Behavior Change

“We want to empower people to take control of their health. Ultimately, our research on behavior change aims to prevent disease, not just treat it.”

Jennifer McClure, PhD, 
Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute Director of Research, Faculty, & Development

Research overview

From decisions about diet and exercise to medication use and smoking, your behavior influences your health. Indeed, if you’re like most people, your health depends more on what you do every day than on what your health care provider can do for you.

But changing behavior can be challenging, especially in the long run. That’s why Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (KPWHRI) researchers are helping providers support people in making healthy lifestyle choices.

“Changing unhealthy habits or breaking an addiction can be very difficult,” says Jennifer B. McClure, PhD, KPWHRI senior investigator and director of research, faculty, & development. “Our goal is to make these changes easier for people, so they can live longer and healthier lives. As scientists and clinicians, we want to empower people to take control of their health and well-being. We also want to change the health care system to better support patients’ needs. Ultimately, our aim is to prevent disease, not just treat it.”

KPWHRI’s behavioral medicine research includes:

  • developing new treatments to help people stop smoking;
  • promoting better oral health;
  • developing family-based obesity-prevention programs;
  • reducing sedentary behavior;
  • providing screening and assistance to decrease unhealthy alcohol use;
  • establishing team care for chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure;
  • supporting consistent medication use in people have chronic conditions; and
  • creating personalized, convenient, effective behavioral interventions that can be delivered using a variety of emerging technologies.

”Historically our work has tested new forms of counseling, phone-based coaching, and self-help materials,” says Dr. McClure. “With the rise in use of smartphones, we are focusing more on developing mobile Health (mHealth) tools, like smartphone apps, and other technology-based strategies to help people set and achieve their health goals. It’s an exciting time to be a researcher in this field.”

 “Our goal in behavioral medicine research is to help patients develop lifelong habits that keep them healthy,” says Senior Investigator Katharine A. Bradley, MD, MPH, who studies alcohol misuse.

Recent Publications on Behavior Change

Watson NL, Mull KE, Heffner JL, McClure JB, Bricker JB. Participant recruitment and retention in remote eHealth intervention trials: methods and lessons learned from a large randomized controlled trial of two web-based smoking interventions. J Med Internet Res. 2018 Aug 24;20(8):e10351. doi: 10.2196/10351. PubMed

Williams EC, McGinnis KA, Bobb JF, Rubinsky AD, Lapham GT, Skanderson M, Catz SL, Bensley KM, Richards JE, Bryant KJ, Edelman EJ, Satre DD, Marshall BDL, Kraemer KL, Blosnich JR, Crystal S, Gordon AJ, Fiellin DA, Justice AC, Bradley KA. Changes in alcohol use associated with changes in HIV disease severity over time: a national longitudinal study in the Veterans Aging Cohort. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2018 May 24;189:21-29. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2018.04.022.[Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

McClure JB, Bush T, Anderson ML, Blasi P, Thompson E, Nelson J, Catz SL. Oral Health Promotion and Smoking Cessation Program Delivered via Tobacco Quitlines: The Oral Health 4 Life Trial. Am J Public Health. 2018;108(5):689-695. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2017.304279. Epub 2018 Mar 22. PubMed

Bricker JB, Sridharan V, Zhu Y, Mull KE, Heffner JL, Watson NL, McClure JB, Di C. Trajectories of 12-month usage patterns for two smoking cessation websites: exploring how users engage over time. J Med Internet Res. 2018;20(4):e10143. doi: 10.2196/10143. PubMed

Frost MC, Kuo ES, Harner LT, Landau KR, Baldassar K. Increase in physical activity sustained one year after playground intervention. Am J Prev Med. Volume 54, Issue 5, S124-S129. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2018.01.006.

Researchers in Behavior Change

Katharine A. Bradley, MD, MPH

Senior Investigator
206-287-2151
Katharine.A.Bradley@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Paula Lozano, MD, MPH

Sr Investigator, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute; Associate Medical Director for Research and Translation & Physician, Pediatrics, Washington Permanente Medical Group
206-884-8241
Paula.Lozano@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Jennifer B. McClure, PhD

Director of Research, Faculty, & Development; Senior Investigator
206-287-2737
Jennifer.B.Mcclure@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Dori E. Rosenberg, PhD, MPH

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

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Elizabeth H. Lin, MD, MPH

Adjunct Researcher, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute; Physician, Washington Permanente Medical Group
206-287-4264
Elizabeth.H.Lin@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

James D. Ralston, MD, MPH

Senior Investigator
206-287-2076
James.D.Ralston@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Michael R. Von Korff, ScD

Senior Investigator
206-287-2874
Michael.R.Vonkorff@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Evette J. Ludman, PhD

Senior Research Associate
206-287-2917
Evette.J.Ludman@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Nora Henrikson, PhD, MPH

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

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Judith Schaefer, MPH

Research Associate
206-287-2077
Judith.K.Schaefer@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Ben Balderson, PhD

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

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Gwen Lapham, PhD, MPH, MSW

Assistant Investigator
206-287-2021
Gwen.T.Lapham@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Melissa L. Anderson, MS

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

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Nicole Van Borkulo, M Ed

Research Associate
206-287-2866
Nicole.A.Vanborkulo@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Paula R. Blasi, MPH

Research Associate
206-287-2094
Paula.R.Blasi@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Leah Tuzzio, MPH

Research Associate
206-287-2109
Leah.Tuzzio@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Cara C. Lewis, PhD, HSPP

Associate Investigator
206-442-4076
Cara.C.Lewis@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Joseph E. Glass, PhD

Assistant Scientific Investigator
206-287-4266
Joseph.E.Glass@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Amy K. Lee, MPH

Research Associate
206-287-2827
Amy.K.Lee@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Beverly B. Green, MD, MPH

Senior Investigator
206-287-2997
Bev.B.Green@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Julie E. Richards, MPH

Research Associate II
206-287-2100
Julie.E.Richards@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Lynn DeBar, PhD

Senior Investigator
(206) 287-2942
Lynn.Debar@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Affiliate researchers

Sheryl L. Catz, PhD
Professor, Health Care Innovation and Technology, Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing
University of California–Davis

Elizabeth Lin, MD, MPH
Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Washington Family Practice;
Kaiser Permanente Washington Research Institute

Sue McCurry, PhD
University of Washington (UW) Department of Psychosocial and Community Health

Emily Williams, PhD, MPH
UW Department of Health Services; VA Health Services Research & Development Center of Excellence