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Karen M. Emmons named VP, director of Kaiser Foundation Research Institute

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Kaiser Permanente, a health research organization, has named Karen M. Emmons, Ph.D., associate dean for research at the Harvard School of Public Health, vice president for research and director of the Kaiser Foundation Research Institute, effective Sept. 30.

With 140 researchers based in eight regional research centers, the organization is able to conduct transformational health research in part because it has the largest private patient-centered electronic health system in the world. The organization’s electronic health record system, Kaiser Permanente HealthConnect, securely connects 9.1 million patients to 17,000 physicians in 611 medical offices and 37 hospitals. It also connects Kaiser Permanente’s research scientists to one of the most extensive collections of longitudinal medical data available, facilitating studies and important medical discoveries that shape the future of health and care delivery for patients and the medical community.

Emmons led the creation of the office of research strategy and development. This department provides services, supports and strategic direction to increase faculty competitiveness for outside funding, build and diversify the school’s research portfolio and advance the school’s capability to adhere to the highest research standards. She also is on the faculty of the Center for Community-Based Research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Her experience is in behavioral change and policy interventions for behavioral cancer risk factors, particularly for low-income communities.

She also has expertise in cancer disparities and in efforts to increase dissemination/knowledge translation in low-resource settings.

She is a fellow in the Society of Behavioral Medicine and was its president from 2010 to 2011. She received the society’s Distinguished Research Mentor Award in 2004 and the Morse Distinguished Researcher Award from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in 2005. Emmons completed the Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine Program for Women and has provided mentoring to junior faculty, receiving both a mentoring citation from HSPH and the Harold Amos Faculty Diversity Award from the Harvard Medical School in 2008.

Emmons’ main areas of research include health promotion and cancer prevention, tobacco control and smoking cessation and health communication. She currently leads three studies funded by the National Cancer Institute, and is a member of the center for scientific review’s standing study section on dissemination and implementation research in health.

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