AboutCapabilitiesQualitative Core

Qualitative Core (Q-CORE)

Using traditional and innovative qualitative methods in applied health settings, KPCHR’s multi-disciplinary Qualitative Core (Q-CORE) goes beyond numbers alone to increase knowledge, generate research insights, and improve health services and outcomes.

Health care is delivered in a living, breathing real-world context, full of nuance and complexity. By using a mix of qualitative approaches, from interviews and focus groups to ethnography & participatory engagement, our research helps us understand these nuances and how they interact to influence outcomes.

Our qualitative researchers conduct:

  • Research with Spanish and English speaking patients, frontline staff, health care providers, department chiefs, and health system managers.
  • Formative research before a program or intervention is finalized and implemented.
  • Dissemination and implementation research about the dissemination of evidence-based programs in community, public health, and clinical practice settings, including research on the process of integrating interventions within a setting.
  • Evaluation research to evaluate impacts of treatment or service interventions.

Featured Studies

The POST Study
Prescription Opioid Study on Tapering

The U.S. experienced rising opioid medication prescribing and associated opioid-related harms from roughly 2000 to the mid-2010s. In response, a national opioid prescribing guideline, health care policy changes, and state-led efforts were developed to regulate and reduce opioid prescribing. As a result, opioid prescribing has declined since 2010. It was hoped that these policies would lead to fewer harms, such as opioid-related overdose deaths. However, there are new concerns that opioid deprescribing itself has led to patient harms, including risks related to suicide.

Learn More about The POST Study

Bobbi Jo Yarborough, PsyD
Principal Investigator

Members of the Qualitative Core


Carmit McMullen, PhD, Senior Investigator

A medical anthropologist, Dr. McMullen brings her expertise in qualitative and ethnographic research methods to studies in diverse areas including health care delivery, cancer survivorship, and aging. In addition to focus groups, interviews, and fieldwork (participant-observation), she also facilitates patient engagement in research by training patient advocates and integrating them into the research process. She has used ethnography to study how health care providers communicate, ensure patient safety, and implement electronic medical records systems. She has developed rapid assessment processes for conducting team-based ethnographic evaluations of clinical trials and implementations of other interventions, including health-information technology and organizational change in health care settings. Dr. McMullen received her MA and PhD in medical anthropology from Case Western Reserve University.


Bobbi Jo Yarborough, PsyD, Investigator

Dr. Yarborough is a clinical psychologist and health services researcher with nearly 20 years of experience managing the clinical and scientific oversight of research studies, including qualitative and mixed-methods studies, large multisite randomized controlled trials, and implementation and process evaluations. Her research focus is on improvement of care and outcomes among individuals with serious mental illnesses and/or substance use disorders. She recently received a National Institutes of Health R01 grant award to study the role of opioid use in suicide risk. Dr. Yarborough earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Oregon and her master’s in counseling and doctorate in clinical psychology from Pacific University.


Scott Stumbo, MA, Research Program Manager

Scott Stumbo has over 20 years of experience with qualitative and quantitative methods in a variety of settings. His primary work includes improving access, care and outcomes for individuals with serious mental illnesses and substance use disorders. His previous work includes mixed methods research in HIV prevention and maternal and child health. He received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Sociology, both from U.C. Berkeley.


Jennifer Schneider, MPH, Research Associate III

Ms. Schneider is a Senior Research Associate with broad expertise in qualitative research, including methodological design, data collection, and analysis. Since joining the Center for Health Research in 2000, Ms. Schneider has served as a co-investigator on many studies, using observations, document review, interviews, and focus groups to develop and evaluate interventions within integrated health plans or community health centers at the patient, provider, and health system levels. Ms. Schneider earned her bachelor’s degree in rhetoric/communication from the University of Oregon and her master’s degree in public health/health education, with a focus on qualitative methods, from Portland State University.

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