Mary L. Durham, PhD

Senior Investigator

Director, Center for Health Research
Vice President/Research, Kaiser Permanente

Research Areas of Focus

  • Workplace Health
  • Translational Research

Biography

Since 1995, Dr. Durham has served as CHR's director and Vice President/Research for Kaiser Permanente. In addition to her leadership roles, Dr. Durham conducts her own research on workplace health and translational research. She has designed and conducted research studies with employers as partners in the research, such as the Work, Family Health Network, and has over 20 years of hands-on content knowledge and experience in workplace policies and practices.

Dr. Durham is also the Associate Director of the Oregon Clinical and Translational Research Institute, (OCTRI), one of the first 12 NIH Clinical and Translational Science Awards. In a unique partnership with Oregon Health & Science University, CHR’s role in OCTRI contributes to the science of translating research to practice and developing strong interactions between discovery and dissemination.

In tandem with her distinguished health research career, Dr. Durham has worked with state and federal lawmakers in crafting policy-level decisions across a wide range of topics, such as privacy, mental health law, genetics, research, and human subjects protection. She was a Commissioner for the State of Oregon’s Senate Commission for Health Care Access and Affordability. She has had diverse roles, from providing expert testimony to the President’s National Bioethics Advisory Commission to consulting to the World Health Organization. Dr. Durham has served on the boards of the Association for Health Services Research (Academy Health), Group Health Community Foundation, and Kaiser Permanente Health Care Alternatives. 

A professor in the Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at the Oregon Health & Science University, Dr. Durham is also an adjunct professor in the Department of Sociology at Portland State University. She is a former commissioner of the American Bar Association, where she served on the ABA’s Commission on Mental and Physical Disability Law.

Dr. Durham received her PhD in sociology from the University of Oklahoma in 1978, specializing in medical sociology. Before moving to Portland, she was deputy director of Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound’s Center for Health Studies and on the faculty at the University of Washington’s School of Public Health and Community Medicine, in the Department of Health Services.

Selected Publications

  • McGlynn EA, Lieu TA, Durham ML, Bauck A, Laws R, Go AS, Chen J, Feigelson HS, Corley DA, Young DR, Nelson AF, Davidson A, Morales LS, Kahn ML. Developing a data infrastructure for a learning health system: The PORTAL network. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2014 Jul-Aug;21(4):596-601. PMCID: PMC4078291
  • King RB, Karuntzos GT, Casper LM, Moen P, Davis KD, Berkman L, Durham M & Kossek EE. “Work-Family Balance Issues and Work-Leave Policies.” In Handbook of Occupational Health and Wellness (editors Gatchel RJ & Schultz IZ). New York, NY: Springer, 2013, pp. 323-339.
  • Durham ML. Supercharging research through KP HealthConnect. In Liang L (ed) Connected for health: Transforming care delivery at Kaiser Permanente. San Francisco: Jossey Bass, 2010, pp179-194.
  • Durham M, England J. Research on child and adolescent mental health: NIMH's blueprint for change. The Permanente Journal Winter 2002; 6(1):10-13.
  • Durham ML. How research will adapt to HIPAA: a view from within the healthcare delivery system. American Journal of Law & Medicine 2002; 28(4):491-502.

Video

Celebrating 50 Years of Improving Public Health

Founded in 1964 with only a handful of employees, the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research has since grown to nearly 250 employees in two states. The Center started in a small basement office in Portland, Oregon and fifty years later is housed a few miles away in a large, stand-alone building on Kaiser Permanente’s Interstate medical campus. This brief video features highlights from a half-century of conducting health care research and looks ahead to the Center’s future.

5/27/2014

Stories

Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research Receives National “Psychologically Healthy Workplace” Award

American Psychological Association Recognizes CHR for work flexibility, employee autonomy, professional development, and fostering a healthy, high-performing work environment

Mar 08 2011

Stories

Profile of the Center for Health Research in the Columbian Newspaper

Kaiser Center for Health Research ‘An impact on millions’ Vancouver resident heads program that plays role in developing policy

Nov 18 2010