Gregory E. Simon, MD, MPH

“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

Areas of focus:

Biography

Greg Simon, MD, MPH, is a psychiatrist and senior investigator who is well-known for extensive research on practical approaches to improving mental health care. His longtime goal has been to develop and evaluate effective real-world strategies that support better mental health, such as providing care management support by phone and online. Recently, his work expanded to include a focus on preventing suicide.

Dr. Simon leads the Mental Health Research Network (MHRN), a consortium of research centers affiliated with 13 large health systems across the United States. 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 using mobile devices for mental health clinical assessments, 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.

Drawing on his extensive experience in the MHRN, Dr. Simon recently launched a project to support a more individualized approach to depression treatment called “feedback-informed care.” Funded by the Kaiser Permanente Sidney Garfield Memorial Fund, the project will create the largest data resource on depression care ever available—and then use that data to tailor depression care based on patient characteristics.

Dr. Simon’s work on suicide prevention gained steam in 2013 when he and colleagues showed that routinely administered depression outcome questionnaires can identify people at increased risk for suicide attempt. With funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Health Care Systems Research Collaboratory, Dr. Simon is leading a large randomized trial to determine whether population-based outreach programs can reduce risk of suicide attempt in people identified by those questionnaires. This research will test two suicide-prevention interventions: an outreach and care management program (delivered online and by phone) and an online psycho-educational program focused on development of emotion regulation skills.

Dr. Simon is an editor for the Cochrane Collaboration’s depression and anxiety review group and sits on the editorial boards for General Hospital Psychiatry and Psychiatric Services. He also chairs the scientific advisory board for the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance. Dr. Simon has practiced adult psychiatry in Kaiser Permanente Washington's Behavioral Health Service since 1990 and holds an appointment as 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

  • Obesity

    Obesity and depression

Recent publications

Yarborough BJH, Ahmedani BK, Boggs JM, Beck A, Coleman KJ, Sterling S, Schoenbaum M, Goldstein-Grumet J, Simon GE. Challenges of population-based measurement of suicide prevention activities across multiple health systems. eGEMS (Wash DC). 2019;7(1):13. doi: 10.5334/egems.277. PubMed

Simon GE, Shortreed SM, Coley RY, Penfold RB, Rossom RC, Waitzfelder BE, Sanchez K, Lynch FL. Assessing and minimizing re-identification risk in research data derived from health care records. EGEMS (Wash DC). 2019;7(1):6. doi: 10.5334/egems.270. PubMed

Shortreed SM, Rutter CM, Cook AJ, Simon GE. Improving pragmatic clinical trial design using real-world data. Clin Trials. 2019 Mar 13:1740774519833679. doi: 10.1177/1740774519833679. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Simon GE. Big data from health records in mental health care: hardly clairvoyant but already useful. JAMA Psychiatry. 2019 Feb 27. pii: 2726612. doi: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2018.4510 [Epub ahead of print] PubMed

Simon GE, Richesson R, Weinfurt K, Hernandez AF, Curtis LH. Statistical code for clinical research papers. Ann Intern Med. 2019;170(1):80. doi: 10.7326/L18-0613. PubMed

Lewis CC, Boyd M, Puspitasari A, Navarro E, Howard J, Kassab H, Hoffman M, Scott K, Lyon A, Douglas S, Simon G, Kroenke K. Implementing measurement-based care in behavioral health: a review. JAMA Psychiatry. 2018 Dec 19. pii: 2718629. doi: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2018.3329. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Simon GE, Yarborough BJ, Rossom RC, Lawrence JM, Lynch FL, Waitzfelder BE, Ahmedani BK, Shortreed SM. Self-reported suicidal ideation as a predictor of suicidal behavior among outpatients with diagnoses of psychotic disorders. Psychiatr Serv. 2018 Dec 10:appips201800381. doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.201800381. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Owen-Smith AA, Ahmedani BK, Peterson E, Simon GE, Rossom RC, Lynch F, Lu CY, Waitzfelder BE, Beck A, DeBar L, Sanon V, Maaz Y, Khan S, Miller-Matero LR, Prabhakar D, Frank C, Drake CL, Braciszewski J. The mediating effect of sleep disturbance on the relationship between non-malignant chronic pain and suicide death. Pain Pract. 2018 Nov 21. doi: 10.1111/papr.12750. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Richards JE, Whiteside U, Ludman EJ, Pabiniak C, Kirlin B, Hidalgo R, Simon G. Understanding Why Patients May Not Report Suicidal Ideation at a Health Care Visit Prior to a Suicide Attempt: A Qualitative Study. Psychiatr Serv. 2018 Nov 20:appips201800342. doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.201800342 [Epub ahead of print] PubMed

Rosenblat JD, Simon GE, Sachs GS, Deetz I, Doederlein A, DePeralta D, Dean MM, McIntyre RS. Factors that impact treatment decisions: results from an online survey of individuals with bipolar and unipolar depression. Prim Care Companion CNS Disord. 2018 Nov 1;20(6). pii: 18m02340. doi: 10.4088/PCC.18m02340. PubMed

 

Profile

What inspires Dr. Greg Simon to study mental health?

Kaiser Permanente Share profiles longtime psychiatrist, KPWHRI investigator, and Mental Health Research Network leader.

Read about it in Healthy Findings.

KPWHRI In the Media

Mental health

Esketamine: How to assess new antidepressant’s efficacy

Bloomberg Businessweek, Feb. 5, 2019

Suicide prevention

Suicide risk prediction is not a self-driving car

‘Nice warning light,’ Dr. Greg Simon says, ‘but my hands stay on the wheel,’ balancing models with judgment.

Read it in Healthy Findings.

KPWHRI In the Media

Mental Health

Predicting suicide attempts and suicide deaths using electronic health records

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) News, July 12, 2018

Mental Health

Suicide prevention: Research network finds new way to predict risk

Led by KPWHRI scientists, study aims to target those who need interventions most.

Read it in News and Events.

KPWHRI In the Media

Two of our physician-scientists are honored

Senior investigator Greg Simon, MD, MPH, 'Top Doc' in psychiatry

Seattle magazine, April 2018