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) and vice president for research and health care innovation at Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Washington. 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, 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 mid-life vascular risk factors.
  • Risk for dementia is also tied to blood sugar levels, even without diabetes.

With colleagues from Duke and  Harvard, , Dr. Larson  started and now helps lead the National Institutes of Health (NIH) 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.

Dr. Larson maintains a small but long-standing 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 their 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

Hall TO, Stanaway IB, Carrell DS, Carroll RJ, Denny JC, Hakonarson H, Larson EB, Mentch FD, Peissig PL, Pendergrass SA, Rosenthal EA, Jarvik GP, Crosslin DR. Unfolding of hidden white blood cell count phenotypes for gene discovery using latent class mixed modeling. Genes Immun. 2018 Nov 21. doi: 10.1038/s41435-018-0051-y. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Stanaway IB, Hall TO, Rosenthal EA, Palmer M, Naranbhai V, Knevel R, Namjou-Khales B, Carroll RJ, Kiryluk K, Gordon AS, Linder J, Howell KM, Mapes BM, Lin FTJ, Joo YY, Hayes MG, Gharavi AG, Pendergrass SA, Ritchie MD, de Andrade M, Croteau-Chonka DC, Raychaudhuri S, Weiss ST, Lebo M, Amr SS, Carrell D, Larson EB, Chute CG, Rasmussen-Torvik LJ, Roy-Puckelwartz MJ, Sleiman P, Hakonarson H, Li R, Karlson EW, Peterson JF, Kullo IJ, Chisholm R, Denny JC, Jarvik GP; eMERGE Network, Crosslin DR. The eMERGE genotype set of 83,717 subjects imputed to ~40 million variants genome wide and association with the herpes zoster medical record phenotype. Genet Epidemiol. 2018 Oct 8. doi: 10.1002/gepi.22167. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Marcum ZA, Walker R, Bobb JF, Sin MK, Gray SL, Bowen JD, McCormick W, McCurry SM, Crane PK, Larson EB. Serum cholesterol and incident Alzheimer’s disease: findings from the Adult Changes in Thought study. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2018 Oct 5. doi: 10.1111/jgs.15581. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Coe NB, Skira MM, Larson EB. A comprehensive measure of the costs of caring for a parent: differences according to functional status. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2018;66(10):2003-2008. doi: 10.1111/jgs.15552. Epub 2018 Sep 17. PubMed

Heath L, Gray SL, Boudreau DM, Thummel K, Edwards KL, Fullerton SM, Crane PK, Larson EB. Cumulative antidepressant use and risk of dementia in a prospective cohort study. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2018 Sep 17. doi: 10.1111/jgs.15508. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Mosley JD, Feng Q, Wells QS, Van Driest SL, Shaffer CM, Edwards TL, Bastarache L, Wei WQ, Davis LK, McCarty CA, Thompson W, Chute CG, Jarvik GP, Gordon AS, Palmer MR, Crosslin DR, Larson EB, Carrell DS, Kullo IJ, Pacheco JA, Peissig PL, Brilliant MH, Linneman JG, Namjou B, Williams MS, Ritchie MD, Borthwick KM, Verma SS, Karnes JH, Weiss ST, Wang TJ, Stein CM, Denny JC, Roden DM. A study paradigm integrating prospective epidemiologic cohorts and electronic health records to identify disease biomarkers. Nat Commons, 2018 Aug 30;9(1):3522. doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-05624-4. PubMed

 

latest News

Eye conditions may help screen for Alzheimer’s disease

Aug. 8, 2018—Age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma could be new lens on dementia risk.

Read it in News and Events.

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New thinking on avoiding deadly falls

AARP, July 10, 2018

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6 ideas from the Mister Rogers movie that apply to health care

Dr. Eric B. Larson writes about how Fred Rogers' radical notions of love and kindness might inspire the best from those working in health care and health research.

Read it in LinkedIn Pulse.

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Aging and geriatrics

Cognitive health and older drivers

Third Age, May 6, 2018 

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Enlightened Aging book

Successful aging: How do you define it?

3rd Act magazine, Spring 2018

Enlightened Aging

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

In an excerpt from his new book, Enlightened Aging, Dr. Eric B. Larson encourages his generation to build reserves for a long life ahead.

Read it in Enlightened Aging

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10 things you can do to prevent devastating falls

How to prevent falls in older adults

Consumer Reports, Nov. 7, 2017 

Live Healthy

10 things you can do to prevent devastating falls

A new study shows we know how to stop the leading cause of injury among older people, writes Dr. Eric B. Larson. All we have to do is use that knowledge.

Read about it in Live Healthy.