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

Hechter RC, Horberg MA, Weisner C, Campbell CI, Contreras R, Chen LH, Yarborough BJH, Lapham GT, Haller IV, Ahmedani BK, Binswanger IA, Kline-Simon AH, Satre DD. Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS) measures of alcohol and drug treatment initiation and engagement among people living with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and patients without an HIV diagnosis. Subst Abus. 2019 Mar 25:1-9. doi: 10.1080/08897077.2019.1580239. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Bradley KA, Caldeiro RM, Hallgren KA, Kivlahan DR. Making measurement based care for addictions a reality in primary care. Addiction. 2019 Mar. doi: 10.1111/add.14605.

McClure JB, Bricker J, Mull K, Heffner JL. Comparative-effectiveness of group-delivered acceptance and commitment therapy vs. cognitive behavioral therapy for smoking cessation: a randomized controlled trial. Nicotine Tob Res. 2018 Dec 24. pii: 5258090. doi: 10.1093/ntr/nty268. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Frost MC, Matson TE, Tsui JI, Williams EC. Influence of comorbid drug use disorder on receipt of evidence-based treatment for alcohol use disorder among VA patients with alcohol use disorder and hepatitis C and/or HIV. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2019 Jan 1;194:288-295. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2018.10.008. Epub 2018 Oct 30. PubMed

Heffner JL, Mull KE, Watson NL, McClure JB, Bricker JB. Smokers with bipolar disorder, other affective disorders, and no mental health conditions: comparison of baseline characteristics and success at quitting in a large 12-month behavioral intervention randomized trial. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2018 Oct 10;193:35-41. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2018.08.034. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

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

Senior Investigator, KPWHRI; Associate Medical Director for Research and Translation & Physician, Pediatrics, Washington Permanente Medical Group
206-287-2113
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)

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)

Nora Henrikson, PhD, MPH

Assistant Investigator
206-287-4675
Nora.B.Henrikson@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)

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 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