Gregory E. Simon, MD, MPH

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“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

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.

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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

Yeh HH, Westphal J, Hu Y, Peterson EL, Williams LK, Prabhakar D, Frank C, Autio K, Elsiss F, Simon GE, Beck A, Lynch FL, Rossom RC, Lu CY, Owen-Smith AA, Waitzfelder BE, Ahmedani BK. Diagnosed mental health conditions and risk of suicide mortality. Psychiatr Serv. 2019 Sep 1;70(9):750-757. doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.201800346. Epub 2019 Jun 12. PubMed

Simon GE. Why the Nails Should Boss the Hammers. Psychiatr Serv. 2019 Aug 1;70(8):642-643. doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.201900218. Epub 2019 May 29. PubMed

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

Stewart CC, Lu CY, Yoon TK, Coleman KJ, Crawford PM, Lakoma MD, Simon GE. Impact of ICD-10-CM transition on mental health diagnoses recording. eGEMS (Wash DC). 2019;7(1):14. doi: 10.5334/egems.281. PubMed

Jones SMW, Crane PK, Simon G. A comparison of individual change using item response theory and sum scoring on the Patient Health Questionnaire-9. Ann Depress Anxiety. 2019; 6(1): 1098.

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 Jun;16(3):273-282. doi: 10.1177/1740774519833679. Epub 2019 Mar 13. PubMed

Simon GE. Big data from health records in mental health care: hardly clairvoyant but already useful. JAMA Psychiatry. 2019 Apr 1;76(4):349-350. doi: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2018.4510. PubMed

Gong J, Simon GE, Liu S. Machine learning discovery of longitudinal patterns of depression and suicidal ideation. PLoS One. 2019 Sep 20;14(9):e0222665. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0222665. eCollection 2019. 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

 

Research

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Asking about firearm access can normalize and support dialogue for patients

Findings provide roadmap for addressing barriers and improving suicide prevention.

recognition

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Dr. Greg Simon wins national suicide prevention award

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

Virtual screening

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Detecting, assessing suicidal ideation during COVID-19

How new processes improved suicide risk identification when mental health visits went virtual.

healthy findings blog

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Why COVID-19 forecasts are hard to make

In predicting disease, some mathematical models are more reliable than others. Dr. Greg Simon explains why.

KPWHRI In the Media

COVID pivot to telepsychiatry offers new view into patients’ lives

Medscape, Feb. 12, 2021