Kaiser Permanente - Deparment of Research and Evaluation

About Us

About Us

Research powers a learning organization

Research is an essential part of what it means to be a learning organization. At Kaiser Permanente, research helps us learn what we need to do to provide better care for our members and promote better health in the community.

Scientists, clinicians, and health care professionals work side-by-side to ask and answer questions that make a difference in health today. Is the shingles vaccine effective? Do antidepressants interfere with breast cancer treatment? How can we encourage people to pick up medication that protects heart health?

When we find answers, we translate them into practice. The impact of our work goes beyond conference presentations and scholarly publications. It changes clinical practice, transforms care delivery, and improves health.

Department Overview

More than 250 people work at the Pasadena, California-based Department of Research & Evaluation. The department is the primary hub of research for Kaiser Permanente Southern California, supporting research by full-time faculty members as well as medical center-based clinician researchers.

The research program emphasizes translational research studies that have the potential to improve clinical quality and health care affordability. Faculty members focus primarily on externally funded public domain research.

Research Faculty and Staff

The department’s faculty includes more than two dozen full-time research scientists as well as a small group of post-doctoral fellows and associate investigators. Most have academic backgrounds in epidemiology, behavioral science, health services research, or biostatistics. Some also have clinical training.

The department includes the following groups:
  • Research Leadership
  • Research Scientists
  • Clinical Trials
  • Research Support
  • Biostatistics, Programming, and Research Database Services
  • Research Business & Contract Operations
  • Administrative Support Team
  • Research Information Technology
  • Research Operations & Logistics
  • Research Communications

The Regional Research Committee supports clinician research, providing funding and guidance for small but clinically relevant research projects. Kaiser Permanente Southern California also has a robust Nursing Research program.

Other research centers at Kaiser Permanente

In addition to the Department of Research & Evaluation, Kaiser Permanente has six other regional research departments and one national research center. These include the following research centers:

  • Center for Effectiveness and Safety Research (National)
  • Center for Health Research (Northwest, Hawaii, Southeast)
  • Division of Research (Northern California)
  • Institute for Health Research (Colorado)
  • Mid-Atlantic Permanente Research Institute (Maryland)

The Kaiser Foundation Research Institute, or KFRI, provides administrative services for all of federally funded research conducted in California, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, and Oregon. The institute submits applications for grants and executes contracts and sub-contracts for federally funded research on behalf of the regional research programs.


The Department of Research & Evaluation has an integral role in the success of Kaiser Permanente Southern California by conducting high-quality, innovative translational research that benefits the health of its members and the communities from which they come.


The mission of the Department of Research & Evaluation is to initiate and conduct high-quality public-sector health services, epidemiologic, behavioral, and clinical research that has a demonstrable positive impact on the health and well-being of Kaiser Permanente Southern California members and the general population.

Leadership Team

Scientific Leadership

  • Steven J. Jacobsen, MD, PhD
    Senior Director of Research
  • Michael K. Gould, MD, MS
    Director of Health Services Research & Implementation Science
  • Kristi Reynolds, PhD, MPH
    Director of Epidemiologic Research
  • William J. Towner, MD, FACP, FIDSA
    Regional Physician Director for Clinical Trials
  • Anny Hui Xiang, PhD, MS
    Director of Biostatistics Research
  • Deborah Rohm Young, PhD, MBA
    Director of Behavioral Research

Administrative Leadership

  • Annie X. Chen, MBA
    Director of Research Operations
  • Wansu Chen, PhD
    Director of Clinical Informatics & Research Database Services
  • Cristine E. Denver, MS
    Director of Research Communications
  • Barbara J. Farrell, MBA
    Division Research Administrator
  • Sharon M. Figgins, MBA

  • Kelvin L. Kelley, BS
    Manager of Sponsored Programs Administration
  • Hai Linh T. Kerrigan, PharmD
    Division Research Administrator
  • Kirt Patel, BS
    Director of Research Information Technology
  • Allan Slatkin, BS
    Division Research Administrator