Group Health Research Institute hosts regular seminars where our scientists and collaborators present their research findings.

All are welcome.

Left: Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen presents at the 17th annual Hilde and Bill Birnbaum Endowed Lecture, June 27, 2016.

Upcoming seminars and events

November 7, 2016

Health Equity and Access Team (HEAT)

Group Health's panel will convene to discuss local social determinants of health and seek input from the community.

Soundview room at Group Health Capitol Hill (CMG-649), Seattle, Wash. 

HEAT’s next meeting will explore more of the new questions raised at the September 12 event. This meeting will also include discussions of the answers to the original questions from the various small groups. All who are interested in health care access and equity are welcome. Please join us.

Learn more about HEAT in our Healthy Findings blog: "HEAT panel explores social determinants of health." (Sept. 16, 2016)

November 8, 2016

Kaiser Permanente’s PHASE initiative: Translating a KP clinical protocol into the safety net

Presenter: Maggie Jones, MPH, Associate Director at the Center for Community Health and Evaluation. 

Group Health Research Institute, Room 1509A, 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.

In 2003, Kaiser Permanente (KP) Northern California launched the PHASE (Preventing Heart Attacks and Strokes Everyday) initiative, which provides an evidenced-based, population management approach for its patients at risk for heart attacks and strokes. As part of its community benefit effort, KP began sharing PHASE with the safety net health care providers in 2006. CCHE has served as KP’s evaluation partner for PHASE since 2012. This presentation will describe the evaluation of PHASE, including design, results, and learnings about translating KP clinical initiatives into other organizational settings. 

Coffee and tea will be served.

November 15, 2016

Obstetric care and birth outcomes: how can we use routinely collected data to improve population health?

Presenter: Jonathan Snowden, PhD, Oregon Health & Science University Ob-Gyn Department and OHSU/PSU School of Public Health

Group Health Research Institute, Room 1509A, 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.

There is a pressing need to increase our collective understanding of the childbirth care, setting, and health care systems factors that affect outcomes for birthing women and their babies. The U.S. has unacceptably high rates of death and harm during childbirth compared to the rest of the industrialized world, and rates of these morbidities are increasing. Although no one factor explains these trends, filling gaps in the evidence base for obstetric care will identify actionable levers to improve birth outcomes and close disparities. Coinciding with recent trends in childbirth care and outcomes (e.g., obstetric procedure use) in recent years, health care systems have been transformed through widespread uptake of health IT.

These health systems changes have caused a proliferation of health-related data, which are largely untapped for improving care and outcomes during childbirth. Among the many potential advantages of these data resources, such research is less cost- and time-intensive than prospective epidemiologic studies.

This talk highlights the current uses and the future potential of administrative data (i.e., routinely collected data, not intended for research purposes) to improve maternal-child health. Specific administrative data sources, data management/transformation techniques, and data-adaptive modeling approaches will be discussed, in the content area of obstetrics. The long-term goal of this research is to provide clinicians, public health officials, and policymakers with the evidence base needed to improve care and outcomes for childbearing women and their babies.

Coffee and tea will be served.

November 28, 2016

Accelerated failure time models in the presence of complex censoring with application to Alzheimer’s disease

Presenter: Sebastien Haneuse, PhD, Associate Professor of Biostatistics, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Group Health Research Institute, Room 1509A, 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Statistical analyses that investigate risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) are often subject to a number of challenges. Some of these challenges arise due to practical considerations regarding data collection such as when the observation of AD events and time-varying exposures is subject to complex censoring including left truncation and either interval or right censoring. Additional challenges arise due to the fact that study participants are often subject to competing forces, most notably death, that may not be independent of AD.

Toward resolving the latter, researchers may choose to embed the study of AD within the “semi-competing risks” framework for which the recent statistical literature has seen a number of advances including for the so-called illness-death model. To the best of our knowledge, however, the semi-competing risks literature has not fully considered analyses in contexts with complex censoring, as in typical studies of AD. This is particularly the case when interest lies in the accelerated failure time (AFT) model, an alternative to the traditional multiplicative Cox model that places emphasis away from the hazard function. In this work we outline a new Bayesian framework for estimation/inference of an AFT illness-death model for semi-competing risks data subject to complex censoring. An efficient computational algorithm that gives researchers the flexibility to adopt either a fully parametric or a semi-parametric model specification is developed and implemented.

