Julia J. Smith, MS


“I am passionate that data, research, and science are key to improving health, to reimagining the health care experience, and to realizing health equity for all. With innovation and collaboration across disciplines, we have the opportunity to change the health care landscape.”

Julia J. Smith, MS

Senior Collaborative Biostatistician, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute



Julia J. Smith, MS, has a passion for utilizing existing data from electronic health records (EHRs) to illuminate the effectiveness and benefits of treatments and medical modalities, as well as to identify people who may have health care needs that are not being sufficiently addressed.

Ms. Smith came to KPWHRI in 2021, joining projects to validate prediction models, compare suicide risk predictions for those undergoing pharmaceutical treatments, and analyze the impact of an intervention for falls risk. This work is closely aligned with her passion to leverage existing data to identify people who may benefit from intervention or additional awareness and education on health.

Prior to joining KPWHRI, Ms. Smith worked in research at Southcentral Foundation for 13 years with a focus on health care services and mental health research, as well as data management. At SCF, her analyses projects included measuring the impact on quality and health outcomes after a shift to an innovative patient-centered medical home model, assessing patient and provider characteristics associated with completed depression and alcohol screening among primary care patients, performing epidemiologic and biomarker studies of tobacco use, measuring the impact of an intervention developed for people with complex health care needs, creating a registry of fragile pediatric customers for primary care providers, and creating a system to balance primary care provider panels through risk prediction based on EHR data and publicly available social determinants of health (SDoH) variables.

Ms. Smith also spent 2 years with a Pacific Northwest payor in Portland, Oregon, conducting research as well as steering the build of data infrastructure for clinical services and a new technology solution with the goal of creating systems that would easily illuminate clinical effectiveness and quality.

Ms. Smith’s experience in research is built on a foundation in education, teaching, and mentorship that she carries with her through mentoring high school youth in the use of statistics in applied equity research as well as through mentoring professionals in health care services research methods.

Areas of research focus

Recent Publications

Shaw JL, Beans JA, Noonan C, Smith JJ, Mosley M, Lillie KM, Avey JP, Ziebell R, Simon G. Validating a predictive algorithm for suicide risk with Alaska Native populations. Suicide Life Threat Behav. 2022 Mar 15. doi: 10.1111/sltb.12853. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Schaefer KR, Muller CJ, Smith JJ, Avey JP, Shaw JL Using the electronic health record to identify suicide risk factors in an Alaska Native health system. Psychol Serv. 2020 Aug 27. doi: 10.1037/ser0000492. Online ahead of print. PubMed

Smith JJ, Qiu Y, Lam SV, Lockwood CM, Pegus C, Gleason PP. Medical costs and health care utilization among self-insured members with carve-in versus carve-out pharmacy benefits. J Manag Care Spec Pharm. 2020 Jun;26(6):766-774. doi: 10.18553/jmcp.2020.19411. Epub 2020 Mar 10. PubMed

Schaefer KR, Noonan C, Mosley M, Smith JJ, Galbreath D, Fenn D, Robinson RF, Manson SM Differences in service utilization at an urban tribal health organization before and after Alzheimer's disease or related dementia diagnosis: a cohort study. Alzheimers Dement. 2019 Nov;15(11):1412-1419. doi: 10.1016/j.jalz.2019.06.4945. Epub 2019 Sep 25. PubMed

Avey JP, Dirks LG, Dillard DA, Manson SM, Merrick M, Smith JJ, Prickette GC, Tetpon S, Galbreath D, Triplett B, Robinson RF. Depression management interests among Alaska Native and American Indian adults in primary care. J Affect Disord. 2018 Oct 15;239:214-219. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2018.05.075. Epub 2018 Jun 7. PubMed


mental health


$10 million to expand Mental Health Research Network

NIMH funding will enable the MHRN to conduct larger studies in integrated health systems on topics that matter most.

aging & geriatrics


Do drugs cause falls for adults with dementia?

Researchers find a relationship between prescribed central nervous system-active medications and increased risk of falling among older people with dementia.