Theresa Matson, PhD, MPH

Tess Matson

“My goal is to integrate addiction health services within primary care in patient-centered ways that reduce disparities and help patients feel valued and more informed about care options.”

Theresa Matson, PhD, MPH

Collaborative Scientist, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute
Affiliate Assistant Professor, Department of Health Systems and Population Health, University of Washington

Biography

Theresa (“Tessa”) Matson aims to make addiction health services more accessible, acceptable, and equitable to patients. She recognizes that strong partnerships with health system leaders, clinical staff, and patients are necessary to identify unhealthy substance use and improve the treatment of substance use disorders — and she is enthusiastic about engaging stakeholders in the design and implementation of these efforts. She joined Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (KPWHRI) in 2016 as a student intern and has held several roles since then, formally joining the KPWHRI faculty as a collaborative scientist in 2022. Dr. Matson is also an affiliate assistant professor in the Department of Health Systems and Population Health (HSPop) at the University of Washington.

With advanced training in quantitative and qualitative methodology, Dr. Matson is developing methods to improve the measurement of treatment for alcohol, cannabis, and other substance use disorders from administrative data such as electronic health records and insurance claims. She is interested in ways that measurement may perpetuate biases that persist in the social world or produce new paths for discrimination under the guise of objectivity. She currently collaborates on trials designed to improve the provision of care for opioid and substance use disorders in primary care and mental health settings. These trials, funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, include studies that promote equity in access to digital interventions for unhealthy substance use.

Dr. Matson earned her MPH in health services and her PhD in health systems and population health from the University of Washington. Her dissertation leveraged routinely collected data from Kaiser Permanente Washington to describe gaps and potential biases in diagnosis and treatment of cannabis use disorder and validated practical tools to improve cannabis use disorder recognition in primary care. The University of Washington School of Public Health awarded Dr. Matson the Gilbert S. Omenn Award for academic excellence.

Prior to becoming a collaborative scientist, Dr. Matson was a pre-doctoral fellow at VA Puget Sound, where she studied system-level, organizational-level, and patient-level determinants to receipt of evidence-based treatment for alcohol use disorder. She also worked as a research interventionist at KPWHRI, where she designed patient-centered interventions, coached patients in behavioral health change using motivational interviewing, and engaged research participants in projects to improve clinical tools and workflow through user-centered design principles.

She is a lifelong learner and aspiring adventurist with a tendency of collecting hobbies in her spare time. Currently, you’ll find her at Home Depot, checking out power tools for her latest home improvement project.

Recent Publications

McClure EA, Hamilton L, Schauer GL, Matson TE, Lapham GT. Cannabis and nicotine co-use among primary care patients in a state with legal cannabis access.  Addict Behav. 2023;140:107621. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2023.107621. Epub 2023 Jan 20. PubMed

Matson TE, Hallgren KA, Lapham GT, Oliver M, Wang X, Williams EC, Bradley KA. Psychometric performance of a substance use symptom checklist to help clinicians assess substance use disorder in primary care.  JAMA Netw Open. 2023;6(5):e2316283. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2023.16283.  PubMed

Glass JE, Tiffany B, Matson TE, Lim C, Gundersen G, Kimbel K, Hartzler AL, Curran GM, Garza McWethy A, Caldeiro RM, Bradley KA. Approaches for implementing digital interventions for alcohol use disorders in primary care: A qualitative, user centered design study. Implement Res Pract. 2022 Nov 4;3:26334895221135264. doi: 10.1177/26334895221135264. eCollection 2022 Jan-Dec. PubMed

Matson TE, Lapham GT, Bobb JF, Oliver M, Hallgren KA, Williams EC, Bradley KA. Validity of the Single-Item Screen-Cannabis (SIS-C) for cannabis use disorder screening in routine care. JAMA Netw Open. 2022 Nov 1;5(11):e2239772. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.39772. PubMed

Frost MC, Matson TE, Richards JE, Lee AK, Achtmeyer CE, Bradley KA, Williams EC. Barriers and facilitators to changing drinking and receiving alcohol-related care: interviews with Veterans Health Administration primary care patients who indicated interest but did not enroll in an alcohol care management intervention trial. Subst Abus. 2022;43(1):1197-1206. doi: 10.1080/08897077.2022.2074602. PubMed

 

New findings

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Better tools for assessing substance use disorder

A simple checklist developed at KPWHRI does well at measuring symptoms of substance use disorder.

Research roundup

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What's new in cannabis use research?

Use in pregnancy and screening in primary care studied by KPWHRI’s Kiel, Matson, and Lapham.

Electronic health records

Health conditoin risk in patients cannabis use, venn diagram, KP health form

EHR study offers insights on medical cannabis use

New research examines providers’ notes to understand patients’ cannabis use and health conditions.

KPWHRI in the media

Substance use checklist effective in primary care

Substance use checklist demonstrates validity, feasibility in primary care

Healio, June 13, 2023