The proposed methods are motivated by and illustrated with an analysis of data from the Adult Changes in Thought study, an on-going community-based prospective study of incident AD in western Washington State.

Coffee and tea will be served.

Past Events


October 25, 2016

Alzheimer's disease, ACT, and the future?

Presenter: Paul K. Crane, MD, MPHUniversity of Washington Professor, Internal Medicine

Group Health Research Institute, Room 1509A, 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.

In this talk, Dr. Crane will discuss fundamental questions in the history of scientific understanding of Alzheimer's disease and dementia, emphasizing the relevance of prospective cohort studies like the Adult Changes in Thought (ACT) study.  He will review the current status of the project along with ongoing and hoped for initiatives moving forward.  There should be an opportunity at the end to brainstorm ways of further positioning the ACT study at the heart of GHRI strategies around older adults.

Coffee and tea will be served.

October 23–25, 2016

2nd Seattle Symposium on Health Care Data Analytics

Learning from electronic data to advance health and heath care

Hyatt Olive 8 in downtown Seattle

Visit the symposium web page to view meeting details, register, and find hotel accommodation information. Space is limited, so please reserve your spot soon! 

October 20, 2016

National Institutes of Health, Office of Disease Prevention webinar: Guidelines for screening in children

Presenter: David C. Grossman, MD, MPH, Group Health Research Institute Senior Investigator, Group Health Executive Medical Director, Population & Purchaser Strategy, Health Plan, Group Health Cooperative Pediatrician, Factoria Clinic

Webinar, Thursday, Oct. 20, 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. Pacific

More info: This seminar will be presented as a webinar on the NIH VideoCast page.

Prevention is often viewed as the cornerstone of pediatrics and child health. This view is supported by the tremendous advances in the prevention of infectious diseases and even some non-chronic conditions, such as many types of injuries. Infectious disease prevention has resulted largely from advances in immunizations and the use of preventive medication. Injury deaths have largely been reduced by advances in environmental health and engineering, and not through clinical services.

Despite these recognized advances, there are still significant gaps in our understanding of pediatric clinical preventive services, largely in the domains of screening asymptomatic children and providing behavioral interventions to improve healthful activities. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has identified a number of key evidence gaps in these areas and issued a call for research to close these gaps. This seminar will focus on the evidence gaps in children’s clinical preventive services and will address how these gaps might be filled through a combination of different study designs that best address these gaps, including screening trials, treatment trials and observational evidence across a broad variety of conditions.

Registration, although not required, is encouraged for planning purposes.

October 11, 2016

The Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research: Should you use it in your next grant application?

Presenters: Michael Parchman, MD, MPH Paula Lozano, MD, MPH

Group Health Research Institute, Room 1509A, 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.

The Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research (CFIR) is a comprehensive framework that consolidates constructs found in a broad array of published implementation science theories. Used as a guiding framework in more than 400 peer-reviewed published studies, it facilitates the identification and understanding of the myriad potentially relevant constructs that influence successful implementation efforts and how they may apply in a particular context.

This seminar will introduce CFIR, discuss its application to hypothesis-driven research, and explore how it might be incorporated into future grant applications. In the interest of promoting greater GHRI involvement in implementation science, we will allow ample time for participants to talk about opportunities they may be considering and questions they may have about getting started in this arena.

Michael Parchman, MD, MPH,  is Director of the MacColl Center for Healthcare Innovation within the Group Health Research Institute. For over 20 years his research and work has focused on improving the dissemination and implementation of innovations into primary care settings. He currently leads a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-funded project to identify and spread innovative approaches to support provider engagement in reducing low-value care. In other work, he is testing methods to build QI capacity across 320 smaller primary care practices with a goal of improving cardiovascular risk factors. He also leads a study team to improve the safety of opioid prescribing in rural health clinics across Eastern Washington and Central Idaho.

Prior to joining MacColl Dr. Parchman served as a project officer at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and was on the faculty in the Department of Family & Community Medicine at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in San Antonio.

