Amy K.Z. Lee, MPH

“The focus of our work is to make sure there is ‘no wrong door’ for a patient to come in and receive help for common health conditions related to alcohol, other substance use, or depression.”

Amy K.Z. Lee, MPH

Research Associate, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute


Amy Lee, MPH, contributes to a wide range of research focused on improving whole-person care from prevention to treatment for common mental health and substance use conditions. Her primary goals include reducing stigma related to care for unhealthy alcohol and other substance use  and improving patients’ receipt of high-quality treatment and support for these conditions in primary care. Her other areas of interest include health equity, social justice, and social determinants of health.

Working with KPWHRI Senior Investigator Katharine Bradley, MD, MPH, Amy has played a lead role in Kaiser Permanente Washington’s Behavioral Health Integration (BHI) initiative. As the primary BHI practice coach, she trains and supports clinical teams to implement a standard process for screening primary care patients for alcohol and other substance use, as well as depression, providing brief counseling for patients with unhealthy alcohol use, and engaging patients in shared decision making and treatment for alcohol and other substance use disorders, depression, and suicidal ideation. Amy is also working with Dr. Bradley and colleagues to develop a decision aid for people with alcohol use disorders as well as a nation-wide study to test a collaborative care model for treating opioid use disorders in primary care in six health systems.

Her other recent and ongoing projects include:

  • The CHOICE study (“Considering Healthier Drinking Options in Collaborative Care"), which tested collaborative care for veterans with unhealthy drinking who receive their primary care from Veterans Affairs Puget Sound.
  • Let’s Rethink How We Drink,” an educational video focused on inspiring people to think about how drinking can affect their health and consider positive changes.
  • "Understanding stigma to increase evidence-based care for substance use disorders," which is using natural language processing to identify stigma in electronic health records for patients with alcohol and substance use disorders.
  • Working with Joe Glass on developing strategies for and evaluating how to integrate mHealth apps to treat and augment treatment of alcohol and opioid use disorder in primary care.

Ms. Lee received her master’s degree from the University of Washington’s Community Oriented Public Health Practice program in 2012, after which she joined KPWHRI as a clinical research specialist. She became a research interventionist in 2015 and was promoted to research associate in 2016. Ms. Lee is a member of the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Equity and Access Team (HEAT) and the KPWHRI Equity Team.

Research interests and experience

  • Preventive Medicine

    Alcohol and drug screening; brief alcohol interventions

  • Health Services & Economics

    Implementation research; quality measurement

  • Social Determinants of Health

    From Health Care to Health: A Summit to Address Community and Social Factors—supporting work with three groups that came out of the Summit (Community-centered Design, Behavioral Health and NEAR Science, Undoing Institutional and Structural Racism)

  • Chronic Illness Management

    Primary care management of unhealthy alcohol use; Primary care management of alcohol, opioid, and other substance use disorders

  • Implementation Research

    Screening and brief intervention; mental health quality measurement; behavioral health integration

  • Behavior Change

    Unhealthy alcohol and drug use

Recent publications

Glass JE, Bobb JF, Lee AK, Richards JE, Lapham GT, Ludman E, Achtmeyer C, Caldeiro RM, Parrish R, Williams EC, Lozano P, Bradley KA. Study protocol: a cluster-randomized trial implementing Sustained Patient-centered Alcohol-related Care (SPARC trial). Implement Sci. 2018;13(1):108. doi: 10.1186/s13012-018-0795-9. PubMed

Lapham GT, Lee AK, Caldeiro RM, Glass JE, Carrell DS, Richards JE, Bradley KA. Prevalence of behavioral health conditions across frequency of cannabis use among adult primary care patients in Washington state. J Gen Intern Med. 2018 Jul 10. pii: 10.1007/s11606-018-4558-8. doi: 10.1007/s11606-018-4558-8. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Bradley KA, Bobb JF, Ludman EJ, Chavez LJ, Saxon AJ, Merrill JO, Williams EC, Hawkins EJ, Caldeiro RM, Achtmeyer CE, Greenberg DM, Lapham GT, Richards JE, Lee AK, Kivlahan DR. Alcohol-related nurse care management in primary care: a randomized clinical trial. JAMA Intern Med. 2018 Mar 26. pii: 2674869. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2018.0388. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Rosenberg DE, Lee AK, Anderson M, Renz A, Matson TE, Kerr J, Arterburn D, McClure JB. Reducing sedentary time for obese older adults: protocol for a randomized controlled trial. JMIR Res Protoc. 2018;7(2):e23. doi: 10.2196/resprot.8883. PubMed


Behavioral Health Integration

BHI: Easier access, better care, less stigma

Clinicians and staff at Kaiser Permanente’s Tacoma South clinic describe how Behavioral Health Integration is making a difference for patients.

Read it in News & Events.

Upcoming conference

Seattle welcomes AcademyHealth

KPWHRI hosts the nation’s leading society for health services and policy research as it holds its Annual Research Meeting June 24–26. Dr. Eric Larson chairs.

Read about it in News & Events

Alcohol-related care

Patient-centered care for alcohol use disorders: What’s next?

Sharing CHOICE trial results, Dr. Katharine Bradley describes next steps for research to advance alcohol-related care for patients at Kaiser Permanente Washington and beyond.

Mobile Health Tools

Can mHealth improve primary care for alcohol use disorders?

Dr. Joe Glass wants to make treatment more comfortable for patients and providers—possibly with digital tools.

Read about it in News and Events.