Rod Walker, MS

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“I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to provide biostatistical support across a wide range of KPWHRI collaborations that contribute to public health knowledge and improve health care for patients.”

Rod Walker, MS

Principal Collaborative Biostatistician, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute

Rod.L.Walker@kp.org
206-287-2895

Biography

Rod Walker, MS, has developed a diverse research portfolio in his 10+ years working as a biostatistician at KPWHRI. His varied interests have led to collaborations in women's health, cancer, aging and geriatrics, pharmacoepidemiology, opioids research, and mental health. During his tenure he has served as an analyst for the Statistical Coordinating Center for the National Cancer Institute's Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium, evaluated the impact of health system initiatives to reduce risk associated with chronic opioid therapy prescribing, and investigated potential associations between different medications classes and a wide range of outcomes such as pneumonia, fall-related injury, and dementia.

One of Mr. Walker’s longest-running collaborations is with the Adult Changes in Thought (ACT) study, an ongoing longitudinal cohort study seeking to bolster knowledge of risk factors related to dementia, Alzheimer's disease, and healthy aging. As this project and related studies have grown, he has contributed to analyses of associations between medication use and laboratory values and cognitive outcomes within this cohort of older adults, extended this research to associations with neuropathology measures among autopsied individuals, and helped process and analyze activity monitoring data generated from devices worn by ACT participants. Continued collaboration with ACT-related investigators is a highlight of his research at KPWHRI, as the ACT study provides many avenues for increasing public health knowledge of issues relevant for older adults.

A relatively new area of collaboration for Mr. Walker is with researchers from the Mental Health Research Network seeking to use information captured in electronic health records to predict risk of suicide attempt and suicide death. He has appreciated learning from other investigators and biostatisticians on this project, expanding his knowledge in machine learning and risk prediction, as well as in potential issues surrounding health informatics and implementation of tools into clinical workflows. He looks forward to continued opportunities within this research area to address important public health issues in mental and behavioral health.

Research interests and experience

  • Biostatistics

    Survival and longitudinal data analysis; epidemiology; machine learning; two-phase sampling

  • Aging & Geriatrics

    Biostatistics; cognitive health and dementia; neuropathologic correlates of dementia; factors associated with healthy aging

  • Mental Health

    Biostatistics; suicide risk prediction; interventions for risk reduction; machine learning and health informatics

  • Medication Use & Patient Safety

    Biostatistics; pharmacoepidemiology; medication safety in older adults; opioids and chronic pain

  • Health Informatics

  • Women's Health

Recent publications

Gray SL, Anderson ML, Dublin S, Hanlon JT, Hubbard R, Walker R, Yu O, Crane PK, Larson EB. Cumulative use of strong anticholinergics and incident dementia: a prospective cohort study. JAMA Intern Med. 2015;175(3):401-7. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.7663. Epub 2015 Jan 26. PubMed

Dublin S, Johnson KE, Walker RL, Avalos LA, Andrade SE, Beaton SJ, Davis RL, Herrinton LJ, Pawloski PA, Raebel MA, Smith DH, Toh S, Caughey AB. Trends in elective labor induction for six United States health plans, 2001-2007. J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2014 Nov;23(11):904-11. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2014.4779. Epub 2014 Oct 20. PubMed

Crane PK, Walker R, Larson EB. Glucose levels and risk of dementia. N Engl J Med. 2013;369(19):1863-4. doi: 10.1056/NEJMc1311765. PubMed

Crane PK, Walker R, Hubbard RA, Li G, Nathan DM, Zheng H, Haneuse S, Craft S, Montine TJ, Kahn SE, McCormick W, McCurry SM, Bowen JD, Larson EB. Glucose levels and risk of dementia. N Engl J Med. 2013;369(6):540-8. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1215740. PubMed

Dublin S, Baldwin E, Walker RL, Christensen LM, Haug PJ, Jackson ML, Nelson JC, Ferraro J, Carrell D, Chapman WW. Natural language processing to identify pneumonia from radiology reports. Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf. 2013 Aug;22(8):834-41. doi: 10.1002/pds.3418. Epub 2013 Apr 1. PubMed

 

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Research

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New findings

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Simpler models to identify suicide risk perform similarly to more complex ones

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