ResearchOur PeopleKimberly K. Vesco

Kimberly K. Vesco, MD, MPH

Meet Kim Vesco

Half of U.S. women gain too much weight during pregnancy. Dr. Kim Vesco has a solution to this problem—and she’s testing it among thousands of Kaiser Permanente patients.

Kimberly Vesco, MD, MPH, is a board-certified, practicing obstetrician-gynecologist with Kaiser Permanente Northwest. She has broad research interests in women's health which include factors that may impact pregnancy outcomes, such as obesity, gestational diabetes and gestational weight gain, as well as the diagnosis and treatment of menopause-related symptoms.

Dr. Vesco co-led the Healthy Moms Study, a randomized trial of a group-based diet and lifestyle weight management program for pregnant women. The study led to her interest in examining upstream efforts to optimize maternal health prior to pregnancy in addition to continuing studies to examine the influence of both body composition and weight change on maternal metabolism and pregnancy outcomes. She was the principal investigator on the Baby Bump study, which examined the relationship between visceral and liver fat stores in pregnancy and metabolic changes, and a co-investigator on the PROMISE study, which is examining the impact of gestational weight trajectories on maternal and child outcomes. She is also a co-PI on a study examining the impact of preconception weight trajectories on pregnancy and postpartum outcomes (MatTrack), and continues as a co-investigator on the PREPARE study, a randomized trial of a preconception weight loss intervention for women with overweight and obesity planning pregnancies. Currently, the PREPARE study team is performing 3-year postpartum follow-up of participants and their children.

Dr. Vesco is the physician co-lead on Kaiser Permanente Northwest’s diabetes in pregnancy care management program and has completed several studies as co-investigator and principal investigator on various aspects of screening for diabetes during pregnancy and in the postpartum period.  She is currently one of three PIs leading the Kaiser site in the GO MOMs study, an NIDDK-funded consortium of seven clinical sites convened to prospectively examine the glycemic profile of pregnancy among 2150 women.

In addition to her research in pregnancy and maternal and child health, Dr. Vesco has maintained a parallel interest in menopause and health care delivery for menopause- related issues. She led a health system-based, cluster-randomized trial at KPNW that aimed to increase the detection and treatment of the genitourinary syndrome of menopause. That work led to a study that tested a novel curriculum, which includes a six-episode podcast available to the public, for improving medical resident education related to the care of women with menopause-related symptoms.

Dr. Vesco works with CHR’s Evidence-based Practice Center to perform systematic evidence reviews for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (AHRQ) and with CHR’s Vaccine Safety Datalink team, which conducts studies to examine vaccine safety as part of a large, consortium funded by the CDC. She was also a co-investigator on the CDC-funded “Extent of maternal morbidity in a managed care setting” study, which leveraged the KPNW electronic health record to conduct studies related to maternal and child health.

Dr. Vesco earned her medical degree from the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine. She trained in obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Utah and completed a women’s health fellowship at the Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center and an MPH degree with a focus in epidemiology and biostatistics at Oregon Health & Science University.

Selected Current Studies

  • Glycemic Observation and Metabolic Outcomes in Mothers and Offspring—GO MOMs (NIDDK)
  • The impact of preconception maternal weight trajectories on maternal, pregnancy, and child outcomes—MatTrack (NICHD)
  • PReventing Obesity through healthy Maternal gestational weight gain In the Safety nEt—PROMISE (NIDDK)
  • Examining post-Delivery maternal-offspring obesity and metabolic risk after a prepregnancy weight loss intervention—PREPARED (NIDDK)
  • A Randomized Trial of a Pre-Pregnancy Weight Loss Intervention—PREPARE (NIDDK)
  • Resident Training to Optimize Patient Focused Menopause Management (Pfizer)
  • Role of Liver and Visceral Fat in Glucose and Lipid Metabolism During Pregnancy (NIDDK)
  • Comparing Two Gestational Diabetes Screening Methods: A Pragmatic Outpatient RCT (NICHD)

