Developing and disseminating health knowledge

Kaiser Permanente Colorado seeks to advance health and quality of care through research, education, and training.

Research is an essential part of what it means to be an evidence-based organization and we are part of one of the largest health research organizations of its kind in the country. Our long history of conducting health services and medical research have addressed issues regarding health care policy, quality of care, and quality of life

Through studies conducted at seven regional and one national research centers, researchers address critical issues like cancer, cardiovascular conditions, diabetes, and improvements in health care. Research can all be found on the Publications Library website which provides a full text searchable database of the thousands of publications by this group of researchers, clinicians, and staff, containing over 10,000 records.

In 1992, we established the Institute for Health Research in Colorado to develop and disseminate research knowledge to the public, particularly when the results of the project have applicability to community health and clinical practice.

The vision of IHR is to improve the health of members, community, and nation through health care and policy research. The mission of IHR is to conduct research that can be translated into clinical practice, health promotion, and policies to influence the health of individuals and populations. IHR is organized as an integrated, multidisciplinary research department with the necessary scientific and administrative resources to carry out the mission in a highly effective and compliant manner.

The following are some recent examples:

  • Controlling Hypertension in Native Americans
  • Cardiovascular disease remains the primary cause of mortality in American Indians and Alaskan Natives. Treatment of hypertension (HTN) is a pillar of cardiovascular disease risk. This study, is conducted in Albuquerque, New Mexico in the First Nations Community HealthSource which provides care to urban Indian families and other uninsured residents in the area.

    • Primary Care Physician Insights into a Typology of the Complex Patient in Primary Care
    • This study explored the views of primary care physicians on what makes some patients more complex than others. Physicians outlined four primary categories of issues that contribute to a patient’s complexity: medical complexity, mental health disorders, socioeconomic factors, and individual behaviors and traits. Results of this study highlight the importance of incorporating multidimensional concepts into health care that go beyond just comorbidity.

      • Overdose Education and Naloxone for Patients Prescribed Opioids in Primary Care
      • This study examined the knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs of primary care clinicians around prescribing the potentially lifesaving drug Naloxone to patients taking prescription opioids for pain. The authors found that there remain significant evidence and attitudinal gaps among physicians that must be addressed in order to enhance the uptake of this medication. The findings address the important issue of overdose death and could benefit patients using opioid medications.

        • Walkability
        • This study examined the use of transportation-related physical activity as it relates to socioeconomic conditions. To date, few studies have examined this aspect of the walkability of a neighborhood. After controlling for socioeconomic conditions, the study found that individuals in more walkable neighborhoods were three times more likely to walk to work than individuals in less walkable neighborhoods.

          Training and Medical Education

          We have a long standing commitment to medical education. We strategically create a diverse workforce by:

          • recruiting and developing residents from under-represented backgrounds
          • becoming the residency program of choice for newly-trained minority physicians
          • supporting pipeline programs to medical schools
          • Residents and students came from clinical affiliates, including the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and Rocky Vista University. The resident and student rotations are provided through outpatient Safety Net clinic and inpatient hospital rotations in partnership with Saint Joseph Hospital (hospital departments include the Intensive Care Unit, Obstetrics/Gynecology, Internal Medicine, General Surgery; outpatient clinics include Bruner Family Medicine Center, Seton Women’s Clinic, and Caritas Community Clinic) and forty-five physicians provided outpatient teaching at our medical offices.

            Our nursing training programs offer a wide variety of educational and training opportunities for all levels of nursing experience. These programs offer participants an opportunity to gain specialized knowledge in nursing and clinical assisting. Specifically, our Nursing departments support local nursing Licensed Practical Nurse, Registered Nurse, Nurse Practitioner, Masters in Nursing and Doctor of Nurse Practice programs by providing clinical rotations for students.

            Other non-physician training programs include a variety of medical disciplines. Each discipline is exposed to a custom training program based on the skills needed post-graduation. The following are the programs in two categories: allied health professionals and pharmacy professionals.

            Allied Health Professionals

            • Physician Assistant
            • Laboratory Professionals
            • Imaging (Radiology) Professions include Radiologic Technologist, Radiologic Technologist-Mammographer, and Radiologic Technologist-CT/MRI
            • Masters in Social Work (MSW
            • Behavioral Health
            • Genetics Counseling
            • Physical Therapy Programs
            • Audiology and Speech Therapy
            • Pharmacy Programs

              • Pharmacy Student Advanced Experiential Program (PharmD)
              • Pharmacy Student Introductory Experiential Program (PharmD)
              • Pharmacy Resident Program
              • Post Graduate Year Two Residency Training Program
              • Plus, we provide the following community-based programs and services to low-income residents and students through learning centers and youth employment programs:

                Undergraduate Pre-Health Program (UPP)

                Our Office of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion partners with the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Office of Inclusion & Outreach, to provide summer fellowships for undergraduate students interested in pursuing professional level careers within health care. UPP objectives are to:

                • Facilitate progression into professional and graduate programs within health care
                • Provide multidisciplinary experiences that lead to the participant’s assessment of various health care professions
                • Identify any additional training or education needed for chosen career path
                • Improve fundamental academic skills in reading and critically analyzing scientific professional articles and books from the fields of health care equity, health education, and policy
                • Write grammatically and stylistically correct synopsis and reflective journals that review relevant literature and/or integrate health related perspectives and experiences
                • Enhance leadership skills through teamwork, facilitation, and collaborative projects
                • Develop long-range perspective about career paths
                • Arrupé Jesuit High School Corporate Work Study Program (CWSP)

                  Arrupé Jesuit High School (Arrupé) is a Catholic college preparatory, grade 9 through 12 high school serving economically disadvantaged students from Denver’s inner-city neighborhoods. Arrupé offers hope for a brighter future to some of Denver’s disadvantaged youth, who often are the first in their families to attend college.

                  Rocky Mountain INROADS

                  The mission of INROADS is to develop and place talented underserved youth in business and industry roles to prepare them for corporate and community leadership. We accept numerous interns each summer, to teach the skills, support, and networking necessary to build bright and promising careersA 3.0 or better grade point average at an accredited college or university.

                  Diversity Scholarship Program (Diversity Scholarship Program)

                  The Diversity Scholarship Program was created as a community outreach effort to financially support ethnically diverse students pursuing an education for any health career. The objectives are to address the shortage of diverse health care and public health professionals and ensure the future of medical care is culturally responsive.

                  Manual High School BioMedical CTE Pathways

                  In 2014 Denver Public Schools (DPS) launched a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) Career Pathways initiative funded by a $7 million U.S. Department of Labor Youth Career Connect grant and more than $2.4 million in corporate matching funds. This initiative establishes five STEM career pathways that lead to a variety of postsecondary options. The Biomedical Career and Technical Education Pathways (CTE) is a part of the STEM Career Pathways initiative. The Biomedical CTE Pathway curriculum offers students hands on education and technical assistance preparing students to complete a Bachelor’s or Associate's Degree accompanied with a certification as a nurse’s aide, emergency medicine technician, or physical therapist aide. This also prepares students to directly enter the workforce after high school while achieving a higher education degree.