February 19, 2020

CATALyST adds scholar positions for learning health systems research

CATALyST scholars Linnaea Schuttner, Maggie Ramirez, and Yates Coley

Admissions open for two new trainees as current scholars advance their projects

In the Fall of 2018, a new and innovative scientific training program called CATALyST was funded and launched by Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute. CATALyST is one of 11 Centers of Excellence formed to train early-career scientists in the emerging field of learning health system (LHS) research. This scientific discipline involves substantive interface and testing within a health care delivery system, integrating patient, provider, and leadership perspectives into its design, execution, and outcomes.

With CATALyST’s  4 inaugural scholars now deeply immersed in their LHS research training and execution, the program is also now recruiting 2 new scholars for 3-year slots starting in late September 2020. 

“Adding 2 new scholars to the program this year will deepen educational and collaboration opportunities across the four participating program institutions,” says program co-director and admissions committee chair, Paula Lozano, MD, MPH, who also serves as associate medical director of research and translation at Kaiser Permanente Washington.

Here’s a quick view into what the current CATALyST scholars are up to:

Yates Coley, PhD, KPWHRI, on predictive statistical models that improve fairness: “There’s a lot of excitement about using prediction models to guide clinical decision-making, but also a lot of concerns about whether those prediction models will be fair, particularly in providing treatment and resources to historically underserved populations. I’m working on statistical methods to improve the fairness of clinical prediction models. My specific focus is on race- and ethnicity-based differences in the performance of suicide-risk models. I’m also working with research, IT, and delivery-system partners to program prediction models into the electronic health record so that they can be used in real time to improve care.”

Gwen Lapham, PhD, KPWHRI, on behavioral health integration for adolescents: “I am working with the Kaiser Permanente Washington delivery system to determine how to best integrate behavioral health services for adolescent youth within primary care clinics. I am engaging clinicians, administrators, research colleagues, adolescents, and parents of adolescents to identify needs and strategies for optimizing this critical and currently under-developed area of care.”

Maggie Ramirez, PhD, MS, University of Washington (UW), on building an online tool for Latinx caregivers: I am in the process of conducting formative research for building a culturally-adapted, online tool for Latinx caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia, to help better support them and the patients they support to better understand and navigate the behavioral effects of this illness.”

Linnaea Schuttner, MD, MS, Veterans Administration (VA) of Puget Sound, on primary care for chronic conditions: “My current research is related to the quality and appropriateness of primary care for patients with multiple chronic conditions. At present, this includes examining characteristics of the health system associated with low-value services, as well as patient-centeredness of primary care delivery models.”

“We are truly excited to see how these 4 scholars have taken off over the past 18 months,” says Diana Buist, PhD, MPH, CATALyST program co-director and KPWHRI’s director of research and strategic partnerships. “The research they are undertaking is highly relevant across health systems. They are on target to do exactly what the program intends: conduct high quality, meaningful learning health system research.”

The CATALyST LHS K12 Program includes four Washington state-based institutions: KPWHRI, UW, VA Puget Sound and Washington State University’s Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine. It is funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and the Patient Centers Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI).

By Susan Brandzel, project manager and CATALyST program administrator, KPWHRI