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


All are welcome.

Upcoming seminars and events

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Webinar: Building Your Primary Care Team to Transform Your Practice

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

2:00 p.m. (GMT-5:00) Eastern Time (U.S. and Canada)


The Community Health Center, Inc. (CHC) is hosting the first in a series of eight webinars on transforming practices through the team-based model of care. This webinar will introduce our faculty from the MacColl Center for Health Care Innovation at the Group Health Research Institute and the Community Health Center, Inc. This webinar will provide an introduction to the entire webinar series, offer an overview of the rationale and evidence supporting team-based care, and outline the roles and functions of the primary care team.

Register for Building Your Primary Care Team to Transform Your Practice

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Precision Medicine Interventions in Breast Cancer Prevention and Control

PresenterSuzanne O’Neill, PhD, Georgetown University

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


Advances in cancer epidemiology have provided the opportunity to offer more precise risk estimates and targeted recommendations for cancer prevention and control. Likewise, health behavior interventions can be tailored to integrate not only objective disease risk, but also the social and behavioral factors that are relevant to an individual.

Dr. O’Neill will present a series of intervention studies targeted at breast cancer prevention and control in clinical and population samples, along with plans for a funded trial to be conducted within Group Health.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Webinar: Enhancing the Role of the Medical Assistant

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

2:00 p.m. (GMT-5:00) Eastern Time (U.S. and Canada)


In this webinar, we will explore the expanded role that medical assistants play in improving patient health outcomes. The role of the medical assistant will be explored in population management, using electronic dashboards, and health coaching. We will discuss how state-by-state variation and regulation may influence medical assistant practice.

Register for Enhancing the Role of the Medical Assistant

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Effects of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction vs Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy and Usual Care on Back Pain and Functional Limitations among Adults with Chronic Low Back Pain: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Presenter: Daniel C. Cherkin, PhD, Group Health Research Institute Senior Investigator

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


Low back pain is a leading cause of disability in the U.S. Despite numerous treatment options and greatly increased medical care resources devoted to this problem, the functional status of persons with back pain in the U.S. has deteriorated. There is need for treatments with demonstrated effectiveness that are low-risk and have potential for widespread availability.

Psychosocial factors play important roles in pain and associated physical and psychosocial disability. In fact, four of the eight non-pharmacologic treatments recommended for persistent back pain include “mind-body” components. One of these, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), has demonstrated effectiveness for various chronic pain conditions and is widely recommended for patients with chronic low back pain (CLBP). However, patient access to CBT is limited.

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), another “mind-body” approach, focuses on increasing awareness and acceptance of moment-to-moment experiences, including physical discomfort and difficult emotions. MBSR is becoming increasingly popular and available in the U.S. Thus, if demonstrated beneficial for CLBP, MBSR could offer another psychosocial treatment option for the large number of Americans with this condition. MBSR and other mindfulness-based interventions have been found helpful for a range of conditions, including chronic pain. However, only one large randomized controlled trial (RCT) has evaluated MBSR for CLBP, and that trial was limited to older adults.

This RCT compared MBSR with CBT and usual care (UC). We hypothesized that adults with CLBP randomized to MBSR would show greater short- and long-term improvement in back pain-related functional limitations, back pain bothersomeness, and other outcomes, as compared with those randomized to UC. We also hypothesized that MBSR would be superior to CBT because it includes yoga, which has been found effective for CLBP.

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.


past events

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Reducing the impact of HIV in U.S. women: Risk, prevention, and treatment considerations

PresenterLeah M. Adams, PhD, Research Fellow, Group Health Research Institute

Group Health Research Institute, Rooms 1509A, 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.


Significant advances in the treatment of HIV/AIDS have resulted in its reclassification from a terminal disease to a chronic illness. Still, the impact of the disease continues to be felt. Nearly 50,000 new HIV diagnoses are made in the United States each year, and this rate has remained relatively stable for a decade. These new diagnoses, coupled with an increased life expectancy for people living with HIV/AIDS, has resulted in an annual increase in the number of people living with the disease. Although women account for a quarter of HIV diagnoses, they are less likely than men to receive antiretroviral treatment and are less likely to have the disease under control (e.g., viral suppression). Curbing the HIV/AIDS epidemic and its consequences among women requires a multi-pronged approach that incorporates:

  1. an understanding of the pattern of behaviors that increase the risk of infection in different populations,
  2. a commitment to comprehensive prevention strategies for women, and
  3. the use of effective tools and interventions aimed at maximizing total health among those already living with the disease.

