Our research in health disparities dates back to a seminal 1968 project funded by the U.S. Office of Economic Opportunity, in which Kaiser Permanente Northwest worked with nearly 50 neighborhood health centers in impoverished areas. In addition, the Office of Economic Opportunity’s focus on providing dental care to impoverished families led KPNW to become one of the first HMOs in the nation to offer comprehensive dental coverage.

Today, we pursue disparities research both within the Kaiser Permanente health plan and in many community settings, including federally qualified health centers in several states. This program of research is greatly strengthened by the ethnic and socioeconomic diversity of our study populations. By viewing public health through this lens, we are able to ask key questions about how different population groups experience illness, disease, medications, treatments, and health care delivery itself.

Our commitment to equality in health care is embodied in the Merwyn (“Mitch”) Greenlick Endowed Scientist for Health Disparities position, held by Gloria Coronado, PhD. Dr. Coronado’s research has a strong focus on the prevention and early detection of cancer, a disease that hits underserved populations especially hard due to such factors as poor access to health care and uneven quality of care. Dr. Coronado has led several initiatives to develop and test clinic-based approaches to raise the rates of cancer screening. She has collaborated broadly with Latino-serving, community-based organizations both locally and nationally.

Featured Study

Multi-Level Intervention to Improve Rates of Mammography Screening in Latinas

Breast cancer places a disparate burden on Latino women, who tend to have a later stage of disease detection than non-Latino white women. The overall goal of this project was to understand and reduce this disparity. This project built on a long-standing partnership with a Latino-serving federally qualified health center serving more than 100,000 patients in Western Washington. At the clinic level and at two of the four participating clinic sites, additional mammography services were provided through an on-site, state-of-the-art mobile mammography van. At the patient level, Spanish-speaking lay health educators, promotoras, delivered home-based motivational interviewing to Latinas who were non-adherent with mammography screening recommendations.


Gloria Coronado, PhD
Principal Investigator
Funder: National Cancer Institute

Follow Us