Joseph E. Glass, PhD, MSW

“We need to increase the reach of addiction treatment within health care systems. Many more people could benefit from effective care.”

Joseph E. Glass, PhD, MSW

Assistant Investigator, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute


Joe Glass, PhD, MSW, is an assistant investigator with Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (KPWHRI). Before joining KPWHRI in July 2016, he worked as an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School of Social Work.

Dr. Glass’s research ultimately seeks to understand how effective health care interventions for unhealthy alcohol and drug use could reach more people. His research has sought to answer the following questions:

  • Why do so few people receive help for their unhealthy drinking and drug use?
  • How can we change this?
  • How can health systems make better use of effective treatments?
  • In what ways could our current treatments for addiction be improved?

His research also seeks to understand the social and economic conditions in which people live that affect their alcohol use, mental health, and help seeking, by analyzing data from communities and health care systems. For instance, Dr. Glass is the principal investigator on “Racial and ethnic disparities in alcohol outcomes and health services,” a grant supported by the by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. This project studies how the intersections of race, poverty, and stress influence whether and where people seek help, and why the consequences of drinking vary across racial/ethnic groups. This descriptive research aims to understand how to improve public health interventions that reduce drinking.

After receiving an MSW from the University of Michigan, Dr. Glass spent three years as a social worker at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Ann Arbor Health Care System. As a licensed clinical social worker in a large mental health clinic, he developed expertise in social work case management and evidence-based treatments for anxiety, depression, and substance use disorders. Much of his research is driven by his clinical experiences, thinking back upon the many people struggling with both mental health difficulties and unhealthy substance use who had not yet considered reducing their use or receiving addiction treatment. 

Research interests and experience

Recent publications

Brown R, Deyo B, Riley C, Quanbeck A, Glass JE, Turpin R, Hetzel S, Nicholas C, Cruz M, Agarwal S. Screening in Trauma for Opioid Misuse Prevention (STOMP): study protocol for the development of an opioid risk screening tool for victims of injury. Addict Sci Clin Pract. 2017;12(1):28. doi: 10.1186/s13722-017-0097-6. PubMed

Williams EC, Gupta S, Rubinsky AD, Glass JE, Jones-Webb R, Bensley KM, Harris AHS. Variation in receipt of pharmacotherapy for alcohol use disorders across racial/ethnic groups: A national study in the U.S. Veterans Health Administration. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2017 Sep 1;178:527-533. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2017.06.011. Epub 2017 Jul 11. PubMed

Lehavot K, Blosnich JR, Glass JE, Williams EC. Alcohol use and receipt of alcohol screening and brief intervention in a representative sample of sexual minority and heterosexual adults receiving health care. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2017 Oct 1;179:240-246. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2017.07.003. Epub 2017 Aug 2. PubMed

Busch AC, Shivaram M, Glass JE, Hetzel S, Gugani SP, Gassman M, Krahn D, Deyo B, Brown RT. Pre-discharge injectable vs. oral naltrexone to improve post-discharge treatment engagement among hospitalized veterans with alcohol use disorder: a pilot proof-of-concept study. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2017 Jul;41(7):1352-1360. doi: 10.1111/acer.13410. Epub 2017 Jun 12. PubMed


Latest News

Can mHealth improve primary care for alcohol use disorders?

Dr. Joe Glass wants to make treatment more comfortable for patients and providers—possibly with digital tools.

Read about it in News and Events.

healthy findings blog

Joe Glass, addictions and health disparities researcher, joins GHRI

Dr. Joe Glass adds a social worker’s perspective to the GHRI team working on innovative ways to approach drug and alcohol disorders.     

Read it in Healthy Findings

Live Healthy

What’s the best treatment for depression?

Whether you try antidepressants, therapy, both, or neither, KPWHRI’s Dr. Gregory Simon points to 3 ‘active ingredients’ for feeling better.

Read about it in Live Healthy.