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

Power MC, Parthasarathy V, Gianattasio KZ, Walker RL, Crane PK, Larson EB, Gibbons LE, Kumar RG, Dams O'Connor K. Investigation of the association of military employment and Parkinson's disease with a validated Parkinson's disease case-finding strategy.  Brain Inj. 2023 Apr 16;37(5):383-387. doi: 10.1080/02699052.2022.2158234. Epub 2022 Dec 16. PubMed

Lee CS, Krakauer C, Su YR, Walker R, Blazes M, McCurry SM, Bowen JD, McCormick WC, Lee AY, Boyko E, O'Hare A, Larson EB, Crane PK. Diabetic retinopathy and dementia association, beyond diabetes severity. Am J Ophthalmol. 2022 Dec 10:S0002-9394(22)00486-X. doi: 10.1016/j.ajo.2022.12.003. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Cruz M, Shortreed SM, Richards JE, Coley RY, Yarborough BJ, Walker RL, Johnson E, Ahmedani BK, Rossom R, Coleman KJ, Boggs JM, Beck AL, Simon GE. Machine learning prediction of suicide risk does not identify patients without traditional risk factors. J Clin Psychiatry. 2022 Aug 31;83(5):21m14178. doi: 10.4088/JCP.21m14178. PubMed

Shortreed SM, Gray R, Akosile MA, Walker RL, Fuller S, Temposky L, Fortmann SP, Albertson-Junkans L, Floyd JS, Bayliss EA, Harrington LB, Lee MH, Dublin S. Increased COVID-19 infection risk drives racial and ethnic disparities in severe COVID-19 outcomes. J Racial Ethn Health Disparities. 2022 Jan 24. doi: 10.1007/s40615-021-01205-2. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Hart LA, Walker R, Phelan EA, Marcum ZA, Schwartz NRM, Crane PK, Larson EB, Gray SL. Change in central nervous system-active medication use following fall-related injury in older adults. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2021 Oct 19. doi: 10.1111/jgs.17508. Online ahead of print. PubMed

 

News

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COVID risks not meaningfully greater with estrogen-containing medications

Oral contraceptives, hormone therapy not linked to more severe COVID outcomes.

Research

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Traumatic brain injury raises risk of brain atrophy

Study suggests pathology of brain cell loss after traumatic head injury is distinct from Alzheimer’s disease.

New findings

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

Models that are easier to explain, use could have better uptake in health care settings.