This talk presents findings targeting each of these three components. Study 1 details patterns of HIV risk behaviors in a sample of male and female jail inmates, a group at elevated risk for HIV. Study 2 focuses on a national sample of HIV care providers’ beliefs about and intentions to prescribe Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), a medication-based strategy for HIV prevention. In Study 3, item-response theory and differential item functioning is used to assess the appropriateness of a depression-screening tool in women living with HIV/AIDS. The collective results of this series of investigations highlight the continued need for nuanced approaches to reducing the consequences of this complex disease for women in the U.S. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Early experiences from the roll out of Group Health Cooperative’s Lung Cancer Screening program

Presenters: Diana Buist, PhD, MPH, Karen Wernli, PhD, and Susan Brandzel, MPH.

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

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) in adults aged 55 to 80 years who smoked at least 30 pack-years and are current smokers or quitters in the last 15 years. Group Health rolled out LDCT screening program to members in January 2015 after extensive guideline development.

Our presentation describes the infrastructure build to support a screening program within Group Health and the opportunities for health services research within the screened population. Our project describes the great collaboration between Group Health delivery systems leaders with GHRI.  

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Aging Well: Observations from the Women’s Health Initiative Study

PresenterNancy Woods, PhD, RN, FAAN, Professor, University of Washington

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


What contributes to healthy aging and aging well? Dr. Woods will draw on her research in woman’s health, including the Women’s Health Initiative and her 20-year Seattle Midlife women’s health study, a longitudinal study of women's experiences during the menopausal transition and early postmenopause. She will discuss current research about factors that contribute to healthy aging in women, and the concept of living and aging well.


Nancy Fugate Woods is a professor of Family and Child Nursing at the University of Washington. She previously served as the dean of the University of Washington's nursing program and as the president of the American Academy of Nursing. Woods is the author of several important books on women's healthcare including Culture, Society, and Menstruation, Women's Healthcare in Advanced Practice Nursing, Human Sexuality in Health and Illness and Nursing Research: Theory and Practice.

Dr. Woods currently leads the special interest group on Biology of Aging and Geriatrics for the National Academy of Medicine of the National Academy of Science, serves as a member of the American Academy of Nursing Expert Panel on Women's Health, and is president-elect of the Washington State Academy of Science.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

You can’t put a baby monitor on a teenager and other self-management lessons about pediatric chronic illness 

PresenterPaula Lozano, MD, MPH

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

A five-year-old, newly diagnosed with insulin-dependent diabetes. An 11-year-old with severe asthma. A 19-year-old with spinal muscular atrophy. How do adult models of self-management help us support children and adolescents and their families, and where do they fall short?

The seminar will propose a new framework for understanding chronic illness care in youth, the Developmental Model for Pediatric Self-Management. Focus group findings will be presented, providing perspectives on growing up with chronic illness, from youth and from parents of children and teens. We will focus on parent-child interactions and the development of autonomy. 

Dr. Lozano is a Senior Investigator at GHRI and a practicing pediatrician at Group Health Physicians. Her research has focused on the care of children with asthma and other chronic conditions, as well as family-based treatment of childhood obesity. Dr. Lozano is also Group Health’s Associate Medical Director for Research and Translation.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Pain Qualities and Their Persistence in the Elder Population

Presenter: Manu Thakral, PhD, ANP, APRN 

Group Health Research Institute, Rooms 1507 & 1508, 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.


Chronic pain is a highly prevalent condition affecting at least half of older adults living in the community. Although pain quality is often collected in the health history for elders with chronic pain, its clinical value and relevance to disability is poorly understood. The purpose of this study was to determine the association of pain quality descriptors and their persistence to other pain characteristics, pain-associated chronic conditions, and three domains of disability: difficulty in mobility, ADLs and IADLs in community living older adults, aged 70 years and older. Pain quality was assessed using a modified version of the McGill Pain Questionnaire (MPQ) consisting of 20 pain quality descriptors. Other dimensions of pain assessed included severity, interference and location. A combination of factor analysis, the original MPQ categories, clinical theory and prior research was used to derive three categories of pain quality descriptors:

  1. cognitive/affective,
  2. sensory, and
  3. neuropathic.

The persistence of pain quality was defined as reporting descriptors within the same category(s) at baseline and 18-month follow up.

