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, Heffner JL, McClure JB, Mull KE, Bricker JB. Differential prevalence of established risk factors for poor cessation outcomes among smokers by level of social anxiety. Am J Addict. 2017 Feb 13. doi: 10.1111/ajad.12509. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Bensley KM, Harris AH, Gupta S, Rubinsky AD, Jones-Webb R, Glass JE, Williams EC. Racial/ethnic differences in initiation of and engagement with addictions treatment among patients with alcohol use disorders in the Veterans Health Administration. J Subst Abuse Treat. 2017;73:27-34. doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2016.11.001. Epub 2016 Nov 11. PubMed

Young-Wolff KC, Klebaner D, Weisner C, Von Korff M, Campbell CI. Smoking status and opioid related problems and concerns among men and women on chronic opioid therapy. Clin J Pain. 2016 Nov 28. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Bradley KA, Rubinsky AD, Lapham GT, Berger D, Bryson C, Achtmeyer C, Hawkins EJ, Chavez LJ, Williams EC, Kivlahan DR. Predictive validity of clinical AUDIT-C alcohol screening scores and changes in scores for three objective alcohol-related outcomes in a Veterans Affairs (VA) population. Addiction. 2016 Nov;111(11):1975-1984. doi: 10.1111/add.13505. Epub 2016 Aug 2. PubMed

Turner JA, Shortreed SM, Saunders KW, LeResche L, Thielke S, Von Korff M. Does association of opioid use with pain and function differ by fibromyalgia or widespread pain status? Pain. 2016 Oct;157(10):2208-16. doi: 10.1097/j.pain.0000000000000631.

Researchers in Behavior Change

Katharine A. Bradley, MD, MPH

Senior Investigator
206-287-2151
bradley.k@ghc.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
lozano.p@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Jennifer B. McClure, PhD

Director of Research, Faculty, & Development; Senior Investigator
206-287-2737
mcclure.j@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Dori E. Rosenberg, PhD, MPH

Assistant Investigator
206-287-2532
rosenberg.d@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Paul A. Fishman, PhD

Senior Investigator
206-287-2925
fishman.p@ghc.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
lin.e@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

James D. Ralston, MD, MPH

Senior Investigator
206-287-2076
ralston.j@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Michael R. Von Korff, ScD

Senior Investigator
206-287-2874
vonkorff.m@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Andrea Hartzler, PhD

Assistant Investigator
206-287-2030
hartzler.a@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Evette J. Ludman, PhD

Senior Research Associate
206-287-2917
ludman.e@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Nora Henrikson, PhD, MPH

Research Associate
206-287-4675
henrikson.n@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Judith Schaefer, MPH

Research Associate
206-287-2077
schaefer.jk@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Ben Balderson, PhD

Research Associate
206-287-2803
balderson.b@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Gwen Lapham, PhD, MPH, MSW

Research Associate
206-287-2021
lapham.g@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Melissa L. Anderson, MS

Senior Biostatistician
206-287-2647
anderson.melissa@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Nicole Van Borkulo, M Ed

Research Associate
206-287-2900
vanborkulo.n@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Paula R. Blasi, MPH

Research Associate
206-287-2094
blasi.p@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Leah Tuzzio, MPH

Research Associate
206-287-2109
tuzzio.l@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Cara C. Lewis, PhD, HSPP

Associate Investigator
206-442-4076
lewis.cc@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Joseph E. Glass, PhD

Assistant Scientific Investigator
206-287-4266
glass.j@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Beverly B. Green, MD, MPH

Associate Investigator
206-287-2997
green.b@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Julie E. Richards, MPH

Research Associate II
206-287-2100
richards.je@ghc.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