Rep. 1983;4:121-126.

Fletcher RH, Horwitz RI, Inui TS, Kane R, Larson EB, Mulley AG, Pauker SG, Riegelman RK, Stross JK, Velez R, Williams SV. Clinical research methods: An annotated bibliography. Ann Intern Med. 1983;99:419-424.

Rosenthal E, Jarvik GP, Crosslin DR, Gordon S, Carrell D, Stanaway IB, Larson EB, Grafton J, Wei-Qi W, Denny JC, Shah A, Ritchie M, Hakonarson H, Rasmussen-Torvik LJ, Connoly JJ, Sturm A, Feng Q, Kullo IJ. Association between triglycerides, known risk SNVs, and conserved rare variation in SLC25A40 in a multi-ancestry cohort. BMC Med Genomics. 2021 Jan 6;14(1):11. doi: 10.1186/s12920-020-00854-2. PubMed

White L, Fishman P, Basu A, Crane PK, Larson EB, Coe NB. Dementia is associated with earlier mortality for men and women in the United States. Gerontol Geriatr Med. 2020 Aug 19;6:2333721420945922. doi: 10.1177/2333721420945922. eCollection 2020. PubMed


ACT Study news

person typing computer monitor

Healthy aging: New tool for research and collaboration

Adult Changes in Thought (ACT) Study launches a new website to advance our understanding of brain aging.

Healthy Findings Blog


Practice acceptance when change or adversity strike

At any age — but especially later in life — adapting and seeking assistance when we need it can help through tough times.

Healthy aging

3 women outside sitting doing yoga

Lessons about aging from COVID-19

Eric Larson, MD, MPH, shares ways to reduce social isolation and loneliness, no matter the cause.



Cataract surgery linked with lessened dementia risk

JAMA Internal Medicine study finds cataract surgery associated with 30% lower risk of dementia in aging population.

KPWHRI In the Media

Dr. Eric Larson interviewed about new research based on ACT Study data

Cataract surgery may reduce the risk of dementia, study finds

Oregon Public Broadcasting, Jan. 4, 2022

ACT Study


Roundup of 3 recent studies on dementia risk

Researchers explore links between hearing loss, military service, and cognitive decline — and look at timeliness of diagnosis.

KPWHRI in the Media

Research from the ACT Study, co-led by Eric Larson, MD, MPH, links cataract surgery to a lower risk of dementia.

Cataract surgery associated with lower risk of dementia

The Seattle Times, Dec. 13, 2021