Sascha Dublin, MD, PhD

“My work helps women and doctors know which medications are safe during pregnancy.”

Sascha Dublin, MD, PhD

Senior Investigator, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute
Physician, Washington Permanente Medical Group, Internal Medicine


Sascha Dublin, MD, PhD, is a general internist and epidemiologist whose main research interest is studying the impact of prescription medications and other interventions using real-world health care data. Through this work, she aims to provide patients and health care providers with better information about the risks and benefits of different treatments so they can make more informed decisions.

Dr. Dublin’s work includes studies of medication use in relation to pneumonia risk and dementia risk in older adults. For example, her team found that heavy use of some commonly used medications including antihistamines increases dementia risk. She also has interest and expertise in improving the methods used to study drug safety in older people by better accounting for coexisting illnesses and functional and cognitive status.

Much of Dr. Dublin’s research focuses on the outcomes of medication use or other interventions in pregnancy. These studies take advantage of the rich clinical data becoming increasingly available through electronic health records (EHRs) to develop new knowledge that could improve care. For example, she is working with U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on study of birth defects in relation to opioid use in pregnancy and on a separate study to test whether collecting information from pregnant women through a mobile app can improve the data available to study medication safety in pregnancy.

Dr. Dublin recently completed an R01 grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development to study maternal and infant outcomes after elective induction of labor. She also holds an R01 grant from the same institute to study the impact of treating mild to moderate hypertension during pregnancy.

Dr. Dublin has a strong interest in epidemiologic methods, particularly in approaches to better measure important variables. She has led methods-focused workgroups for the FDA’s Sentinel Initiative and has experience using Natural Language Processing to extract information from unstructured clinical text.

Dr. Dublin collaborates with the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (KPWHRI)’s aging research team. She previously held a Paul B. Beeson Career Development Award (K23) from the National Institute on Aging. She sees patients one day a week in primary care at Kaiser Permanente Washington.

Research interests and experience 

Recent publications

Dublin S, Walker RL, Shortreed SM, Ludman EJ, Sherman KJ, Hansen RN, Thakral M, Saunders K, Parchman ML, Von Korff M. Impact of initiatives to reduce prescription opioid risks on medically attended injuries in people using chronic opioid therapy. Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf. 2018 Oct 30. doi: 10.1002/pds.4678. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Von Korff M, Saunders K, Dublin S, Walker RL, Thakral M, Sherman KJ, Ludman EJ, Hansen RN, Parchman M, Shortreed SM. Impact of chronic opioid therapy risk reduction initiatives on opioid overdose. J Pain. 2018 Sep 3. pii: S1526-5900(18)30494-2. doi: 10.1016/j.jpain.2018.08.003. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Pocobelli G, Yu O, Fuller S, Fraser JR, Wartko P, Chen L, Newton K, Dimer J, McCulloch D, Warwick S, Dublin S. One-step approach to identifying gestational diabetes mellitus: association with perinatal outcomes. Obstet Gynecol. 2018 Aug 17. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000002780. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Sherman KJ, Walker RL, Saunders K, Shortreed SM, Parchman M, Hansen RN, Thakral M, Ludman EJ, Dublin S, Von Korff M. Doctor-patient trust among chronic pain patients on chronic opioid therapy after opioid risk reduction initiatives: a survey. J Am Board Fam Med. 2018;31(4):578-587. doi: 10.3122/jabfm.2018.04.180021. PubMed


latest News

How should we screen for gestational diabetes?

In our learning health system, we discovered that a new screening approach had increased diagnoses without improving overall outcomes. So remarkably, we switched back.

Read it in Healthy Findings.

KPWHRI In the Media

Opioids may raise risk for serious infections

Another downside to opioid use: Pneumonia?

HealthDay (syndicated), Feb. 12, 2018

opioid research

Opioids may raise risks for serious infections

In Annals editorial Drs. Sascha Dublin and Michael Von Korff advocate more caution in prescribing these medications

Read it in Healthy Findings

Dementia & acid reflux

Dementia risk isn’t higher in people who take proton pump inhibitors

Dr. Sascha Dublin explores what this reassuring finding from the Kaiser Permanente-UW ACT study means for patients with acid reflux.

Read it in Healthy Findings.