More than half of participants (65%) with chronic pain endorsed descriptors in all three categories at baseline (n=560 participants with chronic pain, out of n=722 total participants included at baseline). No clear etiology or diagnosis could be linked to any pain quality perhaps because of this high prevalence of variability in pain quality descriptors endorsed by older adults. Only modest differences were observed between categories in the prevalence of severe pain and interference, widespread pain, and severe disability in all 3 domains at baseline. The characteristics and correlates among those with persistent pain quality were similar across categories. After adjusting for sociodemographics, health characteristics and chronic conditions, older adults with persistent pain quality in any category had a two-fold or higher risk of developing new or worsening disability in all 3 domains compared to those without pain. Those with the most variability in their descriptions (all three categories) had the highest prevalence of disability in all three domains at baseline, and if persistent over 18 months, were at increased risk for developing disability compared to those with less variation in their descriptions of pain. These findings are applicable to current clinical practice for pain assessment and future investigations to determine risk factor profiles for disability in older adults.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

2015 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 1509A, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

The Group Health Research Institute and Group Health Analysts Forum (GHAF) will be hosting the 2015 Group Health Data & Analytics Fair on Thursday, October 29th, at GHRI from 2 to 4 p.m. 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.

Chris Mack and Howard Rosenfeld

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Improving Pragmatic Clinical Trials: Lessons Learned from the NIH Collaboratory Biostatistics Core

Presenter: Andrea Cook, PhD

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


Pragmatic randomized trials are becoming a widespread study design to evaluate new interventions and treatments to address important public health outcomes. Networks have been, or are being, developed to be able to conduct more practical and efficient studies aimed to rapidly disseminate research findings to practice. Further, the goals are to improve both how we deliver care, but also to ensure we deliver only effective treatments and interventions in our health care systems.

The NIH Health Care Systems Collaboratory was formed to conduct such trials, but also to cultivate collaboration across research areas and disciplines to learn best practices to disseminate to future studies. Through a two stage grant process including a pilot phase (UH2) and then the actual trial phase (UH3) we had the opportunity to collaborate to improve all phases of the trials. This presentation will focus on the biostatistics core’s lessons learned from the initial UH2 phase. Since almost all trials were cluster randomized studies we will focus on this study design, but for a wide array of cluster designs including stepped wedge designs. We will outline general themes, challenges and proposed solutions from the pilot phase including topics such as study design, randomization, sample size, and statistical analysis approach. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

T32 Women's Health Seminar: Atrial Fibrillation in the Aging Population

Presenter: Susan Heckbert, MD, PhD, Professor, University of Washington Cardiovascular Health Research Unit

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


Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common chronic arrhythmia seen in clinical practice, and its prevalence is strongly associated with advanced age. In this seminar, we will discuss the public health importance of AF, challenges in conducting AF research,  risk factors including sex differences, and complications of AF. We will also discuss ongoing research efforts to better understand the pathophysiology and morbidity associated with this common arrhythmia.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Caring for people with multiple chronic conditions in the Netherlands and Europe

PresenterMieke Rijken, PhD

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


Ms. Rijken’s presentation will focus on healthcare organization and quality of care for chronically ill or disabled people, their self-management and support needs as well as their healthcare use, quality of life, functioning and social participation.


Mieke Rijken, PhD, trained in health education and health psychology, is a senior investigator at NIVEL (Netherlands institute for health services research), located in Utrecht, The Netherlands. She has supervised NIVEL’s research program on the needs of people with chronic illness or disability for almost 15 years. Her national research projects focus on healthcare organization and quality of care from the perspective of chronically ill or disabled people, their self-management and support needs as well as their health care use, quality of life, functioning and social participation. She will be the supervisor of a new national study on primary care (structural developments, process and outcomes) in The Netherlands, that is planned to start in November 2015.

She is currently also managing the EU Health Programme project "Innovating care for people with multiple chronic conditions in Europe" (ICARE4EU), which aims to contribute to the innovation of integrated or comprehensive care for European citizens with multiple chronic conditions. In addition, she participates in the Joint Action on Chronic Diseases (CHRODIS-JA), financed by the EU Health Programme in collaboration with the MoHs of member states. For this Joint Action, she is specifying target groups of multi-morbidity patients with high needs and studying care pathways for multi-morbidity patients and approaches for medication management. Mieke is also participating in an international working group on high needs / high costs patients, initiated by the Commonwealth Fund, aimed to identify best practices from countries worldwide in organizing care for high needs/high costs patients.

Coffee and tea will be served.