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National Institutes of Health Awards More Than $54 Million to Kaiser Permanente to Conduct Health Research

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds will support research in numerous health areas, from genotyping 100,000 members’ DNA Samples to conducting comparative effectiveness research on colon cancer treatments

October 12, 2009 (Oakland, Calif.) –  As part of the $5 billion in grants announced by President Obama, the National Institutes of Health has granted Kaiser Permanente more than $54 million over two years through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to conduct health research on a multitude of critical public and clinical health areas. The bulk of this research will utilize and leverage Kaiser Permanente’s electronic health records, the world’s largest civilian electronic health record database.

“Kaiser Permanente is proud to be part of what President Obama called the ‘single largest boost to biomedical research in history.’ It’s our mission to find answers to medicine’s complex questions so that everyone can have better care,” said Raymond J. Baxter, Ph.D., senior vice president, Kaiser Permanente Community Benefit, Research and Health Policy. “Health research is foundational to reforming the way we deliver care. Such evidence-based innovation is core to Kaiser Permanente’s commitment to improving care delivery and enhancing quality outcomes, two fundamental goals of the current health care reform debate.”

The NIH has awarded 22 grants to Kaiser Permanente researchers in various regional centers, including a $25 million Grand Opportunities (GO) grant to conduct genotyping on 100,000 Kaiser Permanente members participating in the Research Program on Genes, Environment and Health, the largest population-based bio-bank in the United States. The RPGEH is based at the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, Calif.

This genetic information will be linked to data on participants from RPGEH health surveys, disease registries and Kaiser Permanente’s vast electronic health record database, resulting in a resource that will allow researchers to examine genetic and environmental influences on a wide variety of health conditions. The genotyping accomplished in collaboration with the University of California, San Francisco will roughly double the number of individuals in the United States available to researchers for genome-wide association studies.

A separate NIH Grand Opportunity grant of nearly $4 million was awarded to the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Ore. to study personalized medicine and genomic tests for colon cancer. Researchers will use the grant money to evaluate two tests, one that determines whether colon cancer patients will respond to a commonly prescribed drug and another that tests for a genetic mutation that dramatically increases the chance of developing colon cancer.

Also awarded was a $7.2 million GO grant to develop a cardiovascular surveillance system for the Cardiovascular Research Network (a collaborative of 14 different health plans across the U.S. with approximately 11 million health maintenance organization members) and $3.3 million GO grant to create a National Research Database that will organize and leverage Kaiser Permanente’s electronic health records.

Other NIH grants include research and the building of resources aimed at better understanding the causes and treatment of autism, autoimmune disease, breast cancer, chronic diseases, diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, obesity, and successful aging; improving treatment for HIV-infected patients; better understanding the medical care burden of cancer; and improving post-acute care and rehabilitation for stroke patients. Other grants also will be used to study how to use natural language processing to more accurately extract data from the electronic medical record.

“We have a unique opportunity in front of us right now to transform and reform the way we deliver health care in this country,” said John H. Cochran, MD, executive director of The Permanente Federation. “Kaiser Permanente believes that through evidence-based research and health information technology we can change how personalized health care is delivered.”

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provides an unprecedented level of funding ($8.2 billion in extramural funding) to the NIH to help stimulate the U.S. economy through the support and advancement of scientific research. While NIH Institutes and Centers have broad flexibility to invest in many types of grant programs, they will follow the spirit of the ARRA by funding projects that will stimulate the economy, create or retain jobs, and have the potential for making scientific progress in two years.

The National Institutes of Health – the nation’s Medical Research Agency – includes 27 institutes and centers as a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary funding agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

About Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, our mission is to provide high-quality, affordable health care services to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 8.6 million members in nine states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to:


What follows is a brief description of each grant, broken down by Kaiser Permanente region. The numbers below reflect expected funding amounts over a two-year period, and may be subject to change.

Kaiser Permanente-Northern California Division of Research
$24,846,000 GO grant to conduct genotyping on 100,000 Kaiser Permanente members who are participating in the Research Program on Genes, Environment and Health, the largest population-based bio-bank in the United States, based at the Division of Research in Oakland, Calif.
$7,217,106 GO grant to develop a surveillance system for cardiovascular disease in the Cardiovascular Research Network.
$3,362,771 GO grant to create National Research Database that will organize and leverage Kaiser Permanente’s electronic health records on nearly 30 million current and past members in eight regions of the country.
$4,971,981 GO grant to study contemporary treatment and outcomes for atrial fibrillation in clinical practice.
$945,372 to study breast cancer survivorship.
$1,005,372 to extend and integrate the Kaiser Permanente electronic medical record to measure rehabilitation outcomes for stroke patients.
$999,852 to study the management and outcomes of heart failure.
$980,000 to study the effectiveness of immediate versus delayed use of metformin in new-onset of type-2 diabetes.
$999,370 to establish the Kaiser Permanente Autoimmune Disease Registry.
$997,453 to study the cost effectiveness of hormonal therapy for clinically localized prostate cancer.
$402,527 to extend an investigation of biologic markers for autism.
$496,680 to improve understanding of the behavioral and social factors that impact adherence to diabetes care.
$441,521 to better understand how comprehensive HIV services provided by a multidisciplinary care team may influence how well patients follow treatment recommendations.
$102,277 to study the epidemiology, care and outcomes of patients with chronic renal insufficiency.
$92,772 to study lactation and glucose tolerance after a pregnancy with gestational diabetes.

Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research – Northwest
$3,925,824 for comparative effectiveness research in genomic and personalized medicine for colon cancer.
$996,603 to analyze five years of follow-up of data from a weight loss maintenance trial.
$343,694 to compare the costs of cancer diagnosis and treatment in managed care vs fee-for-services systems.
$316,000 to study what factors predict successful aging in elderly women.
$99,971 to study how to use natural language processing to more accurately extract data from the electronic medical record.

Kaiser Permanente-Colorado Institute for Health Research
$184,501 for the Clinical Communication Research Center.

Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research Georgia
$339,604 to study how psychosocial stress decreases patient adherence to recommended care which may increase the risk of poor metabolic control and subsequent onset of chronic disease and obesity.

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