January 21, 2016

‘You’re never more creative’: New directors Paula Lozano and Diana Buist


Dr. Eric B. Larson welcomes new GHRI leaders in research collaborations and translation

After closing out our strongest year ever in 2015, the new year started on a high note here at Group Health Research Institute (GHRI). In addition to the big news that Kaiser Permanente and our parent organization Group Health signed an acquisition agreement, we have a host of exciting new studies underway. Another reason to celebrate is that at the end of last year, we announced two new directors.

This transition made me think about something Dr. Bill Foege, known for his work eradicating smallpox and currently a senior fellow at the Carter Center and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, told me in 2002 when I became the GHRI executive director: “You’re never more creative than when you take a new job.” He’s right. I’ve already notice the burst of new perspectives, ideas, and energy on our leadership team.

Dr. Lozano facilitates collaborations with Group Health

In November, Paula Lozano, MD, MPH, became Group Health’s associate medical director for research and translation. Paula is the perfect choice for this role. Her experience includes serving as the assistant medical director of the Group Health Department of Preventive Care. She is a Group Health pediatrician and runs an active research program as a GHRI senior investigator. In her clinical practice and research activities, she has consistently pursued a vision of improving everyday care for families.

With this background, Paula is ready to act as the research liaison between GHRI and our Group Health colleagues. She’ll make sure that GHRI research goals align with the broader organizational strategies. She’ll work with investigators, physicians and delivery system staff to integrate our pragmatic studies into clinical workflow. She’ll watch for mature GHRI study findings that could improve clinical quality and performance and guide their translation into practice at Group Health and beyond. The kids and families fortunate enough to have Paula as their doctor will be glad to know she’ll be continuing her pediatric practice as well.

I talked with Paula recently about her experience taking over this position from Dr. Rob Reid, who is now at Trillium Health Partners in Toronto. She says, "I've already had very productive conversations with Group Health executives, physicians, and staff. They've given me lots of ideas about how we can strengthen our research collaborations and make our learning health care system even stronger. I'll be keeping up the dialog between the delivery system and GHRI to make sure our research focuses on questions that are most important to our doctors and patients."

Dr. Buist inaugurates a new directorship

Diana S. M. Buist, PhD, MPH, starts this month as the new GHRI director of research and strategic partnerships. She extends the work of GHRI Senior Investigator Katherine Newton, PhD, previously our director of research and external affairs. Diana will continue to build strategic external partnerships that are aligned with GHRI’s research priorities and capitalize on our strengths. She’ll maintain our current productive study partnerships and cultivate new relationships with other clinical, research, and academic institutions. She will also supervise and mentor our faculty.

Diana is a natural fit for this position because of her extensive local, national, and international experience in collaborations. She has long been a leader in the National Cancer Institute’s Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium and the Health Care Systems Research Network. She recently spent a year as a senior scholar in residence with AcademyHealth, a national organization that supports evidence-based health services and policy. Diana is known at GHRI for competently running multiple projects while teaching and training researchers around globe. She’s already confidently stepped into her new leadership role.

Although Diana has officially been a GHRI director for only a few weeks, she is already fully committed to her new job. She tells me, “Deepening existing and developing new relationships with external researchers will enable us to expand our capabilities. It’s exciting to think about all the new opportunities and partnerships we may have with our acquisition. We have a great future ahead as an institute and I’m excited to be part of that.”  

Please join me in welcoming GHRI’s new directors. They’re already helped GHRI get off to a great start in 2016.


Eric B. Larson, MD, MPH
Executive Director, Group Health Research Institute
Vice President for Research, Group Health