November 9, 2021

New center focuses on equitable, whole-person health care

Kaiser Permanente launches ACT Center, the new Center for Accelerating Care Transformation.

ACT Center co-directors (from left to right): Paula Lozano, MD, MPH; Katie Coleman, MSPH; and Emily Westbrook, MHA.

Contact: Linnae Riesen

SEATTLE — The MacColl Center for Health Care Innovation and the Learning Health System, both part of Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute, have joined together in the service of equity and population health to create the Center for Accelerating Care Transformation.

The ACT Center will support health systems to achieve large-scale improvements in care delivery by:

  • Strengthening and streamlining the path from research to practice, serving as a bridge between researchers and health system leaders to improve patient care
  • Elevating the voice of patients, families, and communities in the design, dissemination, and application of research
  • Building connections that bring researchers and care delivery systems together with the shared goal of providing equitable, whole-person care that improves health, with a special focus on underserved populations, including those with social needs

“Coming together to create this new center presents a unique opportunity to leverage Kaiser Permanente’s historic investments in health care transformation,” said Rita Mangione-Smith, MD, vice president of Research and Health Care Innovation for Kaiser Permanente in Washington. The center brings together evidence-based, patient-centered, data-driven research with care transformation work that has been conducted with community partners nationwide for decades.

“In the face of the pandemic and other social challenges and injustices, we are proud to engage our members and community to provide the best care possible at Kaiser Permanente in Washington,” Dr. Mangione-Smith continued. “As a health care leader, it is our job to ensure equitable, whole-person care, and the opening of the ACT Center represents just that.”

The ACT Center’s Integrated Pain Management program is an example of how the ACT Center partners with patients to improve care. The goal is to improve quality of life, functioning, and overall health and well-being for people with chronic pain by providing safe alternatives to opioids and increasing the use of evidence-based, nonpharmacologic treatments.

Kaiser Permanente member Starette Canada joined the IPM team as a patient partner. “Too often people in pain become the unseen, and their pain is classified as exaggerated, rather than as a person who needs help. The IPM project melds data and first-person research, an approach that avoids stigma,” said Canada. “IPM allowed me to plan and prepare for my pain, rather than ignore or pretend it doesn’t exist. I started tracking my diet and exercise and used a chart to track my outlook for a healthier life. In week one, my chart revealed a 15% to 20% reduction in voicing pain, and by week 7, a 60% reduction in pain in addition to a healthier life.”

The ACT Center’s co-directors are 3 longtime leaders of Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute:

  • Katie Coleman, MSPH, director of KPWHRI’s MacColl Center for Health Care Innovation
  • Paula Lozano, MD, MPH, Kaiser Permanente Washington medical director for Research and Translation
  • Emily Westbrook, MHA, KPWHRI director of Research Operations and Programs

The ACT Center will also serve as the coordinating center of Kaiser Permanente’s Social Needs Network for Evaluation and Translation.

To learn more about the ACT Center, please visit

About Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute

Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (KPWHRI) is the non-proprietary, public-interest research center within Kaiser Permanente Washington, a nonprofit health system based in Seattle. Kaiser Permanente Washington provides coverage and care for nearly 690,000 people in Washington. Our research produces timely, relevant findings that help people everywhere stay healthy and get the care they need. From testing new vaccines to helping people quit smoking to finding ways to delay or prevent Alzheimer’s disease, our discoveries have helped millions of people worldwide lead healthier, happier lives.

About Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente and Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Washington are committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve approximately 12.5 million members in 8 states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists, and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery, and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education, and the support of community health.