Beginning with a study on primary care screening for risky drinking the 1970s, CHR has conducted substance use research in the real-world setting of Kaiser Permanente Northwest’s Addiction Medicine Department. Much of our recent work has focused on the overuse—and over-prescribing—of opioids.

The Center for Health Research served for ten years as the data management center for the National Drug Abuse Clinical Trials Network, coordinating clinical trials to improve drug abuse treatment in real-life settings across the country. Our work in this area also includes systematic reviews for the United States Preventive Services Task Force, including a review on primary care screening for illicit drug use.

Tobacco dependence remains a stubborn public health problem, and CHR has a decades-long history of creating and refining programs that help people quit smoking. Working with the KP dental and health care plans, our researchers have developed and implemented several successful quit strategies. Recent tobacco-related CHR studies have evaluated a program for hospitalized smokers, estimated the return on investment for smoking cessation efforts, assessed the impact of tobacco advertising, and tested web-based interventions for teens.

Featured Study

Inpatient Technology-Supported Assisted Referral

This five-year clinical trial evaluated the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of an inpatient tobacco cessation program. This program combines tobacco treatment specialists and follow-up care for hospitalized smokers. The trial compared usual care (providing counseling to smokers while they are hospitalized) to offering hospitalized smokers referral to outpatient quit services, and following up with interactive voice recognition calls. We assessed the two approaches in terms of success in quitting, improvements in quality of life, and reductions in health care costs.


Jeffrey Fellows, PhD
Principal Investigator
Funder: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

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