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


All are welcome.

Upcoming seminars and events

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, 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 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


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

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, 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.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Webinar: A Team Approach to Prevention and Chronic Illness Management

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 explore the benefits of teamwork in allowing staff to more effectively deliver preventive services and manage chronic illness. It will build on the content from previous webinars to describe how to optimize the core team to provide population management, self-management support and planned care. Infrastructure considerations to improve team-based care will also be discussed including training, career ladders, and communication management.

Register for A Team Approach to Prevention and Chronic Illness Management

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Propensity Score Methods for Analyzing Observational Data Like Randomized Experiments: Challenges and Solutions for Rare Outcomes and Exposures

Presenter: Michelle Ross, PhD, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania

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


Randomized controlled trials are the “gold standard” for estimating the causal effects of treatments. However, it is often not feasible to conduct such a trial because of ethical concerns or budgetary constraints. We expand upon an approach to the analysis of observational data sets that mimics a sequence of randomized studies by implementing propensity score models within each trial to achieve covariate balance, using weighting and matching. The methods are illustrated using data from a safety study of the relationship between second-generation antipsychotics and type 2 diabetes (outcome) in Medicaid-insured children aged 10–18 years across the United States from 2003 to 2007. Challenges in this data set include a rare outcome, a rare exposure, substantial and important differences between exposure groups, and a very large sample size.

Coffee and tea will be provided.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Entendre: Facilitating providers’ nonverbal communication through social signal processing

Presenters: Andrea Hartzler, PhD, GHRI and Rupa Patel, PhD, GoDaddy

  • Andrea Hartzler is an Assistant Investigator at Group Health Research Institute. Her work focuses on human-centered design of personalized technologies that meet the information and communication needs of patients and healthcare stakeholders. She leads projects that leverage patient-generated health data in health care, social computing in peer health networks, and collaborates to design a range of digital technologies from mobile devices for patients to genome-guided decision support for clinicians. Andrea holds a PhD in Biomedical Informatics from University of Washington Division of Biomedical and Health Informatics.
  • Rupa Patel is a User Experience Researcher at GoDaddy. Prior to this role, she completed a PhD in Biomedical & Health Informatics, where she focused on the design and adoption of patient-clinician communication tools for cancer care. Rupa has held various product management and development positions at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and healthcare-related startups. She has a master's from the University of Michigan School of Information and a bachelor's from Stanford University in programs that focused on human-computer interaction.

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


Understanding and conveying nonverbal signals is essential to forming empathic relationships in patient-centered care. Although nonverbal cues, such as voice tone, body movement, touch, and facial expression, link to important patient outcomes, practicing effective nonverbal communication skills is challenging in the fast-pace of clinical encounters.

In this talk, we present “Entendre”—a novel approach that uses social signal processing technology to capture nonverbal cues during clinical encounters and to display ambient visual feedback on control and affiliation—two primary, yet distinct dimensions of interpersonal nonverbal communication. Providers can use this feedback to gain awareness and enhance their nonverbal communication with patients.

We will describe our collaboration with scientists at Microsoft Research and Seattle Cancer Care Alliance to design and test user acceptance of Entendre, and future opportunities application of this novel approach. The speakers have been invited to present this work at the National Board of Medical Examiners (NMBE) in April 2016.

A two-minute video that overviews Entendre can be viewed here: https://vimeo.com/104233170

Coffee and tea will be provided.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Webinar: Data-driven dashboards to support team-based 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 the ways that practices can utilize technology to improve individual patient care and track and meet the needs of their whole patient population. By using electronic health record data and clinical dashboards, members of the team can organize visits to resolve care gaps, optimize prevention, and improve clinical outcomes.

Register for Data-driven dashboards to support team-based care

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Webinar: The Emerging Role of Nurses in Primary Care

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

11 a.m–noon Pacific, 2–3 p.m. Eastern


In this webinar, we will explore the emerging role of nurses in primary care. We will explore the role of nurses in the team, in complex care management, and in independent nurse visits.

Register for The emerging role of nurses in primary care

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Embedded trials in a learning health care system: lessons learned (and not)

Presenter: Joakim Ramsberg, PhD, Swedish Harkness Fellow in Health Care Policy and Practice at the Department of Population Medicine, Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare Institute and Harvard Medical School

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


In embedded trials, patients in ordinary health care are randomized to different treatments and then routinely collected clinical information in data-sources such as disease registries or electronic health records (EHR) is used to evaluate effectiveness of interventions. These trials hold opportunity to address the need for evidence about e.g., effectiveness in real-life clinical practice, safety, and quality of medical care to guide informed clinical decisions at a fraction of the cost of a regular trial.

Embedded trials are still rare, but interest in embedded trials and comparative effectiveness research is exploding. Some believe that the vast quantities of data already or soon to be available in EHR will enable a "learning health care system." However, there is a paucity of knowledge and experience in both methods and practical means to implement these strategies in health care systems. For that reason, it is vitally important to learn from the experiences in completed and ongoing pilot projects.

Ramsberg aims to identify barriers and facilitators of embedded trials, compare specific approaches used in the U.S. and Sweden, and explore the role of these trials in health care systems. Methods will include reviewing literature and other documents, case studies of a variety of organizations representing national initiatives, research funding agencies and health systems, such as NIH Collaboratory, Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute and Kaiser Permanente. Furthermore, an economic analysis of embedded trials will increase understanding of the value of embedded clinical trials from a health system perspective by analyzing costs and benefits of embedded trials.

Ramsberg's research findings will inform the current literature on embedded trials, and will have policy implications for both Sweden and the U.S.


Joakim Ramsberg, Ph.D., is a 2015-16 Swedish Harkness Fellow in Health Care Policy and Practice at the Department of Population Medicine, Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare Institute and Harvard Medical School. In his day job he is chief scientific officer at Vårdanalys (The Swedish Agency for Health and Care Services Analysis), where he also leads projects that e.g., evaluate national clinical guidelines, examine disease registries, and assess government reforms to increase access and strengthen psychiatric care. He is an affiliated researcher at Karolinska Institutet in Solna.

Ramsberg has served as elected president of the Swedish Health Economics Association and was for six years a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee for the Swedish Council on Technology Assessment in Health Care (SBU). He has been a member of several governmental, international, and research advisory committees e.g. at the European Commission and The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. He received a Ph.D. in economics from the Stockholm School of Economics.

Coffee and tea will be provided.

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.

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, 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, 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 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.


   Find Us

Map and directions to GHRI

2016 Birnbaum Lecture

A shared vision: New perspectives on strengthening social determinants of health

Keynote speaker: Dr. Leana Wen, nationally acclaimed TED speaker and health commissioner for the city of Baltimore. 

Health Care Data Analytics Symposium

2nd Seattle Symposium on Health Care Data Analytics

October 23–25, 2016, Hyatt Olive 8 in downtown Seattle.