Paula Lozano, MD, MPH is Associate Medical Director for Research and Translation at Group Health Physicians, a practicing pediatrician at Group Health, and a Senior Investigator at the Group Health Research Institute (GHRI). Working at the intersection of research, care delivery, and coverage, Dr. Lozano serves as a bridge between GHRI and the Group Health enterprise. She works to help Group Health fulfill its promise of being a learning healthcare system—a place where research informs practice, and practice informs research. She facilitates research projects and their operations in the group practice and the health plan.

Dr. Lozano also promotes research translation and innovation within the delivery system, helping to integrate research findings into practice in support of the Quadruple Aim: to enhance patient experience, improve health, reduce costs, and improve the life of care providers. Dr. Lozano conducts research in obesity treatment in primary care settings, behavioral health integration, pediatric chronic conditions and health behavior change counseling.  Her work has focused on improving health care quality through primary care team redesign, supporting clinical decision-making by providers, and supporting patients and parents in health behavior change. She has conducted research on the care of children with asthma, ADHD, depression and other chronic conditions, quality of care and the delivery of health services to disadvantaged children.

Coffee and tea will be served.

September 28, 2016

2016 Group Health Data & Analytics Fair

Come see how data is being used at Group Health to improve care, lower costs and understand the health and health care of our members.

Group Health Research Institute, Room 1509

The Group Health Research Institute will host the 2016 Group Health Data & Analytics Fair on Wednesday, September 28th, at GHRI from 2 to 4pm. We’re welcoming posters and presentations from analysts across Group Health Cooperative to share their knowledge, interests and good will. All who love data and would like to learn more about how it is used at Group Health are cordially invited to come see what’s new in the world of data and analytics.

Questions? Suggestions? Please contact us; we’d love to hear from you.

September 27, 2016

How the intersection of art and medicine can transform patient care

Presenter: Marlaine Gray, PhD, Group Health Research Institute Research Associate

Group Health Research Institute, Room 1509A, 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.

This presentation will describe how patient and providers cultivate strategies of resilience amid severe chronic or life-limiting illness diagnoses and traumatic experiences in residency and medical practice.  Drawing upon more than 70 interviews, 20 observations, and deep immersion in the use of creative care in U.S. hospitals, this study illuminates how those who facilitate creative experiences, those who participate in them, and the providers that champion them articulate the value of these experiences in relation to patient and provider care. 

This study also examines the institutional logics of supporting creative experiences within hospitals. Creative experiences include medical students and mid-career professionals learning to look at paintings in national art museums that help them make more accurate clinical diagnoses and learn to sit with uncertainty, providers using poetry to speak to and about patients, and patients manifesting their values and wishes for remembrance at the end of life. The results of this work show how creative experiences provide an important complement to traditional biomedical care.

Coffee and tea will be served.

September 17, 2016

Poster presentation—Designing for good patient decisions: bringing together data, psychology, and human-centered design to help breast cancer survivors choose a method of post-treatment surveillance.

Presenter: Karen Wernli, PhD, assistant investigator, Group Health Research Institute

Stanford University, Stanford, Calif., 10:10–11:40 a.m., Stanford Medicine X Lower Lobby

Mammograms are the standard for post-treatment surveillance of breast cancer patients, but the use of MRI is rising due to doctors and women developing anecdotal experience through peers and through its usage in other processes like diagnosis. Few data are available to guide decisions about which method is more effective for individual patients, and many patients are unaware of the important implications of their choice on their time, money, stress, and comfort. Group Health Research Institute (GHRI) and Artefact are working to help fill this important gap by bringing together the first large-scale data analysis of MRI and mammography to support clinical decisions and developing an interactive decision-support system with individually calculated patient results. In this panel discussion, together with GHRI, we will share lessons learned, design principles and behavioral economics strategies that we have deployed to create a platform that can empower more effective and confident decision-making by breast cancer patients.

More info: http://medicinex.stanford.edu/conf/conference/event/788

September 13, 2016

The MATCH Trial: Did Implementation of an Evidence-Based Risk-Stratification Strategy Improve Outcomes of Care for Patients with Back Pain?

Presenter: Daniel C. Cherkin, PhD, senior scientific investigator, Group Health Research Institute

Group Health Research Institute, Room 1509A, 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.

