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. 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. Both studies are in the final publication phase. 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; the main results were published in 2022 and work continues on other publications. Since 2020 he has participated in a study of exercise promotion in primary care with colleagues at the Kaiser Permanente Southern California Department of Research and Evaluation. Dr. Fortmann is also the site principal investigator on two research partnerships with medical schools, one with Stanford and another with Tufts. Both are designed to enhance clinical and translational science.

During the COVID-19 pandemic Dr. Fortmann served as site principal investigator on a series of trials of the safety and efficacy of Pfizer COVID vaccines, which are coming to a close. 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)
  • CASCADIA: Prospective Observational Cohort Study to Assess SARS-Cov-2 Vaccine Effectiveness in Children and Adults (CDC)
  • Tufts Clinical and Translational Science Institute (NCATS)

Selected Publications

  • Floyd JS, Walker RL, Kuntz JL, Shortreed SM, Fortmann SP, Bayless EA, Harrington LB, Fuller S, Albertson-Junkans LH, Powers JD, Lee, MH, Temposky LA, Dublin S. Cohort study of diabetes severity and the risks of COVID-19 infection and severe COVID-19. J Gen Intern Med. 2023 May;38(6):1484-1492. doi: 10.1007/s11606-023-08076-9. Epub 2023 Feb 16. PMID: 36795328; PMCID: PMC9933797.
  • Waitzfelder B, Palaniappan L, Varga A, Frankland TB, Li J, Daida YG, Kaholokula JK, Bacong AM, Rawlings AM, Chung S, Howick C, Fortmann SP. Prevalence of cardiovascular disease among Asian, Pacific Islander and multi-race populations in Hawai'i and California. BMC Public Health. 2023 May 15;23(1):885. doi: 10.1186/s12889-023-15795-5. PMID: 37189145; PMCID: PMC10184427.
  • Wali B, Frank LD, Young DR, Saelens BE, Meenan RT, Dickerson JF, Keast E, Kuntz JL, Fortmann SP. Pathways from built environment to health care costs: Linking objectively measured built environment with physical activity and health care. Environment & Behavior 2022; 54(4): 747-782. doi: 10.1177/00139165221083291.
  • GRADE Study Research Group, Nathan DM, Lachin JM, Bebu I, Burch HB, Buse JB, Cherrington AL, Fortmann SP, Green JB, Kahn SE, Kirkman MS, Krause-Steinrauf H, Larkin ME, Phillips LS, Pop-Busui R, Steffes M, Tiktin M, Tripputi M, Wexler DJ, Younes N. Glycemia reduction in type 2 diabetes: Micro- and cardiovascular outcomes.  N Engl J Med. 2022 Sep 22;387(12):1075-1088. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa2200436. PMID: 36129997; PMCID: PMC9832916.
  • Smith DH, O’Keeffe-Rosetti M, Fitzpatrick SL, Mayhew M, Firemark AJ, GruƟ I, Nyongesa DB, Rawlings AM, Smith N, Dickerson JF, Stevens VJ, Vollmer WM, Fortmann SP. Costs and cost-effectiveness of implementing a digital diabetes prevention program in a large, integrated health system. Perm J. 2022 Sep 14;26(3):74-82. doi: 10.7812/TPP/22.029. Epub 2022 Aug 30. PMID: 36038966; PMCID: PMC9676692.
  • Mayhew M, Smith N, Fortmann SP, Fitzpatrick SL. Mental health diagnosis attenuates weight loss among older adults in a digital diabetes prevention program. Obes Sci Pract. 2022 Nov 1;9(3):320-326. doi: 10.1002/osp4.644. eCollection 2023 Jun. PMID: 37287521; PMCID: PMC10242247.
  • Tisminetzky M, Gurwitz J, Tabada GH, Reynolds K, Fortmann SP, Garcia E, Pham T, Goldberg R, Go AS. Adverse events after initiating angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor/angiotensin II receptor blocker therapy in individuals with heart failure and multimorbidity. Am J Med. 2022 Dec;135(12):1468-1477. doi: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2022.08.010. Epub 2022 Sep 2. PMID: 36058306.
  • 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 Disparities. 2023 Feb;10(1):149-159. doi: 10.1007/s40615-021-01205-2. Epub 2022 Jan 24. PMID: 35072944; PMCID: PMC8785693.
  • 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 Transp Health. 2022 Mar; 24:101294. doi: 10.1016/j.jth.2021.101294. Epub 2021 Nov 24. PMID: 34926159; PMCID: PMC8682981.
  • 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 Serv Res. 2020 Apr;55(2):170-177. doi: 10.1111/1475-6773.13259. Epub 2020 Jan 13. 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 Feb 15;19(1):200. doi: 10.1186/s12889-019-6518-6. PMID: 30770737; PMCID: PMC6377787.
  • Henriksen L, Schleicher NC, DauphineĆ© A, Fortmann SP. Targeted advertising, promotion, and price for menthol cigarettes in California high school neighborhoods.  Nicotine Tob Res. 2012 Jan;14(1):116-21. doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntr122. Epub 2011 Jun 24. PMID: 21705460; PMCID: PMC3592564.
  • 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. doi: 10.1542/peds.2009-3021. Epub 2010 Jul 19. PMID: 20643725; PMCID: 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 Aug 15;152(4):316-23. doi: 10.1093/aje/152.4.316. PMID: 10968376.
  • Farquhar JW, Fortmann SP, Flora JA, Taylor CB, et al. Effects of community-wide education on cardiovascular disease risk factors.  JAMA. 1990 Jul 18;264(3):359-65. PMID: 2362332.

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