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:


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

Simon GE, Johnson E, Lawrence JM, Rossom RC, Ahmedani B, Lynch FL, Beck A, Waitzfelder B, Ziebell R, Penfold RB, Shortreed SM. Predicting suicide attempts and suicide deaths following outpatient visits using electronic health records. Am J Psychiatry. 2018 May 24:appiajp201817101167. doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2018.17101167. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Ludman EJ, Simon GE, Whiteside U, Richards JE, Pabiniak C. Reevaluating sensitivity of self-reported suicidal ideation. J Clin Psychiatry. 2018 May 22;79(3). doi: 10.4088/JCP.17l12017. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Magi R, Mamakou V, McKean-Cowdin R, Nadkarni G, Neville M, Nielsen SF, Ntalla I, Peyser PA, Rathmann W, Rice K, Rich SS, Rode L, Rolandsson O, Schonherr S, Selvin E, Small KS, Stancakova A, Surendran P, Taylor KD, Teslovich TM, Thorand B, Thorleifsso+++. Near Real-time Surveillance for Consequences of Health Policies Using Sequential Analysis. Nat Genet. 2018 Apr;50(4):559-571. doi: 10.1038/s41588-018-0084-1. Epub 2018 Apr 9. 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



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

Suicide prevention: Research network finds new way to predict risk

Predicting suicide attempts and suicide deaths using electronic health records

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

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

Two of our physician-scientists are honored

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

Seattle magazine, April 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