Aging & Geriatrics

“From our beginnings in 1983, aging research at KPWHRI has consistently led to practical findings that enhance quality of life for seniors.”

Eric B. Larson, MD, MPH
Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute Senior Investigator

Research overview

As the world’s population is aging, and U.S. baby boomers are entering their golden years, it’s only fitting that research at Kaiser Permanente Washington contributes to helping seniors to lead healthier lives.

“Research on aging cuts across virtually everything our institute does,” says Eric B. Larson, MD, MPH, the senior investigator and executive director of Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (KPWHRI) and Kaiser Permanente Washington vice president for research and health care innovation. This includes studies of older women’s health, mental health issues in the elderly, and controlling cancers and chronic illnesses that become more common with age. The widely cited Chronic Care Model, developed at KPWHRI’s MacColl Center for Health Care Innovation, is now the leading care-design model for everyone, including older people, with chronic disease. Now, funding for aging research, especially Alzheimer’s and related disorders, offers even great opportunities for embedded scientists and their teams.

The institute has hosted  several long-running cohort studies, including the Seattle Longitudinal Study, begun in the early 1950s, and the Adult Changes in Thought (ACT) study, a collaboration with the University of Washington. For more than 30 years, ACT researchers, led by Dr. Larson, have focused on finding ways to delay or prevent Alzheimer’s disease, other dementias, and cognitive decline. Through ACT and related studies, the institute has discovered clues to healthy aging that translate into guidance for safely staying active, avoiding injurious falls, and reducing cardiovascular risks. These and other changes have likely contributed to lowering of dementia rates in some first-world countries. More recently, ACT researchers have also been contributing to research on traumatic brain injury and on the genetic foundations of various diseases, including Alzheimer’s.

In addition, the institute’s drug safety research contributes to better understanding of how certain common medications affect seniors’ well-being, including avoiding unsafe medications. Meanwhile, our investigators are also seeking ways to help seniors stay physically active, avoid unnecessary hospitalizations, and receive late-life care that best reflects their values and preferences.

“We’re learning what our study participants value as they grow older,” Dr. Larson says. “And we hope to apply that to help them have a positive experience with aging—promoting their independence and providing them with skills to cope with any problems that may occur.”

Recent publications on Aging & Geriatrics

Barnes DE, Zhou J, Walker RL, Larson EB, Lee SJ, Boscardin WJ, Marcum ZA, Dublin S. Development and validation of eRADAR: a tool using EHR data to detect unrecognized dementia. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2019 Oct 14. doi: 10.1111/jgs.16182. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Odden MC, Rawlings AM, Khodadadi A, Fern X, Shlipak MG, Bibbins-Domingo K, Covinsky K, Kanaya AM, Lee A, Haan MN, Newman AB, Psaty BM, Peralta CA. Heterogeneous exposure associations in observational cohort studies: the example of blood pressure in older adults. Am J Epidemiol. 2019 Oct 8. pii: 5583229. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwz218. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Check DK, Hutcheson KA, Poisson LM, Pocobelli G, Sakoda LC, Zaveri J, Chang SS, Chubak J. Factors associated with employment discontinuation among older and working age survivors of oropharyngeal cancer. Head Neck. 2019 Sep 6. doi: 10.1002/hed.25943. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Dumitrescu L, Barnes LL, Thambisetty M, Beecham G, Kunkle B, Bush WS, Gifford KA, Chibnik LB, Mukherjee S, De Jager PL, Kukull W, Crane PK, Resnick SM, Keene CD, Montine TJ, Schellenberg GD, Deming Y, Chao MJ, Huentelman M, Martin ER, Hamilton-Nelson K, Shaw LM, Trojanowski JQ, Peskind ER, Cruchaga C, Pericak-Vance MA, Goate AM, Cox NJ, Haines JL, Zetterberg H, Blennow K, Larson EB, Johnson SC, Albert M; Alzheimer’s Disease Genetics Consortium and the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative, Bennett DA, Schneider JA, Jefferson AL, Hohman TJ. Sex differences in the genetic predictors of Alzheimer's pathology. Brain. 2019;142(9):2581-2589. doi: 10.1093/brain/awz206. PubMed

Fishman P, Coe NB, White L, Crane PK, Park S, Ingraham B, Larson EB. Cost of dementia in Medicare managed care: a systematic literature review. Am J Manag Care. 2019;25(8):e247-e253. PubMed

