Lynn L. DeBar, PhD, MPH

Senior Investigator
Assistant Program Director

Areas of Focus


Lynn DeBar, PhD, is a behavioral health researcher. Her work focuses on health issues that have emotional and physical causes and manifestations, such as eating disorders, pain syndromes, and obesity-related health problems. She is particularly interested in exploring how these health issues can be addressed and treated in primary-care settings and general medical practices.

Dr. DeBar’s primary research interest is on developing treatments that address the complex interrelationships between physical symptoms and emotional disorders. Her work seeks to build on research showing that people with emotional disorders, such as anxiety and depression, often seek treatment for related physical symptoms, and that people with a variety of physical ailments can benefit greatly from concomitant attention to their emotional and psychosocial conditions. Accordingly, Dr. DeBar’s research develops and evaluates treatment approaches that simultaneously recognize and address these complex needs. Dr. DeBar works closely with physicians at Kaiser Permanente Northwest to ensure that findings from her research are making their way into clinical practice, and, conversely, to examine how clinical practice can influence the design of mental-health interventions. This health services research identifies opportunities for improved service delivery.

In addition to her role as a Senior Investigator at the Center for Health Research, Dr. DeBar is a clinical assistant professor of Public Health & Preventive Medicine at Oregon Health & Science University. She received a National Research Service Award post-doctoral fellowship from the Agency for Healthcare Policy and Research and previously served as a staff psychologist at the Portland VA Medical Center. She holds a PhD in clinical and community psychology, with an emphasis on health psychology, from Yale University. Dr. DeBar also received an MPH from Oregon Health & Science University, where she focused on epidemiology and biostatistics.

Recent Publications

  • Larson E, Tachibana C, Thompson E, Coronado G, DeBar L, Dember LM, Honda S, Huang SS, Jarvik JD, Nelson C, Septimus E, Simon G, Johnson KE. Trials without tribulations: Minimizing the burden of pragmatic research on healthcare systems. Healthcare. (2015) Doi:10.1016/j.hjdsi.2015.07.005i
  • Bussing R, Narwaney KJ, Winterstein A, Newton DA, DeBar LL, et al. Pharmacotherapy for incident Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: Practice patterns and quality metrics. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology Curr Med Res Opin. 2014 Aug;30(8):1687-99 [Epub 2014 Apr 7]
  • Daley MF, Newton DA, DeBar L, Newcomer SR, Pieper L, Boscarino JA, Toh S, Pawloski P, Nordin JD, Nakasato C, Herrinton LJ, Bussing R. Accuracy of electronic health record derived data for the identification of incident Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). J Atten Disord. 2014 Feb 7. [Epub ahead of print]
  • Jago R, Drews KL, Otvos JD, Foster GD, Marcus MD, Buse JB, Mietus-Snyder M, Willi SM; HEALTHY Study Group. Effect of relative weight group change on nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy derived lipoprotein particle size and concentrations among adolescents. J Pediatr. 2014 May;164(5):1091-1098.e3. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2013.12.029. Epub 2014 Feb 5.
  • Raebel MA1, Newcomer SR, Bayliss EA, Boudreau D, DeBar L, Elliott TE, Ahmed AT, Pawloski PA, Fisher D, Toh S, Donahoo WT. Chronic opioid use emerging after bariatric surgery. Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf. 2014 Dec;23(12):1247-57. doi: 10.1002/pds.3625. Epub 2014 Apr 14


Involving Patients as Equal Partners in Research

Chronic pain affects more than 100 million Americans. That’s more than diabetes, cancer and heart disease combined. It’s the number one reason patients visit their primary care providers, sometimes with the expectation that those providers will have a quick cure or answer. But for most patients with chronic pain, that’s not the case. The pain can last several years or a lifetime, but as we learn in this video, patients who take an active role in their treatment can often return to normal activities and improve their quality of life. The study described in the video was funded by the non-profit Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute.

Press Release

Most Patients with Chronic Pain Use Alternative Therapies, But Many Don’t Tell Their Doctors

More than half of chronic pain patients in a managed care setting reported using chiropractic care or acupuncture or both, but many of these patients didn’t discuss this care with their primary care providers.

Jul 20 2015

Press Release

Primary Care Program Helps Teen Girls Manage Weight and Improve Body Image

Kaiser Permanente Study First to Show Long-Term Success of Program Designed for Teen Girls

Press Releases - Feb 13 2012