Eric B. Larson, MD, MPH

“As the public-interest research arm of Kaiser Permanente Washington's learning health care system and a member of major research consortia, KPWHRI is honored to contribute to local and national health care improvements.”

Eric B. Larson, MD, MPH, MACP

Vice President for Research and Health Care Innovation, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Washington
Executive Director and Senior Investigator, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute

Biography

Eric B. Larson, MD, MPH, is executive director of Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (KPWHRI), vice president for research and health care innovation at Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Washington, and a senior investigator.  A general internist, Dr. Larson is a national leader in geriatrics, health services, and clinical research and has been an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine since 2007.

Dr. Larson pursues an array of research, ranging from clinical interests such as Alzheimer’s disease and genomics to health services research involving technology assessment, cost-effectiveness analysis, learning health systems, and quality improvement. His research on aging includes a longstanding collaboration between Kaiser Permanente Washington and the University of Washington (UW) called the Adult Changes in Thought (ACT) study. Among ACT’s many groundbreaking findings:

  • Regular exercise is linked to reduced risk of dementia, Alzheimer's disease, and declines in how well people think.
  • Use of larger amounts of common medications that have strong anticholinergic side effects is linked to higher risks for developing dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Risk for dementia in old age can be linked to early life factors, such as socioeconomic status, education, and midlife vascular risk factors.
  • Risk for dementia is also tied to high blood sugar levels, even without diabetes.

With colleagues from Duke and  Harvard, Dr. Larson established and now helps lead the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Common Fund’s Health Care Systems Research Collaboratory. The Collaboratory sponsors pragmatic clinical trials and aims to improve the way clinical trials are conducted so that patients and care providers have access to the best available clinical evidence for decision-making. Dr. Larson is also the principal investigator for the Electronic Medical Records and Genomics (eMERGE) project at KPWHRI and the UW. The goal of eMERGE research is to better understand the genomic basis of disease to tailor medical care to individual patients based on their genomic differences.

Dr. Larson has written or co-authored more than a dozen books, including 2017’s Enlightened Aging: Building Resilience for Long, Active Life, which draws from his decades of work as a physician and the leader of the ACT study. He has also published more than 500 peer-reviewed scientific papers.

Until 2019, Dr. Larson maintained a small but longstanding internal medicine practice. He served as medical director for the UW Medical Center and associate dean for clinical affairs at its medical school from 1989 to 2002. He is a member and past president of the Society of General Internal Medicine (SGIM), having received their highest honor, the Robert J. Glaser Award, in 2004. Dr. Larson is also a master of the American College of Physicians (ACP) and served on its Board of Regents for nearly a decade, including one term as chair. He was a commissioner on The Joint Commission from 1999 to 2010. 

Research interests and experience

 

Recent publications

Latimer CS, Burke BT, Liachko NF, Currey HN, Kilgore MD, Gibbons LE, Henriksen J, Darvas M, Domoto-Reilly K, Jayadev S, Grabowski TJ, Crane PK, Larson EB, Kraemer BC, Bird TD, Keene CD. Resistance and resilience to Alzheimer's disease pathology are associated with reduced cortical pTau and absence of limbic-predominant age-related TDP-43 encephalopathy in a community-based cohort. Acta Neuropathol Commun. 2019;7(1):9. doi: 10.1186/s40478-019-0743-1. PubMed

Ebbert MTW, Jensen TD, Jansen-West K, Sens JP, Reddy JS, Ridge PG, Kauwe JSK, Belzil V, Pregent L, Carrasquillo MM, Keene D, Larson E, Crane P, Asmann YW, Ertekin-Taner N, Younkin SG, Ross OA, Rademakers R, Petrucelli L, Fryer JD. Systematic analysis of dark and camouflaged genes reveals disease-relevant genes hiding in plain sight. Genome Biol. 2019;20(1):97. doi: 10.1186/s13059-019-1707-2. PubMed

Glymour MM, Gibbons LE, Gilsanz P, Gross AL, Mez J, Brewster PW, Marden J, Zahodne LB, Nho K, Hamilton J, Li G, Larson EB, Crane PK. Initiation of antidepressant medication and risk of incident stroke: using the Adult Changes in Thought cohort to address time-varying confounding. Ann Epidemiol. 2019 May 11. pii: S1047-2797(18)31094-9. doi: 10.1016/j.annepidem.2019.04.010. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Tuzzio L, Larson EB. The promise of pragmatic clinical trials embedded in learning health systems. EGEMS (Wash DC). 2019;7(1):10. doi: 10.5334/egems.285. PubMed

Robertson K, Larson EB, Crane PK, Cholerton B, Craft S, McCormick WC, McCurry SM, Bowen JD, Baker LD, Trittschuh EH. Using varying diagnostic criteria to examine mild cognitive impairment prevalence and predict dementia incidence in a community-based sample. J Alzheimers Dis. 2019 Mar 18. pii: JAD180746. doi: 10.3233/JAD-180746. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Aiello Bowles EJ, Crane PK, Walker RL, Chubak J, LaCroix AZ, Anderson ML, Rosenberg D, Keene CD, Larson EB. Cognitive resilience to Alzheimer's disease pathology in the human brain.  J Alzheimers Dis. 2019 Mar 18. doi: 10.3233/JAD-180942. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

White L, Fishman P, Basu A, Crane PK, Larson EB, Coe NB. Medicare expenditures attributable to dementia. Health Serv Res. 2019 Aug;54(4):773-781. doi: 10.1111/1475-6773.13134. Epub 2019 Mar 13. PubMed

Hart LA, Marcum ZA, Gray SL, Walker RL, Crane PK, Larson EB. The association between central nervous system-active medication use and fall-related injury in community-dwelling older adults with dementia. Pharmacotherapy. 2019 Mar 12. doi: 10.1002/phar.2244. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Lee CS, Larson EB, Gibbons LE, Latimer CS, Rose SE, Hellstern LL, Keene CD, Crane PK; Adult Changes in Thought (ACT) Study. Ophthalmology-based neuropathology risk factors: diabetic retinopathy is associated with deep microinfarcts in a community-based autopsy study. J Alzheimers Dis. 2019 Mar 11. doi: 10.3233/JAD-181087. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Henrikson NB, Blasi PR, Fullerton SM, Grafton J, Leppig KA, Jarvik GP, Larson EB. "It would be so much easier": health system-led genetic risk notification-feasibility and acceptability of cascade screening in an integrated system. J Community Genet. 2019 Mar 6. pii: 10.1007/s12687-019-00412-z. doi: 10.1007/s12687-019-00412-z. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

 

kpwhri leadership

Change and constancy in a time of transition

Dr. Eric Larson reflects on KPWHRI’s incoming leader, the institute’s accomplishments over time, and its sustaining values.

innovating care

Tackling opioids: Rethinking a ‘medicalized’ approach to pain

Pain is a universal experience for all living creatures. And nearly every person will experience enough chronic pain to seek medical care at some time in their life—so how do we change how we think about and experience it?

aging & geriatrics

Personalizing care when life expectancy is short

Dr. Eric B. Larson explores how prevention, testing, and treatment must be tailored to meet the needs of patients in late life.

understanding Alzheimer's

Every 3 Seconds

Produced by Alzheimer's Disease International (YouTube, 4:39)

research

New grant will help retrieve brain MRI scan data

National Institute on Aging awards more than $3 million to Adult Changes in Thought (ACT) study for 5 years.

KPWHRI In the Media

Aging and Geriatrics

Proactive boomers will ‘choose their own adventure’ in growing old

3rd Act magazine, Winter, 2019