Selected Media

Selected Publications

  • Vesco KK, Marshall NE, Baetscher E, Leo MC, Rooney W, Francisco M, Baker E, King JC, Catalano P, Frias AE, Purnell JQ. Changes in Visceral and Ectopic Adipose Tissue Stores Across Pregnancy and their Relationship to Gestational Weight Gain. J Nutr. 11 Jan 2022. doi: 10.1093/jnnxac010.
  • Lipkind HS, Vazquez-Benitez G, DeSilva M, Vesco, KK, Ackerman-Banks C, Zhu J, Boyce T G, Daley M., Fuller CC, Getahun D, Irving SA, Jackson LA, Williams J, Zerbo O, McNeil MM, Olson CK, Weintraub E, Kharbanda EO. (2022). Receipt of COVID-19 Vaccine During Pregnancy and Preterm or Small-for-Gestational-Age at Birth: Eight Integrated Health Care Organizations, United States, December 15, 2020-July 22, 2021. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 71(1), 26-30. doi: 10.15585/mmwr.mm7101e1
  • Hillier TA, Pedula KL, Ogasawara KK, Vesco KK, Oshiro CES, Lubarsky SE, VanMarter, J. Further Implications from a pragmatic randomized clinical trial of gestational diabetes screening: per-protocol and as-treated estimates. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2021 Nov;225(5):581-583. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog/2021.08.006
  • LeBlanc ES, Smith NX, Vesco KK, Hillier TA, Stevens VJ. Weight Loss Prior to Pregnancy and Early Gestational Glycemia: Prepare, a Randomized Clinical Trial. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2021 Nov 19;106(12):e5001-e5010. doi: 10.1210/clinem/dgab547. PMID: 34313765; PMCID: PMC8787851.
  • Henderson JT, Vesco KK, Senger CA, Thomas RG, Redmond N. Aspirin Use to Prevent Preeclampsia and Related Morbidity and Mortality: Updated Evidence Report and Systematic Review for the US Preventive Services Task Force. JAMA. 2021 Sep 28;326(12):1192-1206. doi: 10.1001/jama.2021.8551. PMID: 34581730.
  • Hillier TA, Pedula KL, Ogasawara KK, Vesco KK, Oshiro CES, Lubarsky SE, VanMater, J. A Pragmatic, Randomized Clinical Trial of Gestational Diabetes Screening. N Engl J Med. 2021 Mar 11;384:895-904 DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa2026028.
  • LeBlanc ES, Smith N, Vesco KK, Paul IM, Stevens VJ. Weight loss prior to pregnancy and subsequent gestational weight gain: Prepare, a randomized clinical trial. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2021 Jan;224(1):99.e1-99.e14. doi:10.1016/j.ajog.2020.07.027. Epub 2020 Jul 18.
  • Vesco KK, Leo MC, Bulkley JE, Stoneburner AB, Francisco M, Clark AL. Improving management for the genitourinary syndrome of menopause: Evaluation of a health-system based, cluster-randomized intervention. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2020 July 18;S0002-9378(20)30748-1.
  • Vesco KK, Beadle K, Stoneburner A, Bulkley J, Leo MC, Clark AL. Clinician knowledge, attitudes, and barriers to management of vulvovaginal atrophy: Variations in primary care and gynecology. Menopause 2019 Mar;26(3):265-272. PMID: 30153218
  • Vesco KK, Sharma AJ, Bulkley J, Kimes T, Callaghan WM, England LJ, Hornbrook MC. Association of glucose levels in pregnancy with use of health care services. Diabetes Res Clin Pract 2019;152:146-155. PMID: 31063853
  • Vesco KK, Leo MC, Karanja N, Gillman MW, McEvoy CT, King JC, Eckhardt CL, Smith KS, Perrin N, Stevens VJ. One-year postpartum outcomes following a weight management intervention in pregnant women with obesity. Obesity. 2016;24(10):2042-9. PMCID: PMC5084910
  • Vesco KK, Karanja N, King JC, Gillman MW, Leo MC, Perrin N, McEvoy CT, Eckhardt CL, Smith KS, Stevens VJ. Efficacy of a group-based dietary intervention for limiting gestational weight gain among obese women: A randomized trial. Obesity. 2014 Sep;22(9):1989-1996.

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