August 28, 2013

Emmons to lead Kaiser Foundation Research Institute

Well-known cancer and behavior change researcher to oversee Kaiser Permanente research unit.

OAKLAND, Calif. After a nationwide search, Kaiser Permanente announced today that Karen M. Emmons, PhD, associate dean for research at the Harvard School of Public Health, has been selected as vice president for research and director of the Kaiser Foundation Research Institute, effective Sept. 30, 2013.

“Health research holds the key to transforming care delivery,” said Raymond J. Baxter, PhD, senior vice president, Kaiser Permanente Community Benefit, Research and Health Policy. “We are thrilled that Dr. Emmons is joining Kaiser Permanente. Her expertise as a scientist and research administrator, and her leadership in cancer prevention and behavior change will contribute directly to the mission of Kaiser Permanente in these quickly changing times.”

Kaiser Permanente is one of the largest health research organizations in the country. With 140 researchers based in eight regional research centers, the organization is able to conduct transformational health research in part because it has the largest private patient-centered electronic health system in the world. The organization’s electronic health record system, Kaiser Permanente HealthConnect®, securely connects 9.1 million patients to 17,000 physicians in 611 medical offices and 37 hospitals. It also connects Kaiser Permanente’s research scientists to one of the most extensive collections of longitudinal medical data available, facilitating studies and important medical discoveries that shape the future of health and care delivery for patients and the medical community.

“I am very excited to join Kaiser Permanente as vice president for research and director of Kaiser Foundation Research Institute,” said Emmons. “I am confident that the organization will continue to provide insightful research to help transform care delivery, not just within Kaiser Permanente, but throughout health care in the U.S.”

Emmons is a well-known and widely published expert in health research. While serving as the associate dean for research at the Harvard School of Public Health, she led the creation of the Office of Research Strategy and Development. This department provides critical services, supports and strategic direction to increase faculty competitiveness for outside funding, build and diversify the school’s research portfolio and advance the school’s capability to adhere to the highest research standards. She is also on the faculty of the Center for Community-Based Research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Her expertise is in behavioral change and policy interventions for behavioral cancer risk factors, particularly for low income communities. She also has expertise in cancer disparities, and in efforts to increase dissemination/knowledge translation in low-resource settings.

She is a fellow in the Society of Behavioral Medicine and served as its president from 2010 to 2011. She received the society’s Distinguished Research Mentor Award in 2004 and the Morse Distinguished Researcher Award from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in 2005. Emmons completed the Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine Program for Women and has provided extensive mentoring to junior faculty, receiving both a mentoring citation from HSPH and the Harold Amos Faculty Diversity Award from the Harvard Medical School in 2008.

Emmons’s main areas of research include health promotion and cancer prevention, tobacco control and smoking cessation, and health communication. She currently leads three major studies funded by the National Cancer Institute, and is a member of the Center for Scientific Review's standing study section on dissemination and implementation research in health.

Emmons received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Illinois, and both her master’s degree and PhD in clinical psychology from SUNY, Stony Brook.

About the Kaiser Foundation Research Institute

Founded in 1958, Kaiser Foundation Research Institute develops and assures compliance with research-related government regulations and Kaiser Permanente policies and procedures, and promotes the responsible conduct of research within Kaiser Permanente, supports Kaiser Permanente researchers and protects the interests of Kaiser Permanente members. Kaiser Foundation Research Institute works with the National Research Council to develop and implement the strategy of Kaiser Permanente Research, which includes contributing to answering critical health questions, optimizing research capability and positioning research for success.

About Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente is 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, our mission is to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve more than 9.1 million members in nine states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal 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.