Gregory E. Simon, MD, MPH

“We bring a practical approach to mental health research, working to break down barriers between research and real-world health care.” 

Gregory E. Simon, MD, MPH

Group Health Research Institute Senior Investigator
Group Health Psychiatrist 

Areas of focus:


Group Health psychiatrist Greg Simon has been a driving force in mental health research at Group Health Research Institute (GHRI) since the early 1990s. With a knack for finding effective real-world strategies, he consistently pursues a rigorous and diverse research agenda that helps improve mental health treatment for people everywhere.

Dr. Simon leads the Mental Health Research Network (MHRN), a consortium of research centers affiliated with 11 large health systems across the United States. This network, funded through a cooperative agreement with the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), aims to improve the efficiency, relevance, and impact of mental health clinical and health services research. Now in its second five-year funding cycle, the MHRN is exploring a broad range of issues—including using mobile devices for mental health clinical assessments, improving heart health in people with serious mental illness, using electronic medical records to improve follow-up care for depression, and understanding the causes of racial and ethnic disparities in mental health care.

Well-known for extensive research on practical approaches to improving mental health care—including providing care management support by phone and online—Dr. Simon’s work recently expanded to include a focus on preventing suicide. Each year, more than nine million U.S. adults think seriously about killing themselves and more than a million try to take their lives.

In 2013, Dr. Simon and colleagues showed that routinely administered depression outcome questionnaires can identify people at increased risk for suicide attempt. With funding from the NIH Health Care Systems Research Collaboratory, Dr. Simon’s team at GHRI (along with colleagues at Kaiser Colorado’s Institute for Health Research and the HealthPartners Institute for Education and Research) are conducting a large randomized trial to determine whether population-based outreach programs can reduce risk of suicide attempt in people identified by those questionnaires. This research will test two suicide-prevention interventions: an outreach and care management program (delivered online and by phone) and an online psycho-educational program focused on development of emotion regulation skills.

Dr. Simon is an editor for the Cochrane Collaboration’s depression and anxiety review group and sits on the editorial boards for General Hospital Psychiatry and Psychiatric Services. He also chairs the scientific advisory board for the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance. Dr. Simon has practiced adult psychiatry in Group Health’s Behavioral Health Service since 1990 and holds an appointment as a research professor in psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Washington.

Research interests and experience

  • Mental health

    Depression; bipolar disorder; suicide prevention; self-management; treatment adherence

  • Obesity

    Obesity and depression

Recent publications

Simon GE. Study suggests incidence of first-onset psychosis may exceed prior estimates. Psychiatric News, 2017.

Simon GE, Coleman KJ, Yarborough BJ, Operskalski B, Stewart C, Hunkeler EM, Lynch F, Carrell D, Beck A. First presentation with psychotic symptoms in a population-based sample. Psychiatr Serv. 2017 Jan 3:appips201600257. doi: 10.1176/ [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Dimidjian S, Goodman SH, Sherwood NE, Simon GE, Ludman E, Gallop R, Welch SS, Boggs JM, Metcalf CA, Hubley S, Powers JD, Beck A. A pragmatic randomized clinical trial of behavioral activation for depressed pregnant women. J Consult Clin Psychol. 2017;85(1):26-36. doi: 10.1037/ccp0000151. PubMed

Stewart C, Crawford PM, Simon GE. Changes in coding of suicide attempts or self-harm with transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10. Psychiatr Serv. 2016 Dec 1:appips201600450. doi:10.1176/ [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Lin Y, Huang S, Simon GE, Liu S. Analysis of depression trajectory patterns using collaborative learning. Math Biosci. 2016 Oct 24;282:191-203. doi: 10.1016/j.mbs.2016.10.008. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Simon GE. Can we at least learn to fail faster? World Psychiatry. 2016;15(3):243-244. doi: 10.1002/wps.20366. PubMed


Year in review

Group Health’s top 10 research findings of 2016

In a year of surprises, we could still count on Group Health producing a variety of practical results, to improve people’s health.

Read it in News and Events.

Latest News

How Group Health’s collaborative approach transformed depression care

In a group interview, GHRI mental health scientists describe how their work with UW psychiatry researchers changed treatment worldwide.

Read it in News and Events.

GHRI In the Media

Most adults with depression aren't treated, study finds

CNN, Aug. 29, 2016

healthy findings blog

Is the secret to reducing suicide coded in The Runaway Bunny?

Dr. Greg Simon sees similarities between a beloved children’s book and a study on persistent outreach to people at risk for suicide.

Read it in Healthy Findings.

Recent news

One antidepressant shown to control weight during 2-year study

Research at Group Health points to bupropion (Wellbutrin) as first choice for overweight and obese patients with depression.

Read it in News and Events.

featured video


Group Health research made real

(Vimeo, 8:21)