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

Berger D, Lapham GT, Shortreed SM, Hawkins EJ, Rubinsky AD, Williams EC, Achtmeyer CE, Kivlahan DR, Bradley KA. Increased rates of documented alcohol counseling in primary care: more counseling or just more documentation? J Gen Intern Med. 2017 Oct 18. doi: 10.1007/s11606-017-4163-2. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Tucker KL, Sheppard JP, Stevens R, Bosworth HB, Bove A, Bray EP, Earle K, George J, Godwin M, Green BB, Hebert P, Hobbs FDR, Kantola I, Kerry SM, Leiva A, Magid DJ, Mant J, Margolis KL, McKinstry B, McLaughlin MA, Omboni S, Ogedegbe O, Parati G, Qamar N, Tabaei BP, Varis J, Verberk WJ, Wakefield BJ, McManus RJ. Self-monitoring of blood pressure in hypertension: a systematic review and individual patient data meta-analysis. PLoS Med. 2017 Sep 19;14(9):e1002389. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1002389. eCollection 2017 Sep. PubMed

Banerjee S, Garrison LP Jr, Flum DR, Arterburn DE. Cost and health care utilization implications of bariatric surgery versus intensive lifestyle and medical intervention for type 2 diabetes. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2017 Jul 19. doi: 10.1002/oby.21927. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Lehavot K, Blosnich JR, Glass JE, Williams EC. Alcohol use and receipt of alcohol screening and brief intervention in a representative sample of sexual minority and heterosexual adults receiving health care. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2017 Oct 1;179:240-246. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2017.07.003. Epub 2017 Aug 2. PubMed

McClure JB, Blasi PR, Cook A, Bush T, Fishman P, Nelson J, Anderson ML, Catz SL. Corrigendum to "oral health 4 life: design and methods of a semi-pragmatic randomized trial to promote oral health care and smoking abstinence among tobacco quitline callers". Contemp Clin Trials. 57 (2017) 90-97. 2017 Jul 24. pii: S1551-7144(17)30469-X. doi: 10.1016/j.cct.2017.07.011. [Epub ahead of print]. No abstract available. 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