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

Lu CY, Penfold R, Toh D, Sturtevant J, Madden J, Simon G, Ahmedani BK, Clarke G, Hunkeler EM, Waitzfelder B, Owen-Smith A, Davis R, Raebel MA, Rossom R, Coleman KJ, Copeland LA, Soumerai SB, Kulldorff M. Near real-time surveillance for consequences of health policies using sequential analysis. Med Care. 2018 May;56(5):365-372. doi: 10.1097/MLR.0000000000000893. PubMed

Lu CY, Simon G, Soumerai SB. Counter-point: staying honest when policy changes backfire. Med Care. 2018 May;56(5):384-390. doi: 10.1097/MLR.0000000000000897. PubMed

Lu CY, Simon G, Soumerai SB, Kulldorff M. Counter-point: early warning systems are imperfect, but essential. Med Care. 2018 May;56(5):382-383. doi: 10.1097/MLR.0000000000000896. PubMed

Coleman KJ, Johnson E, Ahmedani BK, Beck A, Rossom RC, Shortreed SM, Simon GE. Predicting suicide attempts for racial and ethnic groups of patients during routine clinical care. Suicide Life Threat Behav. 2018 Mar 24. doi: 10.1111/sltb.12454. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Lin Y, Huang S, Simon GE, Liu S. Data-based decision rules to personalize depression follow-up. Sci Rep. 2018 Mar 22;8(1):5064. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-23326-1. PubMed

Boggs JM, Beck A, Hubley S, Peterson EL, Hu Y, Williams LK, Prabhakar D, Rossom RC, Lynch FL, Lu CY, Waitzfelder BE, Owen-Smith AA, Simon GE, Ahmedani BK. General Medical, Mental Health, and Demographic Risk Factors Associated With Suicide by Firearm Compared With Other Means. Psychiatr Serv. 2018 Feb 15:appips201700237. doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.201700237 [Epub ahead of print] 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

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 

KPWHRI In the Media

New video in Living Textbook Explores data sharing and embedded research

NIH Collaboratory News, Nov. 17, 2017

Healthy Findings Blog

What’s wrong with the term ‘social determinants of health’?

Let’s change our language to allow room for resilience, hope, and effective intervention, writes Dr. Gregory Simon.

Read about it in Healthy Findings. 

KPWHRI In the Media

Suicide prevention: The answers are within reach

Combating suicide risk associated with physical health conditions

U.S. News, July 25, 2017

KPWHRI In the Media

Mental health

The truth about treating depression

Consumer Reports, Apr. 8, 2017