September 19, 2017

Colorado’s Institute for Health Research celebrates 25 years

Today, the the institute has more than 100 investigators and professional research staff delivering groundbreaking research that informs better medical care.

DENVER More than one million Coloradans struggle with mental health challenges each year. Anna Hanel was one of those people.

“My depression was under control until I got pregnant. I didn't quite know how to deal with it — I was struggling,” said Hanel, a Kaiser Permanente member. “Luckily, I eventually received the help I needed. I’m not the only mom who’ll go through this, so when I saw Kaiser Permanente was researching how to help women who are experiencing depression during pregnancy or postpartum, I knew I had to help. This research, as informed by my experiences, means other women hopefully won't have to go through what I did.”

Hanel is sharing her mental-health journey with the Kaiser Permanente Colorado Institute for Health Research as it develops a new study that pairs women who experienced postpartum depression with current mothers experiencing postpartum depression. This study is just one example of how the IHR, now celebrating 25 years of operation, is focused on some of today’s most critical health concerns.

“We’re excited about this significant 25-year milestone. Whether it’s mental health for women postpartum, childhood vaccination rates, or increasing the walkability of our local neighborhoods, our studies help improve health care for our patients and our communities,” said Roland Lyon, Kaiser Permanente Colorado president. “We’re immensely proud of all of our investigators and their teams. We look forward to continuing to shape the future of health care through our research here in Colorado.”

The IHR opened its doors in 1992 with only a handful of investigators. Today, the the institute, led by Claudia Steiner, MD, has more than 100 investigators and professional research staff delivering groundbreaking research that informs better medical care for Kaiser Permanente members and the Colorado community.

“We know research is a key to preventing illness, curing disease and finding better treatments. Our investigators live this notion every day with an inspiring level of passion,” said Dr. Steiner. “Thanks to their dedication for improving patient care through research, our work is helping our members and many Coloradans live healthier, happier and longer lives.”

Under Dr. Steiner’s direction, the IHR will continue to focus on multiple health research topics, including:

  • Prevention of adverse events from opioid misuse: Physician and patient attitudes toward the use of the drug overdose reversal agent, naloxone
  • Mental health: Mindfulness-based cognitive therapies for new moms suffering from postpartum depression
  • Vaccine hesitancy: How social media can help influence vaccine hesitant parents
  • Cancer screening, treatment, outcomes and costs: Individualized patient treatments and outcomes
  • Multiple chronic medical conditions: Diabetes and hypertension
  • Safety of and adherence to medications: Collaboration with the Food and Drug Administration

The IHR is one of the leading research institutions in the state, with contributions to improving prevention and treatment of chronic conditions such as diabetes, mental health conditions, medication adherence, pediatric vaccination rates and opioid use.

For more information on the Kaiser Permanente Colorado Institute for Health Research, please visit:

About Kaiser Permanente Colorado

Kaiser Permanente Colorado is the state’s largest nonprofit health plan, working to improve the lives and health of all Coloradans for 48 years. We are comprised of the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Colorado and the Colorado Permanente Medical Group—one of the state’s largest medical groups with more than 1,200 physicians. We provide comprehensive care for our 680,000 Kaiser Permanente Colorado members through 31 medical offices across the state—from Pueblo to Greeley and now in the mountains in Summit and Eagle counties. We are also committed to our social mission and in 2016, proudly directed more than $118 million to community benefit programs to improve the health of all Coloradans. For more Kaiser Permanente news, visit or follow us @kpcolorado or like us