This presentation will describe the development, implementation, and evaluation of a strategy for targeting treatment strategies to patients with back pain with different levels of risk of a poor outcome. This “STarTBack” approach was recently developed and tested in the U.K. and found to improve patient outcomes while decrease work loss due to back pain.

Key components of this strategy are collecting data from patients during clinic visits to determine their risk of a poor outcome and then offering treatment options appropriate for each risk level. Because this strategy is perceived as a rational and effective approach to back pain, it has attracted a lot of attention in the U.S. and abroad by offering hope for improving the generally costly and ineffective care for back pain. The MATCH trial is the first rigorous evaluation of the “STarTBack” approach in primary care outside of the U.K.


For the past 30 years, Dr. Daniel Cherkin’s research has focused on identifying more effective strategies for responding to the needs of the many persons with chronic back pain whose pain has not responded to conventional medical treatments. This research highlighted the importance of viewing back pain within a broad bio-psycho-social context in contrast to the largely biomedical view of back pain which has been prevalent for many decades. Because of the complexity of non-specific back pain, no specific treatments have been found highly effective, and it has become increasingly clear that a broader patient-centered “systems” approach will be required to better meet patients’ needs. 

Coffee and tea will be served.

July 26, 2016

Patient-centered approach to surveillance breast imaging: Lessons learned from SIMBA

Presenter: Karen Wernli, PhD, is an epidemiologist and has been at Group Health Research Institute (GRHI) since 2009.

Group Health Research Institute, Room 1509 A, 4  to 5:15 p.m.

Dr. Wernli will present on the results from her PCORI-funded CER award on breast imaging in women with a personal history of breast cancer. There are now more than three million women living with a personal history of breast cancer. Women are recommended to receive annual mammography to detect second breast cancer events. The research question begins to address whether the addition of breast MRI adds value to surveillance imaging. 

July 12, 2016

Speak Up!  Addressing the Paradox Plaguing Patient-Centered Care

PresenterThomas H. Gallagher, M.D., is a general internist who is Professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Washington, where he is Associate Chair for Patient Care Quality, Safety, and Value. He is also a Professor in the Department of Bioethics and Humanities.

Group Health Research Institute, Room 1509A, 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Beneath the patient-centered rhetoric that dominates health care lurks a major paradox. The language of patient-centered care is omnipresent, but the reality is falling short. Patients are bombarded with surveys, calls after discharge, opportunities to share “compliments and concern,” and requests to “speak up.” In reality, patients’ perceptions of care are often ignored and rarely translate into improvements. This presentation will focus on the We Want to Know project, an AHRQ-funded demonstration project at the MedStar Health System that encourages patient-initiated reporting of problems in care and links these reports to real-time responses. Results to date will be presented from interviews with 979 patients, 39 percent of whom reported experiencing at least one care breakdown during their hospitalization. We will also discuss the challenges of engaging a large, diverse health care system in responding to patients’ perceptions of care breakdowns.

Coffee and tea will be provided.

June 26–28, 2016

AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting

The premier forum for health services research

Boston, Mass.

Join Group Health Research Institute's Dr. Michael Parchman, Dr. Diana Buist, and Dr. Rob Penfold at #ARM16 in Boston. 

Dr. Parchman will present "Taking Practice-Engagement to Scale: Cross-Cooperative Insights from the EvidenceNOW Evaluation (ESCALATES)" on Monday, June 27 in the Hynes Convention Center, Exhibit Hall C/D. More info

Drs. Parchman, Buist and Penfold will present "Supporting Provider Engagement to Reduce Low Value Care" on Monday, June 27 in the Hynes Convention Center, Exhibit Hall C/D. More info

Dr. Penfold will chair "Statistical Methods for Space-Time Surveillance" on Monday, June 27 in the Hynes Convention Center, room 306. More info

Dr. Parchman will participate in a panel discussion: "Career Development Pathways in Implementation Science," Tuesday, June 28, 2016, 9:45 a.m.–11:15 a.m, Hynes Convention Center, Room 202. More info.

#ARM16 event registration information

Monday, June 27, 2016

17th annual Birnbaum Endowed Lecture: "A shared vision: New perspectives on strengthening social determinants of health"

Presenter: Dr. Leana Wen, commissioner of the health for the City of Baltimore 

Seattle Sheraton Hotel—Event begins at 7:15 a.m.

