Preventive Medicine

“To help patients avoid the suffering of serious illnesses and injury, we’re seeking the most innovative ways to make screening and health promotion a part of everyday medical practice.”

David C. Grossman, MD, MPH
Group Health Research Institute Senior Investigator
Group Health Medical Director for Population & Purchaser Strategy
Group Health Physician, Pediatrics

Research overview

Research is often lauded for finding life-saving treatments for diseases like cancer or diabetes. But consider the impact of preventing such illnesses from developing in the first place. It’s hard to describe the value of stopping suffering and tragedy from ever happening. Yet that’s the goal of research on preventive care.

Most Group Health scientists study prevention—whether their work focuses on promoting health by influencing individual behavior, building sound prevention services into everyday clinical care, designing smart health coverage, or all three. By conducting their research at Group Health—which combines care and coverage—our researchers have access to data from a large, stable population over time, allowing them to discover which approaches to prevention work best.

Examples include research in areas such as:

Immunization

We’re improving the safety and effectiveness of vaccines through clinical trials, and we’re monitoring how well each year’s new flu vaccines are working. In addition, we’re studying ways to better inform parents about the benefits and potential harms of childhood vaccines, in order to improve their uptake.

Drug safety

We’re working on several fronts to help ensure the safety of prescription drugs and other medical treatments. For example, we play a leading role in the Food and Drug Administration’s Mini-Sentinel program to monitor the safety of medical products through routinely collected electronic health care data. We’re exploring ways to improve the safety of prescribing opioid pain medications. And we often study the safety of drugs commonly used to prevent chronic conditions like heart disease, cancer, and depression.

Screening

Prevention also includes screening to detect disease before symptoms appear, to identify and treat disease at an earlier stage. Our research is improving the effectiveness of cancer screening programs so people get the appropriate tests when needed based on their particular risks. Our research is also aimed at improving clinical screening for behavioral risks such as smoking, suicidal thoughts, alcohol use disorders, and poor eating and exercise habits.

Health promotion

Our research in areas such as smoking cessation, healthy diet, and chronic illness care finds new ways to encourage individuals to adopt and maintain healthier lifestyles. At the same time, we’re exploring ways to reach large populations through the use of phone-based programs, websites, and mobile technologies.

Value-based benefit design

By evaluating Group Health’s innovative approaches to health insurance design, we finding our how health benefits may encourage healthy behaviors, improve health outcomes, and reduce costs.

Much of our prevention-related research is conducted in collaboration with the Group Health Department of Preventive Care (DPC), a subspecialty group within Group Health’s medical staff. DPC is led by Group Health Research Institute (GHRI) Senior Investigators David C. Grossman, MD, MPH, Group Health medical director for population and purchaser strategy, and Paula Lozano, MD, MPH, Group Health’s assistant medical director for preventive care. Both pediatricians, Drs. Grossman and Lozano work with the medical staff and others to find innovative ways to design, promote, deliver, and evaluate preventive care and health promotion services for the organization’s 600,000 members. By doing so, they’re bringing value to Group Health patients while discovering new approaches that can be disseminated to health care systems nationwide.

GHRI researchers also serve the public by producing reviews of scientific evidence that policymakers at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and others use in health care decision-making. GHRI does this work as part of the Kaiser Permanente Research Affiliates Evidence-based Practice Center, one of 11 such centers nationwide that are sponsored by the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Recent publications on Preventive Medicine

Parchman ML, Henrikson NB, Blasi PR, Buist DS, Penfold R, Austin B, Ganos EH. Taking action on overuse: creating the culture for change. Healthc (Amst). 2016 Nov 10. pii: S2213-0764(16)30167-1. doi: 10.1016/j.hjdsi.2016.10.005. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Zahodne LB, Gilsanz P, Glymour MM, Gibbons LE, Brewster P, Hamilton J, Mez J, Marden JR, Nho K, Larson EB, Crane PK, Gross AL. Comparing variability, severity, and persistence of depressive symptoms as predictors of future stroke risk. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2016 Oct 24. pii: S1064-7481(16)30275-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jagp.2016.10.009. [Epub ahead of print].

Wernli KJ, Henrikson NB, Morrison CC, Nguyen M, Pocobelli G, Blasi PR. Screening for skin cancer in adults: updated evidence report and systematic review for the US Preventive Services Task Force. JAMA.2016;316(4):436-447. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.5415. PubMed

Glass JE, Bohnert K, Brown RL. Alcohol screening and intervention among United States adults who attend ambulatory healthcare. J Gen Intern Med. 2016 Jul;31(7):739-45. doi: 10.1007/s11606-016-3614-5. Epub 2016 Feb 9. PubMed

Knudsen AB, Zauber AG, Rutter CM, Naber SK, Doria-Rose VP, Pabiniak C, Johanson C, Fischer SE, Lansdorp-Vogelaar I, Kuntz KM. Estimation of benefits, burden, and harms of colorectal cancer screening strategies: modeling study for the US Preventive Services Task Force. JAMA. 2016 Jun 15. doi: 10.1001/jama.2016.6828. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Researchers in Preventive Medicine

David C. Grossman, MD, MPH

Sr Investigator, GHRI; Group Health Executive Med Dir, Population & Purchaser Strategy, Health Plan
206-287-2948
grossman.d@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Paula Lozano, MD, MPH

Associate Medical Director for Research and Translation
206-884-8241
lozano.p@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Diana S. Buist, PhD, MPH

Director of Research and Strategic Partnership; Senior Investigator
206-287-2931
buist.d@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Katharine A. Bradley, MD, MPH

Senior Investigator
206-287-2151
bradley.k@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Jessica Chubak, PhD, MBHL

Associate Investigator
206-287-2556
chubak.j@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Dori E. Rosenberg, PhD, MPH

Assistant Investigator
206-287-2532
rosenberg.d@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Karen Wernli, PhD

Associate Investigator
206-287-2934
wernli.k@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Erin J. Bowles, MPH

Research Associate
206-287-2708
bowles.e@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Nora Henrikson, PhD, MPH

Research Associate
206-287-4675
henrikson.n@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Aruna Kamineni, MPH

Research Associate
206-287-2922
akaminen@fhcrc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Judith Schaefer, MPH

Research Associate
206-287-2077
schaefer.jk@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Melissa L. Anderson, MS

Senior Biostatistician
206-287-2647
anderson.melissa@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Caitlin Morrison, MPH

Research Associate
206-287-2163
morrison.caitlin@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Paula R. Blasi, MPH

Research Associate
206-287-2094
blasi.p@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Leah Tuzzio, MPH

Research Associate
206-287-2109
tuzzio.l@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Joseph E. Glass, PhD

Assistant Scientific Investigator
206-287-4266
glass.j@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)