Elizabeth O'Connor, PhD

Associate Director,
Evidence-based Practice Center

Areas of Focus


Elizabeth O’Connor, PhD, is a behavioral health psychologist whose current research focuses on systematic evidence reviews and review methodology, with a focus on behavioral health topics such as depression, suicide, obesity, and health lifestyle counseling.

As an investigator and the associate director of the Kaiser Permanente Research Affiliates Evidence-based Practice Center, Dr. O’Connor leads and supervises systematic reviews for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. She has led or participated in several dozen reviews and conducted the quantitative analyses for most of them. In addition, she has written two continuing education modules for the Council for Training in Evidence-based Behavioral Practice.

Dr. O’Connor began her tenure at the Center for Health Research with a stint as a research analyst in 1988, and then earned her master’s degree and PhD in psychology from the University of Houston. Upon completion of her internship and her postdoctoral fellowship in health psychology at the Portland VA Medical Center, she rejoined CHR in 1996.

Selected Current Studies

  • Systematic Evidence Reviews to Support the U.S Preventive Services Task Force: Interventions to Prevent Illicit and Nonmedical Drug Use in Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults; Behavioral Counseling Interventions to Promote a Healthy Diet and Physical Activity for Cardiovascular Disease Preventions in Adults with Cardiovascular Risk Factors; Screening and Treatment of Unhealthy Alcohol Use; Interventions to Prevent Postpartum Depression (AHRQ)
  • Other Systematic Evidence Reviews: Comparative Effectiveness of Comprehensive Family-Based Interventions for Obesity in Children and Adolescents (American Psychological Association)
  • Methods and Dissemination: Methods Guide for Comparative Effectiveness Reviews: Updated Guidance on Quantitative Methods (AHRQ)

Selected Publications

  • O’Connor EA, Evans CV, Burda BU, Walsh ES, Eder M, Lozano P. Screening for Obesity and Intervention for Weight Management in Children and Adolescents: Evidence Report and Systematic Review for the US Preventive Services Task Force. JAMA 2017 Jun 20;317(23):2427-2444. PMID: 28632873
  • Burda BU, O’Connor EA, Webber EM, Redmond N, Perdue LA. Estimating data from figures with a Web-based program: Considerations for a systematic review. Res Synth Methods 2017 Mar 7. PMID: 28268241
  • O’Connor E, Rossom RC, Henninger M, Groom HC, Burda BU. Primary Care Screening for and Treatment of Depression in Pregnant and Postpartum Women: Evidence Report and Systematic Review for the US Preventive Services Task Force. JAMA 2016 Jan 26;315(4):388-406.PMID: 26813212
  • Lin JS, Piper MA, Perdue LA, Rutter CM, Webber EM, O'Connor E, Smith N, Whitlock EP. Screening for Colorectal Cancer: Updated Evidence Report and Systematic Review for the US Preventive Services Task Force. JAMA 2016 Jun 21;315(23):2576-94. Erratum in: JAMA 2016 Aug 2;316(5):545. JAMA 2016 Oct 4;316(13):1412. PMID: 27305422
  • Guirguis-Blake JM, Evans CV, Senger CA, O’Connor EA, Whitlock EP. Aspirin for the Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Events: A Systematic Evidence Review for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Ann Intern Med 2016 Jun 21;164(12):804-13. PMID: 27064410
  • McNellis RJ, Ory MG, Lin JS, O’Connor EA. Standards of Evidence for Behavioral Counseling Recommendations. Am J Prev Med 2015 Sep;49(3 Suppl 2):S150-7. PMID: 26296549
  • O’Connor E, Lin JS, Burda BU, Henderson JT, Walsh ES, Whitlock EP. Behavioral sexual risk reduction counseling in primary care to prevent sexually transmitted infections: An updated systematic evidence review for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Ann Intern Med 2014 Dec 16;161(12):874-883. [ePub 2014 Sep 23.] PMID: 25243895
  • O’Connor EA, Gaynes B, Burda BU, Soh C, Whitlock EP. Screening for and treatment of suicide risk relevant to primary care: a systematic evidence review for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Ann Intern Med 2013 May 21;158(10):741-54. PMID: 23609101
  • O’Connor EA. Systematic Review Training Module Evidence-Based Behavioral-Practice. 2008. http://www.ebbp.org/training.html