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

Von Korff M, Walker RL, Saunders K, Shortreed SM, Thakral M, Parchman M, Hansen RN, Ludman E, Sherman KJ, Dublin S. Prevalence of prescription opioid use disorder among chronic opioid therapy patients after health plan opioid dose and risk reduction initiatives. Int J Drug Policy. 2017 Jun 27;46:90-98. doi: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2017.05.053 [Epub ahead of print] PubMed

Bradley KA, Ludman EJ, Chavez LJ, Bobb JF, Ruedebusch SJ, Achtmeyer CE, Merrill JO, Saxon AJ, Caldeiro RM, Greenberg DM, Lee AK, Richards JE, Thomas RM, Matson TE, Williams EC, Hawkins E, Lapham G, Kivlahan DR. Patient-centered primary care for adults at high risk for AUDs: the Choosing Healthier Drinking Options In primary CarE (CHOICE) trial. Addict Sci Clin Pract. 2017 May 17;12(1):15. doi: 10.1186/s13722-017-0080-2. PubMed

Williams EC, Lapham GT, Bobb JF, Rubinsky AD, Catz SL, Shortreed SM, Bensley KM, Bradley KA. Documented brief intervention not associated with resolution of unhealthy alcohol use one year later among VA patients living with HIV. J Subst Abuse Treat. 2017 Jul;78:8-14. doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2017.04.006. Epub 2017 Apr 13. PubMed

Campbell CI, Kline-Simon AH, Von Korff M, Saunders KW, Weisner C. Alcohol and drug use and aberrant drug-related behavior among patients on chronic opioid therapy. Subst Use Misuse. 2017 Mar 27:1-9. doi: 10.1080/10826084.2016.1276189. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

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

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
206-287-2866
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