Researchers in Aging & Geriatrics

Eric B. Larson, MD, MPH, MACP

Senior Investigator and former Executive Director, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute; Former Vice President for Research and Health Care Innovation, Kaiser Permanente Washington
206-287-2988
Eric.B.Larson@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Sascha Dublin, MD, PhD

Senior Investigator
206-287-2870
Sascha.Dublin@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Diana S. Buist, PhD, MPH

Director of Research and Strategic Partnerships; Senior Investigator
206-287-2931
Diana.S.Buist@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Dori E. Rosenberg, PhD, MPH

Associate Investigator
206-287-2532
Dori.E.Rosenberg@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Erin J. Bowles, MPH

Research Associate
206-287-2708
Erin.A.Bowles@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Ellen O'Meara, PhD

Research Associate
206-287-2938
Ellen.S.O'Meara@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Melissa L. Anderson, MS

Senior Biostatistician
206-287-2647
Melissa.L.Anderson@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Rod L. Walker, MS

Biostatistician
206-287-2895
Rod.L.Walker@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Bridget Burke, PhD, MPH, MIS

Research Fellow
206-287-5252
Bridget.T.Burke@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Laura Harrington, PhD, MPH

Assistant Investigator
206-287-2066
Laura.B.Harrington@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Michael L. Parchman, MD, MPH

Senior Investigator, MacColl Center for Health Care Innovation
206-287-2704
Michael.X.Parchman@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Katie Coleman, MSPH

Director, MacColl Center for Health Care Innovation; Director, Learning Health System Program
206-287-2872
Katie.F.Coleman@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Denise M. Boudreau, PhD

Senior Investigator
206-287-2067
Denise.M.Boudreau@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Robert Penfold, PhD

Senior Investigator
206-287-2232
Robert.B.Penfold@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Marlaine Gray, PhD

Assistant Investigator
206-287-2620
Marlaine.S.Figueroagray@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Ben Balderson, PhD

Research Associate
206-287-2803
Benjamin.H.Balderson@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Jing Zhou, PhD

Biostatistician II
206-287-2725
Jing.Zhou@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Jennifer C. Nelson, PhD

Director of Biostatistics; Senior Investigator
206-287-2004
Jen.Nelson@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Onchee Yu, MS

Senior Biostatistician
206-287-2389
Onchee.Yu@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Jessica Chubak, PhD, MBHL

Senior Investigator
206-287-2556
Jessica.Chubak@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Nora Henrikson, PhD, MPH

Assistant Investigator
206-287-4675
Nora.B.Henrikson@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Andrea Z. LaCroix, PhD

Senior Investigator, KPWHRI; Professor and Chief of Epidemiology, Department of Family Medicine and Public Health, University of California, San Diego
858-822-1073
alacroix@ucsd.edu

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Affiliate researchers

Paul Crane, MD, MPH
Professor, Internal Medicine
University of Washington

Sue McCurry, PhD
Research Professor, Psychosocial and Community Health
University of Washington

Linda Teri, PhD
Professor, Psychosocial & Community Health
Director, Northwest Research Group on Aging, Psychosocial and Community Health
University of Washington

Shelly Gray, PharmD, MS, AGSF
Professor, Department of Pharmacy
University of Washington

Zachary A. Marcum, PhD, PharmD
Assistant Professor, School of Pharmacy
University of Washington

David R. Crosslin, PhD
Assistant Professor
Biomedical Informatics and Medical Education
Adjunct Faculty
Genome Sciences, Division of Medical Genetics
University of Washington

Janelle S. Taylor, PhD
Professor, Department of Anthropology
University of Toronto

Elizabeth Phelan, MD, MS
Associate Professor, Medicine/Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine
Harborview Medical Center
Adjunct Associate Professor, Health Services
University of Washington

Gail Jarvik, MD, PhD
Professor, Medical Genetics, Genome Sciences, Department of Medicine
University of Washington

James Floyd, MD, MS
Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine

Dirk Keene, MD, PhD
Department of Pathology
Harborview Medical Center
 
Oleg Zaslavsky, PhD, MHA, RN
Assistant Professor Biobehavioral Nursing and Health Systems Department
Associate Director of Research, de Tornyay Center for Health Aging
School of Nursing, University of Washington
 
Kristen Dams-O'Connor, PhD
Associate Professor
Department of Rehabilitation Medicine
Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai