Amy K.Z. Lee, MPH


“The focus of our work is to make sure there is ‘no wrong door’ for a patient to come in and receive help for common health conditions related to alcohol, other substance use, or depression.”

Amy K.Z. Lee, MPH

Research Associate, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute
Twitter: @amykzlee


Amy Lee, MPH, contributes to a wide range of research focused on improving whole-person care, from prevention to treatment for common mental health and substance use conditions. Her main goals include reducing stigma related to care for unhealthy alcohol and other substance use, and improving patients’ receipt of high-quality treatment and support for these conditions in primary care. Her other areas of interest include health equity, social justice, and social determinants of health.

Working with senior investigator Katharine Bradley, MD, MPH, Ms. Lee has played a lead role in Kaiser Permanente Washington’s Behavioral Health Integration (BHI) initiative. As the primary BHI practice coach, she trained and supported clinical teams in implementing a standard process for screening primary care patients for alcohol and other substance use as well as depression; providing brief counseling for patients with unhealthy alcohol use; and engaging patients in shared decision making and treatment for alcohol and other substance use disorders, depression, and suicidal ideation. Currently, Ms. Lee is working with Dr. Bradley and colleagues to develop a decision aid for people with alcohol use disorders. She is also leading the implementation monitoring team on a nationwide study in six health systems to test the implementation of a collaborative care model for treating opioid use disorders in primary care.

Ms. Lee’s other recent and ongoing projects include:

  • Scientific co-lead with Joseph Glass, PhD, MSW, on a Learning Health System project to create data-driven tools for monitoring the quality of care for patients with opioid use disorders and buprenorphine prescribing to treat opioid use disorders.
  • Lead practice coach on a Learning Health System project directed by Cara Lewis, PhD to more fully integrate Community Resource Specialists (CRSs) into primary care teams. This work includes refining core components and capabilities of the CRS role, assisting in program implementation and building tools to support the CRSs and CRS program, and supporting standardization of the role systemwide.
  • Contributor to “Let’s Rethink How We Drink,” an educational video focused on inspiring people to think about how drinking can affect their health and consider positive changes.
  • Collaborator on the CHOICE study, for Considering Healthier Drinking Options in Collaborative Care, which tested collaborative care for veterans with unhealthy drinking who receive their primary care from Veterans Affairs Puget Sound.

Ms. Lee received her master’s degree from the University of Washington’s Community Oriented Public Health Practice program in 2012, after which she joined Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (KPWHRI) as a clinical research specialist. She became a research interventionist in 2015 and was promoted to research associate in 2016. Ms. Lee is a steering committee member of the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Equity and Access Team, also called HEAT, and is a member of the KPWHRI Equity Team.

Research interests and experience

  • Preventive Medicine

    Alcohol and drug screening; brief alcohol interventions

  • Health Services & Economics

    Implementation research; quality measurement

  • Social Determinants of Health

    From Health Care to Health: A Summit to Address Community and Social Factors—supporting work with three groups that came out of the Summit (Community-centered Design, Behavioral Health and NEAR Science, Undoing Institutional and Structural Racism); Community Resource Specialist Role: Implementation and Evaluation

  • Chronic Illness Management

    Primary care management of unhealthy alcohol use; primary care management of alcohol, opioid, and other substance use disorders

  • Implementation Research

    Screening and brief intervention; mental health quality measurement; behavioral health integration

  • Behavior Change

    Unhealthy alcohol and drug use

  • Addictions

    Prevention and treatment

  • Mental Health

  • Alcohol & Drug Use

Recent publications

Bradley KA, Lapham GT, Lee AK. Screening for drug use in primary care: practical implications of the new USPSTF recommendation. JAMA Intern Med. 2020 Jun 9. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2019.7335. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Rosenberg DE, Anderson ML, Renz A, Matson TE, Lee AK, Greenwood-Hickman MA, Arterburn DE, Gardiner PA, Kerr J, McClure JB. Reducing sitting time in obese older adults: the I-STAND randomized controlled trial. J Aging Phys Act. 2020 Jun 4:1-11. doi: 10.1123/japa.2019-0470. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Sayre M, Lapham GT, Lee AK, Oliver M, Bobb JF, Caldeiro RM, Bradley KA. Routine Assessment of Symptoms of Substance Use Disorders in Primary Care: Prevalence and Severity of Reported Symptoms. LID - 10.1007/s11606-020-05650-3 [doi] J Gen Intern Med. 2020 Jan 23. pii: 10.1007/s11606-020-05650-3. doi: 10.1007/s11606-020-05650-3 [Epub ahead of print] PubMed

Williams EC, Bobb JF, Lee AK, Ludman EJ, Richards JE, Hawkins EJ, Merrill JO, Saxon AJ, Lapham GT, Matson TE, Caldeiro R, Greenberg DM, Kivlahan DR, Bradley KA. Effect of a care management intervention on 12-month drinking outcomes among patients with and without DSM-IV alcohol dependence at baseline.  J Gen Intern Med. 2019 Aug 20. doi: 10.1007/s11606-019-05261-7. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Richards JE, Hohl SD, Whiteside U, Ludman EJ, Grossman DC, Simon GE, Shortreed SM, Lee AK, Parrish R, Shea M, Caldeiro RM, Penfold RB, Williams EC. If you listen, i will talk: the experience of being asked about suicidality during routine primary care. J Gen Intern Med. 2019 Jul 25. pii: 10.1007/s11606-019-05136-x. doi: 10.1007/s11606-019-05136-x [Epub ahead of print] PubMed


healthy findings blog


Partnering to advance lifesaving care

Amy Lee describes how the LHS Program is helping KP Washington track and improve treatment for opioid use disorder.

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Patient-centered care for alcohol use disorders

Sharing CHOICE trial results, KPWHRI takes next steps to advance research on alcohol-related care at Kaiser Permanente Washington and beyond. 

behavioral health


BHI: Easier access, better care, less stigma

Clinicians and staff at Tacoma South describe the many ways Behavioral Health Integration is making a difference for patients