Clarissa Hsu, PhD

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“I want to empower individuals and communities by ensuring they have the information and support from health care systems to make decisions and take action to improve their health and well-being. This means directly involving them in the design and testing of health care processes and interventions.”

 

Clarissa Hsu, PhD

Associate Investigator, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute

Clarissa.W.Hsu@kp.org
206-287-4276

Biography

Medical anthropologist Clarissa Hsu, PhD, has been doing Kaiser Permanente research since 2001, and became an official member of the faculty in 2011. She conducts research using a holistic approach that unites the cultural, social, and political factors that shape health and health care. Dr. Hsu was one of the first researchers to receive funding from the national Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), which supports studies on issues that are a high priority for patients, caregivers, and clinicians. PCORI-funded research follows an innovative model, including patient input at all steps in the research process. Dr. Hsu and her team christened her PCORI project LINCC: Learning to Integrate Neighborhoods and Clinical Care.

The LINCC project designed, piloted, and evaluated a new primary care role: connecting patients to community resources. This new community resource specialist role was spread throughout Kaiser Permanente Washington, with a robust evaluation and implementation support co-led by Dr. Hsu through KPWHRI’s Center for Accelerating Care Transformation. LINCC also resulted in the creation of valuable health care resources, including an article on having patients as co-investigators, as well as a guide and set of care-design templates for engaging a cohort of patients in co-designing care.

Dr. Hsu is also at the forefront of other prevalent health issues, working to document, design, evaluate, and disseminate new approaches and best practices. She seeks to help chronic pain patients taper off and find alternatives to opioids. She also works to improve how care delivery systems interact with patients and family members around sensitive and complex topics such as dementia diagnoses, use of antipsychotics in youth, blood pressure diagnosis and control, cannabis use, and childhood vaccinations.

Dr. Hsu is an affiliate professor at the University of Washington School of Public Health.

Research interests and experience

  • Clinical Quality Improvement

    Primary care; ambulatory care; preventive medicine; health care design and workforce issues; addressing social determinants of health
  • Patient-Centered Outcomes Research/Patient-Centered Care

    Patient engagement and partnership; shared decision making
  • Chronic Pain

    Using safe and effective methods to treat pain, supporting patients to minimize opioid use, cannabis use, communication about pain
  • Addressing Social Risks in Clinical Settings

    Screening and providing support for patients with social needs 
  • Complementary & Integrative Health

    Patient experiences with complementary and alternative medicine 

  • Evaluation Science and Implementation and Dissemination Science

    Qualitative and mixed-methods approaches

Recent publications

Parchman ML, Von Korff M, Baldwin LM, Stephens M, Ike B, Cromp D, Hsu C, Wagner EH. Primary care clinic re-design for prescription opioid management. J Am Board Fam Med. 2017 1/2;30(1):44-51. doi: 10.3122/jabfm.2017.01.160183. PubMed

Parchman ML, Fagnan LJ, Dorr DA, Evans P, Cook AJ, Penfold RB, Hsu C, Cheadle A, Baldwin LM, Tuzzio L. Study protocol for "Healthy Hearts Northwest": a 2 x 2 randomized factorial trial to build quality improvement capacity in primary care. Implement Sci. 2016 Oct 13;11(1):138. PubMed

Hsu C, Liss DT, Frosch DL, Westbrook EO, Arterburn D. Exploring provider reactions to decision aid distribution and shared decision making: lessons from two specialties. Med Decis Making. 2017;37(1):113-126. Epub 2016 Oct 6. PubMed

Jones SM, Lange J, Turner J, Cherkin D, Ritenbaugh C, Hsu C, Berthoud H, Sherman K. Development and validation of the EXPECT questionnaire: assessing patient expectations of outcomes of complementary and alternative medicine treatments for chronic pain. J Altern Complement Med. 2016 Nov;22(11):936-946. Epub 2016 Sep 30. PubMed

Johnson KE, Mroz TM, Abraham M, Figueroa Gray M, Minniti M, Nickel W, Reid R, Sweeney J, Frosch DL, Ness DL, Hsu C. Promoting patient and family partnerships in ambulatory care improvement: a narrative review and focus group findings. Adv Ther. 2016 Aug;33(8):1417-39. doi: 10.1007/s12325-016-0364-z. Epub 2016 Jun 28. PubMed

Robbins M, Tufte J, Hsu C. Learning to "swim" with the experts: experiences of two patient co-investigators for a project funded by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute. Perm J. 2016;20(2):85-8. doi: 10.7812/TPP/15-162. Epub 2016 Apr 8. PubMed

Cherkin D, Balderson B, Brewer G, Cook A, Estlin KT, Evers SC, Foster NE, Hill JC, Hawkes R, Hsu C, Jensen M, LaPorte AM, Levine MD, Piekara D, Rock P, Sherman K, Sowden G, Wellman R, Yeoman J. Evaluation of a risk-stratification strategy to improve primary care for low back pain: the MATCH cluster randomized trial protocol. BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2016 Aug 24;17(1):361. doi: 10.1186/s12891-016-1219-0. PubMed

Cromp D, Hsu C, Coleman K, Fishman PA, Liss DT, Ehrlich K, Johnson E, Ross TR, Trescott C, Trehearne B, Reid RJ. Barriers and facilitators to team-based care in the context of primary care transformation. J Ambul Care Manage. 2015 Apr-Jun;38(2):125-33. doi: 10.1097/JAC.0000000000000056.

Eaves ER, Sherman KJ, Ritenbaugh C, Hsu C, Nichter M, Turner JA, Cherkin DC. A qualitative study of changes in expectations over time among patients with chronic low back pain seeking four CAM therapies. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2015 Feb 5;15(1):12. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Tuzzio L, Richards JE, Ludman EJ, Hsu C. Building infrastructure to recruit, hire and engage patient partners in research collaborations. J Patient-Centered Res Rev. 2015;2:136-137.

 

New funding

Close-up image of Clarissa Hsu

KPWHRI to launch study on vaccine hesitancy among long-term care workers

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute plans to award $4.75 million to compare ways to raise COVID-19 immunization rates.

Healthy Findings Blog

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Vaccine hesitancy in the time of COVID-19

Can lessons from Immunity Community help build acceptance of COVID-19 vaccines? Clarissa Hsu, PhD, thinks so. 

news

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What defines outstanding primary care leadership?

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

research

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LINCC-ing patients with community resources

Study ends but benefits for Kaiser Permanente members continue — thanks to a new support role in the regions’ clinics, writes Dr. Clarissa Hsu.