Rod Walker, MS

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“I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to provide biostatistical support across a wide range of KPWHRI collaborations that contribute to public health knowledge and improve health care for patients.”

Rod Walker, MS

Biostatistician III, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute

Rod.L.Walker@kp.org
206-287-2895

Biography

Rod Walker, MS, has developed a diverse research portfolio in his 10+ years working as a biostatistician at KPWHRI. His varied interests have led to collaborations in women's health, cancer, aging and geriatrics, pharmacoepidemiology, opioids research, and mental health. During his tenure he has served as an analyst for the Statistical Coordinating Center for the National Cancer Institute's Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium, evaluated the impact of health system initiatives to reduce risk associated with chronic opioid therapy prescribing, and investigated potential associations between different medications classes and a wide range of outcomes such as pneumonia, fall-related injury, and dementia.

One of Mr. Walker’s longest-running collaborations is with the Adult Changes in Thought (ACT) study, an ongoing longitudinal cohort study seeking to bolster knowledge of risk factors related to dementia, Alzheimer's disease, and healthy aging. As this project and related studies have grown, he has contributed to analyses of associations between medication use and laboratory values and cognitive outcomes within this cohort of older adults, extended this research to associations with neuropathology measures among autopsied individuals, and helped process and analyze activity monitoring data generated from devices worn by ACT participants. Continued collaboration with ACT-related investigators is a highlight of his research at KPWHRI, as the ACT study provides many avenues for increasing public health knowledge of issues relevant for older adults.

A relatively new area of collaboration for Mr. Walker is with researchers from the Mental Health Research Network seeking to use information captured in electronic health records to predict risk of suicide attempt and suicide death. He has appreciated learning from other investigators and biostatisticians on this project, expanding his knowledge in machine learning and risk prediction, as well as in potential issues surrounding health informatics and implementation of tools into clinical workflows. He looks forward to continued opportunities within this research area to address important public health issues in mental and behavioral health.

Research interests and experience

  • Biostatistics

    Survival and longitudinal data analysis; epidemiology; machine learning; two-phase sampling

  • Aging & Geriatrics

    Biostatistics; cognitive health and dementia; neuropathologic correlates of dementia; factors associated with healthy aging

  • Health Informatics

     

  • Mental Health

    Biostatistics; suicide risk prediction; interventions for risk reduction; machine learning and health informatics

  • Medication Use & Patient Safety

    Biostatistics; pharmacoepidemiology; medication safety in older adults; opioids and chronic pain

  • Women's Health

Recent publications

Coley RY, Walker RL, Cruz M, Simon GE, Shortreed SM. Clinical risk prediction models and informative cluster size: assessing the performance of a suicide risk prediction algorithm. Biom J. 2021 May 24. doi: 10.1002/bimj.202000199. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Zaslavsky O, Yu O, Walker RL, Crane PK, Gray SL, Sadak T, Borson S, Larson EB. Incident dementia, glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) levels and potentially preventable hospitalizations in people age 65 and older with diabetes. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2021 Apr 29:glab119. doi: 10.1093/gerona/glab119. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Walker RL, Greenwood-Hickman MA, Bellettiere J, LaCroix AZ, Wing D, Higgins M, Richmire K, Larson EB, Crane PK, Rosenberg DE. Associations between physical function and device-based measures of physical activity and sedentary behavior patterns in older adults: moving beyond moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity. BMC Geriatr. 2021 Mar 31;21(1):216. doi: 10.1186/s12877-021-02163-4. PubMed

Zhou J, Walker RL, Gray SL, Marcum ZA, Barthold D, Bowen JD, McCormick W, McCurry SM, Larson EB, Crane PK. Glucose-dementia association is consistent over blood pressure/antihypertensive groups. J Alzheimers Dis. 2021 Jan 30. doi: 10.3233/JAD-201138. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Dublin S, Walker R, Floyd JS, Shortreed SM, Fuller S, Albertson-Junkans L, Harrington LB, Greenwood-Hickman MA, Green BB, Psaty BM. Response to "ACE-2 downregulation and incidence of severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection". Am J Hypertens. 2020 Dec 15:hpaa212. doi: 10.1093/ajh/hpaa212. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

 

Drugs, diabetes, disparities

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Studying COVID-19 risk and outcomes

Dr. Sascha Dublin tells how studies of KP electronic health record data can improve COVID-19 treatment and prevention.

ACT study

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ACT study: Long-running study of aging examines changes in Kaiser Permanente patients over time

Drs. Larson and Crane co-lead Kaiser Permanente-University of Washington collaboration learning how to promote healthy aging.

cancer research

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Using breast MRI after cancer may lead to unneeded biopsies

A Kaiser Permanente-led BCSC study is among the largest ever to evaluate adding MRI surveillance for breast cancer survivors.