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:

Biography

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

Arterburn D, Sofer T, Boudreau DM, Bogart A, Westbrook EO, Theis MK, Simon G, Haneuse S. Long-term weight change after initiating second-generation antidepressants. J Clin Med. 2016 Apr 13;5(4). pii: E48. doi: 10.3390/jcm5040048. PubMed

Rossom RC, Simon GE, Beck A, Ahmedani BK, Steinfeld B, Trangle M, Solberg L. Facilitating action for suicide prevention by learning health care systems. Psychiatr Serv. 2016 Apr 1:appips201600068. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Simon GE, Coleman KC, Rossom R, Beck A, Oliver M, Johnson E, Whiteside U, Operskalski B, Penfold RB, Shortreed SM, Rutter C. Risk of suicide attempt and suicide death following completion of the patient health questionnaire depression module in community practice. J Clin Psychiatry.dx.doi.org/10.4088/JCP.15M09776.

Ludman EJ, Simon GE, Grothaus LC, Richards J, Whiteside U, Stewart C. Organized self-management support services for chronic depressive symptoms: a randomized controlled trial. Psychiatr Serv. 2016 Jan 1;67(1):29-36. doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.201400295. Epub 2015 Aug 17.

 

healthy findings blog

Can precision medicine break the chain of mental health co-misery?

Mental health research excels at linking bad experiences to poor outcomes, writes Dr. Greg Simon. Here’s how to focus on recovery and resilience instead.

Read about it in Healthy Findings.

latest 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

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Group Health research made real

(Vimeo, 8:21)

recent news

Dr. Gregory Simon appointed to Precision Medicine advisory panel

Group Health psychiatrist and researcher will advise on Initiative’s Cohort Program

Read it in News and Events.

GHRI In the Media

Continued questions on benzodiazepine use in older patients

New York Times, Feb. 13, 2015