David Arterburn, MD, MPH

Associate Investigator, GHRI

Group Health Physician, Internal Medicine


Recent publications

Curriculum vitae (CV)


Research interests and experience

David Arterburn’s main research focus is on finding safe, effective, and innovative ways to treat obesity. He is a general internist and health services researcher with a passionate commitment to helping individuals and families make treatment decisions that align with their values while sustaining their health over the long haul.

A national leader in obesity research, Dr. Arterburn joined Group Health Research Institute (GHRI) in 2006 to forge a new program of research spanning behavioral, pharmaceutical, and bariatric surgical care. Before joining GHRI, he published important findings on the epidemic nature and rising cost of obesity in the United States. Because tackling the obesity crisis requires a menu of treatment options, Dr. Arterburn’s current research covers a broad range, including policy-level interventions for health plans, pharmaco-epidemiology, pharmacogenetics, the long-term outcomes of bariatric surgery, and shared decision making related to elective surgery. With the support of the Informed Medical Decisions Foundation, for whom he serves as a medical editor, he has collaborated with Group Health’s specialty leadership to implement and evaluate a new initiative to promote shared decision making around elective surgical care with video-based patient decision aids. The approach shows great promise for simultaneously improving the quality and lowering the costs of health care.

Dr. Arterburn’s prior research in the area of obesity pharmacotherapy has had a significant impact on clinical practice guidelines issued by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and the American College of Physicians. Dr. Arterburn is past chair of the Adult Obesity Measurement Advisory Panel sponsored by the National Committee on Quality Assurance, founding chair of the Obesity Society’s Health Services Research Section, and past chair of HMO Research Network (HMORN)’s Obesity Special Interest Group. He is also an affiliate associate professor in the University of Washington (UW) Department of Medicine. Dr. Arterburn is excited to continue his multidisciplinary work with these and other colleagues from the HMORN, the UW, and the VA.

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Recent publications

Toh S, Shetterly S, Powers JD, Arterburn D. Privacy-preserving analytic methods for multisite comparative effectiveness and patient-centered outcomes research. Med Care. 2014;52(7):664-8. doi: 10.1097/MLR.0000000000000147. PubMed

Bethancourt HJ, Rosenberg DE, Beatty T, Arterburn DE. Barriers to and facilitators of physical activity program use among older adults. Clin Med Res. 2014 Jan 10 [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Arterburn D, Flum DR, Westbrook EO, Fuller S, Shea M, Bock SN, Landers J, Kowalski K, Turnbull E, Cummings DE. A population-based, shared decision-making approach to recruit for a randomized trial of bariatric surgery versus lifestyle for type 2 diabetes. Surg Obes Relat Dis. 2013 Nov-Dec;9(6):837-44. doi: 10.1016/j.soard.2013.05.006. Epub 2013 Jun 4. PubMed

Lewis KH, Arterburn D. Gastric bypass surgery is more efficacious than intensive lifestyle and medical treatment for type 2 diabetes remission. Evid Based Med. 2013 Nov 26. doi: 10.1136/eb-2013-101580 [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Schauer DP, Arterburn DE, Wise R, Boone W, Fischer D, Eckman MH. Predictors of bariatric surgery among an interested population. Surg Obes Relat Dis. 2013 Sep 30. pii: S1550-7289(13)00318-3. doi: 10.1016/j.soard.2013.09.014. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Drewnowski A, Rehm CD, Arterburn D. The geographic distribution of obesity by census tract among 59,767 insured adults in King County, WA. Int J Obes (Lond). 2013 Sep 16. doi: 10.1038/ijo.2013.179 [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Arterburn D, Livingston E, Olsen M, Smith V, Kavee A, Kahwati L, Henderson W, Maciejewski M. Predictors of initial weight loss after gastric bypass surgery in twelve Veterans Affairs medical centers. Obes Res Clin Pract. 2013 Sep-Oct;7(5):e321-430. doi: 10.1016/j.orcp.2012.02.009. PubMed

Maciejewski ML, Arterburn DE. Cost-effectiveness of bariatric surgery. JAMA. 2013;310(7):742-3. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.276131. PubMed

Arterburn D, Westbrook EO, Terrell A. Weight control practices of severely obese patients who are not seeking bariatric surgery. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2013 Aug;21(8):1509-13. doi: 10.1002/oby.20488. Epub 2013 Jul 5. PubMed

Arterburn D, Bogart A, Coleman KJ, Haneuse S, Selby J, Sherwood NE, Sidney S, Theis MK, Campos GM, McCulloch D, O'Connor P. Comparative effectiveness of bariatric surgery vs. nonsurgical treatment of type 2 diabetes among severely obese adults Obes Res Clin Pract. 2013 Jul-Aug;7(4):e235-320. doi: 10.1016/j.orcp.2012.08.196. PubMed

To view more publications, please see Dr. Arterburn’s CV.