Preventive Medicine

“We want to help people stay healthy and prevent illness, so we’re seeking the best evidence and testing innovative new ways to make screening and health promotion part of everyday clinical practice.”

Nora Henrikson, PhD, MPH
Assistant Investigator, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute

Research overview

Research is often lauded for finding life-saving treatments for diseases like cancer or diabetes. But consider the impact of preventing such illnesses from developing in the first place. It’s hard to describe the value of stopping illness or injury from happening. Yet that’s the goal of research on preventive care.

Most Kaiser Permanente Washington scientists study prevention, whether their work focuses on promoting health by influencing individual behavior, building sound prevention services into everyday clinical care, designing smart health coverage, or all three. By conducting their research at Kaiser Permanente Washington—which combines care and coverage—our researchers have access to data from a large, stable population over time, allowing them to discover which approaches to prevention work best.

Examples include research in areas such as:

Evidence-based practice reviews

A team of researchers at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (KPWHRI) produces reviews of scientific evidence that policymakers at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and others use in health care decision-making. We do this work as part of the Kaiser Permanente Research Affiliates Evidence-based Practice Center, one of 13 centers nationwide that are sponsored by the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Immunization

We’re improving the safety and effectiveness of vaccines through clinical trials, and we’re monitoring how well each year’s new flu vaccines are working. In addition, we’re studying ways to better inform parents about the benefits and potential harms of childhood vaccines, to improve their uptake.

Drug safety

We’re working on several fronts to help ensure the safety of prescription drugs and other medical treatments. For example, we play a leading role in the Food and Drug Administration’s Sentinel program to monitor the safety of medical products through routinely collected electronic health care data. We’re exploring ways to improve the safety of prescribing opioid pain medications. And we often study the safety of drugs commonly used to prevent chronic conditions like heart disease, cancer, and depression.

Screening

Prevention also includes screening to detect disease before symptoms appear, to identify and treat disease at an earlier stage. Our research is improving the effectiveness of cancer screening programs so people get the appropriate tests when needed based on their particular risks. Our research is also aimed at improving clinical screening for behavioral risks such as smoking, suicidal thoughts, alcohol use disorders, and poor eating and exercise habits.

Health promotion

Our research in areas such as smoking cessation, healthy diet, and chronic illness care finds new ways to encourage individuals to adopt and maintain healthier lifestyles. At the same time, we’re exploring ways to reach large populations through the use of phone-based programs, websites, and mobile technologies.

Recent publications on Preventive Medicine

Annest JL, Fingerhut LA, Gallagher SS, Grossman DC, Hedegaard H, Johnson RL, Kohn M, Pickett D, Thomas KE, Trent RB. Strategies to improve external cause-of-injury coding in state-based hospital discharge and emergency department data systems: recommendations of the CDC Workgroup for Improvement of External Cause-of-Injury Coding. MMWR Recomm Rep. 2008;57(RR-1):1-15. PubMed

Comtois KA, Schiff MA, Grossman DC. Psychiatric risk factors associated with postpartum suicide attempt in Washington State, 1992-2001. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2008;199(2):120.e1-5. Epub 2008 Mar 20. PubMed

Landefeld CS, Bowers BJ, Feld AD, Hartmann KE, Hoffman E, Ingber MJ, King JT Jr, McDougal WS, Nelson H, Orav EJ, Pignone M, Richardson LH, Rohrbaugh RM, Siebens HC, Trock BJ. National Institutes of Health state-of-the-science conference statement: prevention of fecal and urinary incontinence in adults. Ann Intern Med. 2008;148(6):449-58. Epub 2008 Feb 11. PubMed

Bonomi AE, Anderson ML, Rivara FP, Cannon EA, Fishman PA, Carrell D, Reid RJ, Thompson RS. Health care utilization and costs associated with childhood abuse. J Gen Intern Med. 2008;23(3):294-9. Epub 2008 Jan 19. PubMed

Arterburn D, Westbrook EO, Wiese CJ, Ludman EJ, Grossman DC, Fishman PA, Finkelstein EA, Jeffery RW, Drewnowski A. Insurance coverage and incentives for weight loss among adults with metabolic syndrome. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2008;16(1):70-6. PubMed

Researchers in Preventive Medicine

Paula Lozano, MD, MPH

Senior Investigator
206-287-2113
Paula.Lozano@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Katharine A. Bradley, MD, MPH

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

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Jessica Chubak, PhD

Senior Investigator
206-287-2556
Jessica.Chubak@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Dori E. Rosenberg, PhD, MPH

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

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Karen Wernli, PhD

Associate Investigator
206-287-2934
Karen.J.Wernli@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Erin J. Bowles, MPH

Manager, Collaborative Science
206-287-2708
Erin.A.Bowles@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Nora Henrikson, PhD, MPH

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

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Aruna Kamineni, PhD, MPH

Assistant Investigator
206-287-2922
Aruna.S.Kamineni@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Melissa L. Anderson, MS

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

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Paula R. Blasi, MPH

Collaborative Scientist
206-287-2094
Paula.R.Blasi@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Joseph E. Glass, PhD, MSW

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

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Julie E. Richards, PhD, MPH

Senior Collaborative Scientist
206-287-2100
Julie.E.Richards@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Yu-Ru Su, PhD

Assistant Biostatistics Investigator
206-287-2948
yuru.su@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Annie J. Hoopes, MD, MPH

Acting Assistant Investigator
Andrea.J1.Hoopes@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Pamela A. Shaw, PhD, MS

Senior Biostatistics Investigator
Pamela.A.Shaw@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)