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:
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.
Owen-Smith A, Stewart C, Sesay MM, Strasser SM, Yarborough BJ, Ahmedani B, Miller-Matero LR, Waring SC, Haller IV, Waitzfelder BE, Sterling SA, Campbell CI, Hechter RC, Zeber JE, Copeland LA, Scherrer JF, Rossom R, Simon G. Chronic pain diagnoses and opioid dispensings among insured individuals with serious mental illness. BMC Psychiatry. 2020 Jan 31;20(1):40. doi: 10.1186/s12888-020-2456-1. PubMed
Simon GE, Yarborough BJ. Good news: artificial intelligence in psychiatry is actually neither. Psychiatr Serv. 2020 Jan 8:appips201900464. doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.201900464. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed
Coley RY, Boggs JM, Beck A, Hartzler AL, Simon GE. Defining success in measurement-based care for depression: a comparison of common metrics. Psychiatr Serv. 2019 Dec 18:appips201900295. doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.201900295. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed
Richards JE, Shortreed SM, Simon GE, Penfold RB, Glass JE, Ziebell R, Williams EC. Short-term risk of suicide attempt associated with patterns of patient-reported alcohol use determined by routine AUDIT-C among adults receiving mental healthcare. Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 2020 Jan-Feb;62:79-86. doi: 10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2019.12.002. Epub 2019 Dec 18. PubMed
Simon GE, Shortreed SM, Rossom RC, Penfold RB, Sperl-Hillen JAM, O'Connor P. Principles and procedures for data and safety monitoring in pragmatic clinical trials. Trials. 2019;20(1):690. doi: 10.1186/s13063-019-3869-3. PubMed
Boggs JM, Lindrooth RC, Battaglia C, Beck A, Ritzwoller DP, Ahmedani BK, Rossom RC, Lynch FL, Lu CY, Waitzfelder BE, Owen-Smith AA, Simon GE, Anderson HD. Association between suicide death and concordance with benzodiazepine treatment guidelines for anxiety and sleep disorders. Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 2019 Nov 17;62:21-27. doi: 10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2019.11.005. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed
Coleman KJ, Yarborough BJ, Beck A, Lynch FL, Stewart C, Penfold RS, Hunkeler EM, Operskalski BH, Simon GE. Patterns of health care utilization before first episode psychosis in racial and ethnic groups. Ethn Dis. 2019 Oct 17;29(4):609-616. doi: 10.18865/ed.29.4.609. eCollection 2019 Fall. PubMed
Simon GE, Shortreed SM, Johnson E, Rossom RC, Lynch FL, Ziebell R, Penfold ARB. What health records data are required for accurate prediction of suicidal behavior? J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2019 Sep 16. pii: 5570544. doi: 10.1093/jamia/ocz136. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed
Ahmedani BK, Westphal J, Autio K, Elsiss F, Peterson EL, Beck A, Waitzfelder BE, Rossom RC, Owen-Smith AA, Lynch F, Lu CY, Frank C, Prabhakar D, Braciszewski JM, Miller-Matero LR, Yeh HH, Hu Y, Doshi R, Waring SC, Simon GE. Variation in patterns of health care before suicide: a population case-control study. Prev Med. 2019 Aug 7;127:105796. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2019.105796. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed
Simon GE. Self-reported suicidal ideation as a predictor of suicidal behavior. Psychiatr Serv. 2019;70(7):637-638. doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.70704. PubMed
Now more than ever we can benefit from studies embedded in health-care systems to answer common clinical questions.
The psychologist’s memoir tells how her personal experience led to development of Dialectical Behavior Therapy.
NIMH funding will enable the MHRN to conduct larger studies in integrated health systems on topics that matter most.
Dr. Greg Simon tells why adopting new suicide-prevention findings avoided delays that plague research implementation.
TIME magazine, Oct 24, 2019