About Dr. Wen

Dr. Leana Wen is a nationally acclaimed TED speaker and health commissioner for the City of Baltimore. She is professor of emergency medicine and health policy at George Washington University and author of the best-selling book, When Doctors Don’t Listen: How to Avoid Misdiagnoses and Unnecessary Tests. Known for creative approaches to tough public-health problems like opioid addiction and disparities in care, Dr. Wen inspires individuals and communities to take a fresh new look at improving health and health care for all.


Thursday, June 2, 2016

Webinar: Dissolving the Walls—Clinic Community Connections

Presenter: The Community Health Center, Inc. (CHC), in association with the MacColl Center for Health Care Innovation

Noon Pacific, 3 p.m. Eastern


In this final webinar of the Transforming Teams series, this webinar will describe the ways innovative practices keep connected to their communities by offering non-medical services that benefit patients, linking to quality community resources, and acting as advocates in their communities for resources and programs that may be needed.

Register for Dissolving the Walls: Clinic Community Connections

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Webinar: Achieving Full Integration of Behavioral Health and Primary Care

Presenter: The Community Health Center, Inc. (CHC), in association with the MacColl Center for Health Care Innovation

Noon Pacific, 3 p.m. Eastern


This webinar will highlight ways to fully integrate behavioral health care into primary care. The role of nurses, medical assistants, behaviorists, lay health workers, and primary care providers will all be discussed along with the use of clinical dashboards and warm hand-offs.

Register for Achieving Full Integration of Behavioral Health and Primary Care


Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Studying Pregnancy Outcomes using Electronic Health Data

PresenterSascha Dublin, MD, PhD, Group Health Research Institute Associate Investigator and Group Health Physician, Internal Medicine

Group Health Research Institute, Room 1509A, 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.


Four million women give birth every year in the U.S. Yet there are enormous gaps in knowledge about the safety and efficacy of many common treatments and interventions in pregnancy. More than 90 percent of women take at least one medication in pregnancy. The quality of evidence about medication safety is rated “good or excellent” for only four percent of medications commonly used in the first trimester.

There is enormous potential to make use of routine clinical data to generate new knowledge about the impact of medication use and other interventions in pregnancy. In 2008, the Food and Drug Administration launched a new research program in which 11 health plans identified women delivering a live birth, linked them with infant records, and obtained state birth certificate data for mother-infant pairs. These data currently include 1.2 million deliveries to 900,000 women from 2001–2008 and provide outstanding opportunities for research on pregnancy outcomes.

Dr. Dublin will present several studies carried out at Group Health and partner organizations that draw on health plan electronic data combined with state birth certificate records, including:

  1. a study examining the safety of trimethoprim-sulfonamide antibiotics in the first trimester, compared to nonteratogenic antibiotics, and
  2. a study of elective induction of labor in term pregnancy compared to expectant management (waiting, with the possibility of intervention in later weeks.)

This talk will emphasize methodologic challenges in pregnancy studies as well as innovative approaches that aim to generate valid results from real-world data. 

Coffee and tea will be provided.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Webinar: Complex Care Management in Primary Care

Presenter: The Community Health Center, Inc. (CHC), in association with the MacColl Center for Health Care Innovation

Noon Pacific, 3 p.m. Eastern


This webinar will investigate the ways that team members can contribute to the care of patients with complex medical and/or social needs. The focus will be on developing the expanded care team and ensuring ready communication between the core and expanded care teams. Models for effective care management will be presented.

Register for Complex Care Management in Primary Care

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The cat is out of the bag: preliminary findings from studies of animal-assisted activities in pediatric oncology

PresenterJessica Chubak, PhD, Group Health Research Institute Associate Investigator

Group Health Research Institute, Room 1509A, 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.


Animal-assisted activities—visits from therapy animals and their handlers—are popular and have the potential to reduce distress in children and teens with cancer. However, there has been little research on effectiveness or safety of hospital-based animal-assisted activities in this population. This seminar will describe preliminary findings from a new research program focused on this topic, including results from surveys, interviews, and a pilot study.

Coffee and tea will be provided.