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.
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.
Matson TE, Carrell DS, Bobb JF, Cronkite DJ, Oliver MM, Luce C, Ghitza UE, Hsu CW, Campbell CI, Browne KC, Binswanger IA, Saxon AJ, Bradley KA, Lapham GT. Prevalence of medical cannabis use and associated health conditions documented in electronic health records among primary care patients in Washington state. JAMA Netw Open. 2021 May 3;4(5):e219375. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.9375. PubMed
Chen JA, Matson TE, Lehavot K, Raue PJ, Young JP, Silvestrini MC, Fortney JC, Williams EC. Provider perspectives on implementing shared decision making for PTSD treatment in VA primary care. Adm Policy Ment Health. 2021 Feb 24. doi: 10.1007/s10488-021-01119-5. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed
Williams EC, Frost MC, Rubinsky AD, Glass JE, Wheat CL, Edmonds AT, Chen JA, Matson TE, Fletcher OV, Lehavot K, Blosnich JR. Patterns of alcohol use among transgender patients receiving care at the Veterans Health Administration: overall and relative to nontransgender patients. J Stud Alcohol Drugs. 2021;82(1):132-141. PubMed
Matson TE, Lapham GT, Bobb JF, Johnson E, Richards JE, Lee AK, Bradley KA, Glass JE. Cannabis use, other drug use, and risk of subsequent acute care in primary care patients. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2020 Aug 8;216:108227. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2020.108227. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed
Williams EC, McGinnis KA, Rubinsky AD, Matson TE, Bobb JF, Lapham GT, Edelman EJ, Satre DD, Catz SL, Richards JE, Bryant KJ, Marshall BDL, Kraemer KL, Crystal S, Gordon AJ, Skanderson M, Fiellin DA, Justice AC, Bradley KA. Alcohol use and antiretroviral adherence among patients living with HIV: is change in alcohol use associated with change in adherence? AIDS Behav. 2021 Jan;25(1):203-214. doi: 10.1007/s10461-020-02950-x. PubMed
A simple checklist developed at KPWHRI does well at measuring symptoms of substance use disorder.
Use in pregnancy and screening in primary care studied by KPWHRI’s Kiel, Matson, and Lapham.
New research examines providers’ notes to understand patients’ cannabis use and health conditions.