Gregory E. Simon, MD, MPH

Simon_Gregory_E_205x293.jpg

“We bring a practical approach to mental health research, working to break down barriers between research and real-world health care.”

Gregory E. Simon, MD, MPH

Senior Investigator, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute
Psychiatrist, Washington Permanente Medical Group
Professor, Department of Health Systems Science, Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine
Research Professor, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington

Biography

Greg Simon, MD, MPH, is a psychiatrist and senior investigator well-known for his extensive research on practical approaches to improving mental health care. He seeks to develop and evaluate effective real-world strategies that support better mental health and wellness.  Current areas of emphasis include identifying and assessing suicide risk, improving care for treatment-resistant depression, and early intervention for mental health conditions in children and youth.

Dr. Simon leads the Mental Health Research Network (MHRN), a consortium of research centers affiliated with 13 large health systems across the United States, including Kaiser Permanente Washington. This network, funded through a cooperative agreement with the National Institute of Mental Health, aims to improve the efficiency, relevance, and impact of mental health clinical and health services research. Now in its second five-year funding cycle, the MHRN is exploring a broad range of issues—including suicide prevention, improving heart health in people with serious mental illness, using electronic medical records to improve follow-up care for depression, and understanding the causes of racial and ethnic disparities in mental health care.

Dr. Simon and his MHRN colleagues are conducting several large studies across MHRN health systems, including:

  • A pragmatic trial in four health systems examining the effect of systematic outreach programs to prevent suicide attempt among people at high risk.
  • Using electronic health records from seven health systems to develop and validate machine learning models to identify people at high risk of suicidal behavior.
  • A pragmatic trial in two health systems evaluating electronic health record tools to reduce risk of cardiovascular disease in people with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
  • A rigorous evaluation of Zero Suicide care improvement programs in six health systems
  • Developing measures to assess quality of care for depression in two health systems.

Dr. Simon is an editor for the Cochrane Collaboration’s depression and anxiety review group, sits on the editorial board for General Hospital Psychiatry, and serves on the advisory board for the National Institutes of Health’s All of Us Program (formerly Precision Medicine Initiative).   Earlier, he served on the editorial boards of Psychiatric Services and Psychological Medicine and chaired the scientific advisory board for the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance. Dr. Simon has practiced adult psychiatry in Kaiser Permanente Washington's Mental Health and Wellness Service since 1990 and is a research professor in psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Washington.​​​

Research interests and experience

  • Mental Health

    Depression; bipolar disorder; suicide prevention; self-management; treatment adherence

  • Chronic Illness Management

    Comorbidity of mental health conditions with obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and substance use disorders.

Recent publications

Miller-Matero LR, Knowlton G, Vagnini KM, Yeh HH, Rossom RC, Penfold RB, Simon GE, Akinyemi E, Abdole L, Hooker SA, Owen-Smith AA, Ahmedani BK. The rapid shift to virtual mental health care: Examining psychotherapy disruption by rurality status. J Rural Health. 2023 Dec 26. doi: 10.1111/jrh.12818. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Simon GE, Shortreed SM, Johnson E, Yaseen ZS, Stone M, Mosholder AD, Ahmedani BK, Coleman KJ, Coley RY, Penfold RB, Toh S. Predicting risk of suicidal behavior from insurance claims data vs. linked data from insurance claims and electronic health records. Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf. 2023 Dec 19. doi: 10.1002/pds.5734. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Simon GE, Cruz M, Boggs JM, Beck A, Shortreed SM, Coley RY. Predicting outcomes of antidepressant treatment in community practice settings.  Psychiatr Serv. 2023 Dec 5:appips20230380. doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.20230380. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Ahmedani BK, Yeh HH, Penfold RB, Simon GE, Miller-Matero LR, Akinyemi E, Fallone M, Patel S, Beebani G, Hooker SA, Owen-Smith A, Knowlton G, Levin A, Eke-Usim A, Rossom RC. Psychotherapy disruption before and after the transition to virtual mental health care induced by the COVID-19 pandemic. Psychiatr Serv. 2023 Oct 11:appips20230181. doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.20230181. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Rossom RC, Simon GE. Screening for suicide risk is predicting the future, not diagnosing the present. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2023 Sep 20:S1553-7250(23)00228-3. doi: 10.1016/j.jcjq.2023.09.006. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Llamocca EN, Yeh HH, Miller-Matero LR, Westphal J, Frank CB, Simon GE, Owen-Smith AA, Rossom RC, Lynch FL, Beck AL, Waring SC, Lu CY, Daida YG, Fontanella CA, Ahmedani BK. Association between adverse social determinants of health and suicide death. Med Care. 2023 Sep 11. doi: 10.1097/MLR.0000000000001918. Online ahead of print. PubMed

Simon GE. Sexual orientation and suicidal behavior: Is it getting better? Am J Psychiatry. Sep 12023;180(9):629-630. doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.20230536. PubMed

Simon GE, Cruz M, Shortreed SM, Sterling SA, Coleman KJ, Ahmedani BK, Yaseen ZS, Mosholder AD. Stability of suicide risk prediction models during changes in health care delivery.  Psychiatr Serv. 2023 Aug 17:0. doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.20230172. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Miller-Matero LR, Yeh HH, Maffett A, Mooney JT, Sala-Hamrick K, Frank CB, Simon GE, Rossom R, Owen-Smith AA, Lynch FL, Beck A, Waring S, Daida YG, Lu CY, Ahmedani BK. Racial-ethnic differences in receipt of past-year health care services among suicide decedents: A case-control study. Psychiatr Serv. 2023 Aug 9;0. doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.20220578. Online ahead of print. PubMed

Simon GE, Richards JE, Whiteside U. Reframing the key questions regarding screening for suicide risk.  JAMA. 2023 Jun 20;329(23):2026-2027. doi: 10.1001/jama.2023.7241. PubMed

 

Research

Mental-Health-Awareness-Month-2023_1col.jpg

Improving and advancing mental health care

KPWHRI researchers are contributing to better mental health care for people nationwide.

New findings

Suicide-risk-modeling-story_1col.jpg

Simpler models to identify suicide risk perform similarly to more complex ones

Models that are easier to explain, use could have better uptake in health care settings.

Research

Firearm-access-story_PI-Julie-Richards_1col.jpg

Asking about firearm access can normalize and support dialogue for patients

Findings provide roadmap for addressing barriers and improving suicide prevention.

recognition

Greg-Simon-WBMG-portrait_1col.jpg

Dr. Greg Simon wins national suicide prevention award

Kaiser Permanente physician-scientist will receive American Foundation for Suicide Prevention's Lifesavers Research Award.

KPWHRI In the Media

Understanding rise in youth emergency visits for mental health

Rise in suicide-related ED visits among youth raises larger questions around mental health care

STAT News, May 2, 2023