Julia J. Smith, MS


“I am passionate that data, research, and science are key to improving health, to reimagining the health care experience, and to realizing health equity for all. With innovation and collaboration across disciplines, we have the opportunity to change the health care landscape.”

Julia J. Smith, MS

Biostatistician III, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute



Julia J. Smith, MS, has a passion for utilizing existing data from electronic health records (EHRs) to illuminate the effectiveness and benefits of treatments and medical modalities, as well as to identify people who may have health care needs that are not being sufficiently addressed.

Ms. Smith came to KPWHRI in 2021, joining projects to validate prediction models, compare suicide risk predictions for those undergoing pharmaceutical treatments, and analyze the impact of an intervention for falls risk. This work is closely aligned with her passion to leverage existing data to identify people who may benefit from intervention or additional awareness and education on health.

Prior to joining KPWHRI, Ms. Smith worked in research at Southcentral Foundation for 13 years with a focus on health care services and mental health research, as well as data management. At SCF, her analyses projects included measuring the impact on quality and health outcomes after a shift to an innovative patient-centered medical home model, assessing patient and provider characteristics associated with completed depression and alcohol screening among primary care patients, performing epidemiologic and biomarker studies of tobacco use, measuring the impact of an intervention developed for people with complex health care needs, creating a registry of fragile pediatric customers for primary care providers, and creating a system to balance primary care provider panels through risk prediction based on EHR data and publicly available social determinants of health (SDoH) variables.

Ms. Smith also spent 2 years with a Pacific Northwest payor in Portland, Oregon, conducting research as well as steering the build of data infrastructure for clinical services and a new technology solution with the goal of creating systems that would easily illuminate clinical effectiveness and quality.

Ms. Smith’s experience in research is built on a foundation in education, teaching, and mentorship that she carries with her through mentoring high school youth in the use of statistics in applied equity research as well as through mentoring professionals in health care services research methods.

Areas of research focus

Recent Publications

Dillard DA, Avey JP, Robinson RF, Smith JJ, Beals J, Manson SM, Comtois KA. Demographic, clinical, and service utilization factors associated with suicide-related visits among Alaska native and American Indian adults. Suicide Life Threat Behav. 2017 Feb;47(1):27-37. doi: 10.1111/sltb.12259. Epub 2016 Apr 25. PubMed


mental health


$10 million to expand Mental Health Research Network

NIMH funding will enable the MHRN to conduct larger studies in integrated health systems on topics that matter most.

aging & geriatrics


Do drugs cause falls for adults with dementia?

Researchers find a relationship between prescribed central nervous system-active medications and increased risk of falling among older people with dementia.