ResearchOur PeopleStephen P. Fortmann

Stephen P. Fortmann, MD

Stephen Fortmann, MD, is an internist and epidemiologist whose main research interest is heart disease prevention. He has conducted population- and individual-level studies of cardiovascular risk factors and disease rates, smoking cessation, the influence of tobacco marketing on adolescent smoking, and exercise and diet change. He has more than 40 years of experience leading community and clinical research, beginning with the Stanford Five-City Project, a community cardiovascular disease prevention study funded by National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute from 1978 to 1998. He has published over 230 peer-reviewed journal articles.

Dr. Fortmann is completing a study to see whether increased access to public transit benefits health or reduces health care costs. He is also jointly leading a study of cardiovascular disease rates among Asians and Pacific Islanders in Hawaii and California. An experienced leader of clinical trials, he currently serves as site principal investigator on GRADE, a study funded by the National Institutes of Health that is comparing the effectiveness of second-line drugs for diabetes that will publish the main results in 2022. Since 2020 he participated in a study of exercise promotion in primary care with colleagues at the Kaiser Permanente Southern California Department of Research and Evaluation.

Since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic Dr. Fortmann has served as site principal investigator on a series of trials of the safety and efficacy of Pfizer COVID vaccines. He is also collaborating with other CHR investigators on studies of the epidemiology of COVID-19 and the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Dr. Fortmann came to CHR from Stanford University Medical School, where he was director of the Stanford Prevention Research Center and the Stanford Preventive Cardiology Clinic. He is the C. F. Rehnborg Professor in Disease Prevention (Emeritus) at Stanford and in 2005 was elected to the National Academy of Medicine. Dr. Fortmann received his MD from the University of California, San Francisco, and postdoctoral training at Stanford University.

Selected Current Studies

  • Glycemia Reduction Approaches in Diabetes: A Comparative Effectiveness Study—GRADE (NIDDK)
  • Cardiovascular Disease Among Asians and Pacific Islanders—CASPER (NHLBI)
  • Health and Economic Effects of Light Rail Lines: A Natural Experiment (NIDDK)
  • Evaluating the Implementation of the Diabetes Prevention Program in an Integrated Health System (NIDDK)
  • Randomized Trial of Exercise Promotion in Primary Care—EPPC (NIDDK)
  • Hawaii Asian and Pacific Islander Diabetes Study—HAPI-D (NIDDK)
  • A Study to Evaluate the Safety, Tolerability, Immunogenicity, and Efficacy of RNA Vaccine Candidates Against COVID-19 in Healthy Individuals (Pfizer)
  • RECOVER: Expanded Second Wave of Recruitment for SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine Effectiveness Analysis (CDC)
  • CASCADIA: Prospective Observational Cohort Study to Assess SARS-Cov-2 Vaccine Effectiveness in Children and Adults (CDC)

Selected Publications

  • Shortreed SM, Gray R, Akosile MA, Walker RL, Fuller S, Temposky L, Fortmann SP, Albertson-Junkans L, Floyd JS, Bayliss EA, Harrington LB, Lee MH, Dublin S. Increased COVID-19 infection risk drives racial and ethnic disparities in severe COVID-19 outcomes. J Racial Ethn Health. 2022 [published online 24 January 2022;].
  • Saelens BE, Meenan RT, Keast EM, Frank LD, Young DR, Kuntz JL, Dickerson JF, Fortmann SP. Transit Use and Health Care Costs: A Cross-sectional Analysis. J Transport & Health 2022; 24: 101292 [published online 24 Nov 2021;].
  • Fortmann SP, Bailey SR, Brooks NB, Hitsman B, Rittner SS, Gillespie SE, Hill CN, Leo MC, Crawford PM, Hu W, King DS, O’Cleirigh C, Puro JE, McBurnie MA. Trends in smoking documentation in safety net clinics. Health Services Research 2020; 55:170–177. [https://doi. org/10.1111/1475-6773.13259; PMID: 31930738, PMCID: PMC7080378].
  • Frank LD, Kuntz JL, Chapman JE, Fos EH, Dickerson JF, Meenan RT, Saelens BE, Young DR, Boone-Heinonen J, Fortmann SP. The Health and Economic Effects of Light Rail Lines: Design and Methods of a Natural Experiment. BMC Public Health 2019: 19:200 [;; PMID: 30770737, PMCID: PMC6377787].
  • Bailey S, Stevens VJ, Fortmann SP, Kurtz SE, McBurnie MA, Priest E, Puro J, Solberg LI, Schweitzer R, Masica AL, Hazlehurst B. Long term outcomes from repeated smoking cessation assistance in routine primary care. Am J Health Promotion [published online March 2018; DOI: 10.1177/0890117118761886 PMID: 29534598].
  • Gurwitz JH, Go AS, Fortmann SP: Statins for primary prevention in older adults:  Uncertainty and the need for more evidence. JAMA Viewpoint 2016; 316 (19): 1971-2 [PMID: 27838724; PMC5429025].
  • Henriksen L, Schleicher NC, Dauphineé A, Fortmann SP. Targeted advertising, promotion, and price for menthol cigarettes in California high school neighborhoods. Nicotine Tobacco Res 2012; 14:116-21 (Epub ahead of print, 24 June 2011: doi 10.1093/ntr/ntr122) [PMID 21705460; PMC 3592564].
  • Henriksen L, Schleicher NC, Feighery EC, Fortmann SP. A longitudinal study of exposure to retail cigarette advertising and smoking initiation. Pediatrics 2010 Aug; 126(2):232-8 [PMID 20643725; PMC3046636].
  • Fortmann SP, Varady AN. Effects of a community-wide health education program on cardiovascular disease morbidity and mortality: The Stanford Five-City Project.Am J Epidemiol 2000; 152: 316-323.
  • Farquhar JW, Fortmann SP, Flora JA, Taylor CB, et al. Effects of community-wide education on cardiovascular disease risk factors. The Stanford Five-City Project JAMA 1990;264:359-365.

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