Sascha Dublin, MD, PhD

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

Sascha Dublin, MD, PhD

Associate 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

Flanagan ME, Larson EB, Walker RL, Keene CD, Postupna N, Cholerton B, Sonnen JA, Dublin S, Crane PK, Montine TJ. Associations between use of specific analgesics and concentrations of amyloid-beta 42 or phospho-tau in regions of human cerebral cortex. J Alzheimers Dis. 2017 Dec 8. pii: JAD170414. doi: 10.3233/JAD-170414. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Thakral M, Walker RL, Saunders K, Shortreed SM, Dublin S, Parchman M, Hansen RN, Ludman E, Sherman KJ, Von Korff M. Impact of opioid dose reduction and risk mitigation initiatives on chronic opioid therapy patients at higher risk for opioid-related adverse outcomes. Pain Med. 2017 Dec 6. pii: 4689184. doi: 10.1093/pm/pnx293.[Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Gray SL, Walker RL, Dublin S, Yu O, Bowles EJA, Anderson ML, Crane PK, Larson EB. Proton pump inhibitor use and dementia risk: prospective population-based study. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2017 Nov 14. doi: 10.1111/jgs.15073. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Thakral M, Walker RL, Saunders K, Shortreed SM, Parchman M, Hansen RN, Ludman E, Sherman KJ, Dublin S, Von Korff M. Comparing pain and depressive symptoms of chronic opioid therapy patients receiving dose reduction and risk mitigation initiatives to usual care. J Pain. 2017 Oct 13. pii: S1526-5900(17)30733-2. doi: 10.1016/j.jpain.2017.09.006. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed


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. 

Aging & Geriatrics

Targeting risk factors could prevent 1 in 3 dementia cases

International experts on The Lancet Commission report, including Dr. Eric B. Larson, identify 9 risk factors from childhood onward.

Read about it in News and Events.

KPWHRI In the Media

Group Health’s guidelines helped our Group Practice reduce doses of opioids for chronic pain

Pain Point: Taking the Opioid Addiction Problem Seriously

Seattle Magazine, Sept. 2016

healthy findings blog

Tough conversations: How can we help patients get off risky drugs?

Dr. Sascha Dublin describes a Group Health-UW finding that benzodiazepines probably don’t cause dementia. But she cautions that they’re still bad for you.

Read it in Healthy Findings.

KPWHRI In the Media

Anticholinergic drugs linked to risk for pneumonia in elderly

Common class of drugs may be linked to pneumonia risk

HealthDay (syndicated), Mar. 3, 2015