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


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

Fraade-Blanar LA, Ebel BE, Larson EB, Sears JM, Thompson HJ, Chan KCG, Crane PK. Cognitive decline and older driver crash risk. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2018 Apr 17. doi: 10.1111/jgs.15378. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Harding BN, Weiss NS, Walker RL, Larson EB, Dublin S. Proton pump inhibitor use and the risk of fractures among an older adult cohort. Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf. 2018 Feb 28. doi: 10.1002/pds.4406. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Rose SE, Frankowski H, Knupp A, Berry BJ, Martinez R, Dinh SQ, Bruner LT, Willis SL, Crane PK, Larson EB, Grabowski T, Darvas M, Keene CD, Young JE. Leptomeninges-derived induced pluripotent stem cells and directly converted neurons from autopsy cases with varying neuropathologic backgrounds. J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 2018 Feb 21. pii: 4895572. doi: 10.1093/jnen/nly013. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Edlow BL, Keene CD, Perl D, Iacono D, Folkerth R, Stewart W, MacDonald CL, Augustinack J, Diaz-Arrastia R, Estrada C, Flannery E, Gordon W, Grabowski T, Hansen K, Hoffman J, Kroenke C, Larson E, Lee P, Mareyam A, McNab JA, McPhee J, Moreau AL, Renz A, Richmire K, Stevens A, Tang CY, Tirrell LS, Trittschuh E, van der Kouwe A, Varjabedian A, Wald LL, Wu O, Yendiki A, Young L, Zollei L, Fischl B, Crane PK, Dams-O'Connor K. Multimodal characterization of the Late Effects of TBI (LETBI): a methodological overview of the LETBI project. J Neurotrauma. 2018 Feb 8. doi: 10.1089/neu.2017.5457. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Rane S, Koh N, Boord P, Madhyastha T, Askren MK, Jayadev S, Cholerton B, Larson E, Grabowski TJ. Quantitative cerebrovascular pathology in a community-based cohort of older adults. Neurobiol Aging. 2018 Jan 31;65:77-85. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2018.01.006. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Bagi Z, Brandner DD, Le P, McNeal DW, Gong X, Dou H, Fulton DJ, Beller A, Ngyuen T, Larson EB, Montine TJ, Keene CD, Back SA. Vasodilator dysfunction and oligodendrocyte dysmaturation in aging white matter. Ann Neurol. 2017 Dec 28. doi: 10.1002/ana.25129. [Epub ahead of print]. 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.

KPWHRI In the Media

ACT study: Long-running study of aging examines changes in Kaiser Permanente patients over time

New thinking on avoiding deadly falls

AARP, July 10, 2018

Notes from Eric

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.

KPWHRI In the Media

Aging and geriatrics

Cognitive health and older drivers

Third Age, May 6, 2018 

KPWHRI In the Media

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

KPWHRI In the Media

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.