Eric B. Larson, MD, MPH

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“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

Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute Senior Investigator
Former executive director of Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute and former vice president for research and health care innovation of Kaiser Permanente Washington

Biography

Eric B. Larson, MD, MPH, is a senior investigator at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute. He served as the institute's executive director from 2002 through 2018, as well as vice president for research and health care innovation at Kaiser Permanente Washington from 2017 to 2018.

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. He 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

Marcum ZA, Rosenberg D, Barnes DE, Yaffe K, Larson EB. Engaging patients to design the Systematic Multi-Domain Alzheimer's Risk Reduction Trial (SMARRT) intervention: findings from a web-based survey. J Alzheimers Dis Rep. 2020 Jul 23;4(1):255-260. doi: 10.3233/ADR-200210. PubMed

Fishman PA, White L, Ingraham B, Park S, Larson EB, Crane P, Coe NB. Health care costs of Alzheimer's and related dementias within a Medicare managed care provider. Med Care. 2020 Jul 23. doi: 10.1097/MLR.0000000000001380. Online ahead of print. PubMed

Tuzzio L, Hanson LR, Reuben DB, Baier RR, Gurwitz JH, Bayliss EA, Williamson J, Fraser JR, Sherman SJ, Larson EB. Transforming dementia care through pragmatic clinical trials embedded in learning healthcare systems. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2020;68 Suppl 2:S43-S48. doi: 10.1111/jgs.16629. PubMed

Tom SE, Phadke M, Hubbard RA, Crane PK, Stern Y, Larson EB. Association of demographic and early-life socioeconomic factors by birth cohort with dementia incidence among US adults born between 1893 and 1949. JAMA Netw Open. 2020;3(7):e2011094. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.11094. PubMed

Marcum ZA, Keene CD, Larson EB. Leveraging neuropathological data in pharmacoepidemiology: a promising approach for dementia prevention? Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf. 2020 Jun 29. doi: 10.1002/pds.5068. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Makhnoon S, Bowen DJ, Shirts BH, Fullerton SM, Meischke HW, Larson EB, Ralston JD, Leppig K, Crosslin DR, Veenstra D, Jarvik GP. Relationship between genetic knowledge and familial communication of CRC risk and intent to communicate CRCP genetic information: insights from FamilyTalk eMERGE III. Transl Behav Med. 2020 Jun 24:ibaa054. doi: 10.1093/tbm/ibaa054. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Gordon AS, Zouk H, Venner E, Eng CM, Funke BH, Amendola LM, Carrell DS, Chisholm RL, Chung WK, Denny JC, Fedotov A, Hakonarson H, Kullo IJ, Larson EB, Leduc MS, Leppig KA, Lennon NJ, Linder JE, Muzny DM, Prows CA, Rasmussen-Torvik LJ, Rasouly HM, Roden DM, Rosenthal EA, Smith ME, Stanaway IB, Van Dreist SL, Walker K, Wiesner GL, Williams MS, Witkowski L, Crosslin DR, Gibbs RA, Rehm HL, Jarvik GP. Frequency of genomic secondary findings among 21,915 eMERGE network participants. Genet Med. 2020 Jun 17. doi: 10.1038/s41436-020-0810-9. Online ahead of print. PubMed

Lynch JA, Sharp RR, Aufox SA, Bland ST, Blout C, Bowen DJ, Buchanan AH, Halverson C, Harr M, Hebbring SJ, Henrikson N, Hoell C, Holm IA, Jarvik G, Kullo IJ, Kochan DC, Larson EB, Lazzeri A, Leppig KA, Madden J, Marasa M, Myers MF, Peterson J, Prows CA, Kulchak Rahm A, Ralston J, Milo Rasouly H, Scrol A, Smith ME, Sturm A, Stuttgen K, Wiesner G, Williams MS, Wynn J, Williams JL. Understanding the return of genomic sequencing results process: content review of participant summary letters in the eMERGE Research Network. J Pers Med. 2020;10(2):E38. doi: 10.3390/jpm10020038. PubMed

Mosley JD, Levinson RT, Farber-Eger E, Edwards TL, Hellwege JN, Hung AM, Giri A, Shuey MM, Shaffer CM, Shi M, Brittain EL, Chung WK, Kullo IJ, Arruda-Olson AM, Jarvik GP, Larson EB, Crosslin DR, Williams MS, Borthwick KM, Hakonarson H, Denny JC, Wang TJ, Stein CM, Roden DM, Wells QS. The polygenic architecture of left ventricular mass mirrors the clinical epidemiology. Sci Rep. 2020 May 5;10(1):7561. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-64525-z. PubMed

Wiesner GL, Kulchak Rahm A, Appelbaum P, Aufox S, Bland ST, Blout CL, Christensen KD, Chung WK, Clayton EW, Green RC, Harr MH, Henrikson N, Hoell C, Holm IA, Jarvik GP, Kullo IJ, Lammers PE, Larson EB, Lindor NM, Marasa M, F Myers M, Peterson JF, Prows CA, Ralston JD, Milo Rasouly H, Sharp RR, Smith ME, Van Driest SL, Williams JL, Williams MS, Wynn J, Leppig KA. Returning results in the genomic era: initial experiences of the eMERGE Network. J Pers Med. 2020;10(2). pii: jpm10020030. doi: 10.3390/jpm10020030. PubMed

 

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New funding

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Grant of over $55M to boost Alzheimer’s, dementia study

Kaiser Permanente Washington will co-lead an expanded ACT Program to better understand the aging brain.

KPWHRI In the Media

In his quarterly column, Eric Larson, MD, MPH, discusses the risk of over-diagnosis and over-treatment for older adults.

The benefits of slow medicine

3rd Act magazine, Fall 2021 (published in August)

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3rd Act magazine, Feb/March issue, 2021