Leah Tuzzio, MPH


“I am a qualitative researcher who uses human-centered design principles to improve people’s care experience.”

Leah Tuzzio, MPH

Senior Research Associate, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute



Leah Tuzzio, MPH, focuses on improving patient experience, implementing evidence into health systems, and improving the health of populations. She is collaborating with teams at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (KPWHRI)’s MacColl Center for Health Care Innovation and Center for Community Health and Evaluation on projects related to social determinants of health, including financial hardship in cancer care, quality improvement in primary care, patient-centered care, and community-based research.

She co-leads the National Institutes of Health Collaboratory’s Health Care Systems Interactions core, which reports on lessons learned from implementing pragmatic trials embedded in health systems. The core disseminates these lessons in the Living Textbook, in manuscripts, and through learning workshops. With Dr. Nora Henrikson, Leah studies ways to improve price transparency at the point of care and the impact of price data on behavior. With several teams at KPWHRI, she conducts qualitative research to learn about people’s values for their health and well-being, barriers and facilitators to getting preventive screening, clinicians’ ideas for implementing evidence into shared decision making, and how research affects health policy. At Kaiser Permanente Washington, she is a steering committee member of the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Equity and Access Team, also called HEAT. In addition, she co-leads the Health Care Systems Research Network (HCSRN) Patient Engagement in Research Scientific Interest Group.

Research interests and experience

Recent publications

Hebert PL, Sisk JE, Wang JJ, Tuzzio L, Casabianca JM, Chassin MR, Horowitz C, McLaughlin MA. Cost-effectiveness of nurse-led disease management for heart failure in an ethnically diverse urban community. Ann Intern Med. 2008;149(8):540-8. PubMed

Aiello Bowles EJ, Tuzzio L, Wiese CJ, Kirlin B, Greene SM, Clauser SB, Wagner EH. Understanding high-quality cancer care: a summary of expert perspectives. Cancer. 2008;112(4):934-42. Epub 2008 Jan 7. PubMed

Sisk JE, Horowitz CR, Wang JJ, McLaughlin MA, Hebert PL, Tuzzio L. The success of recruiting minorities, women, and elderly into a randomized controlled effectiveness trial. Mt Sinai J Med. 2008;75(1):37-43. PubMed

Aiello EJ, Buist DS, Wagner EH, Tuzzio L, Greene SM, Lamerato LE, Field TS, Herrinton LJ, Haque R, Hart G, Bischoff KJ, Geiger AM. Diffusion of aromatase inhibitors for breast cancer therapy between 1996 and 2003 in the cancer research network. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2008;107(3):397-403. Epub 2007 Mar 28. PubMed

Hebert P, Tuzzio L, Chassin M, Bramley D. Bramley et al. respond. Am J Public Health.

Bramley D, Hebert P, Tuzzio L, Chassin M. Indigenous disparities in health: a cross-country comparison between New Zealand and the United States. Am J Public Health. 2005 May;95(5):844-50. PubMed

Horowitz CR, Tuzzio L, Rojas M, Monteith SA, Sisk JE. How do urban African Americans and Latinos view the influence of diet on hypertension? J Health Care Poor Underserved. 2004 Nov;15(4):631-44. PubMed

Stewart AL, Gillis D, Grossman M, Pruitt L, McLellan B, Castrillo M, Tuzzio L, Ritter PL. Increasing physical activity levels of underserved seniors: diffusing a research-based program into community settings. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine. 2002; 9, (Suppl 1), 260-261.


Co-designing with patients


Patient collaboration sparks care innovations

By partnering with patients, KPWHRI researchers developed 2 new interventions to boost lung cancer screening.



CVD risk calculation: Can smaller clinics break through?

KPWHRI researchers uncover obstacles faced by smaller practices when adding CVD risk calculators into primary care.



What defines outstanding primary care leadership?

The MacColl Center’s LEAP project identifies 11 features of effective leadership at primary care practices.

health services & economics


Community health workers can help make the difference for patients

Leah Tuzzio, MPH, and colleagues describe an underutilized role that can help primary care become truly patient-centered.