The New Faces Of Research

The New Faces of Research

Research priorities and postdoctoral education strengthened by new class of research fellows 

By Jon Weiner

Diabetes, medication safety, and understanding chronic conditions are just some of the research areas a new class of postdoctoral fellows at the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research will support. The 3 early-career researchers began their appointments this past year and represent diverse communities spanning California, Texas, and Georgia. They have diverse personal interests as well, including a love of cooking, traveling, and learning new skills. And, all came to the Division of Research for its seminal work in understanding the health care challenges of society.

Meet some of the new faces that will be changing how patients are cared for in the future. We asked all 3 the same set of questions.

Jessica Poon, PhD

Please tell us where you came from, most recently, and why you chose the Division of Research to continue your work.

I recently graduated from the School of Public Health at UC Berkeley. During the work on my dissertation, “Multilevel Pathways to Patient-Centered Care,” I became interested in using a complex adaptive systems framework to study health care delivery. Kaiser Permanente was a perfect fit for this work, given the very strong culture here.

What sorts of activities do you like to do outside of work?

Outside of my work, I love cooking for friends and family, hiking, and singing (not well, but loud!).

Five to 10 years from now, where do you see yourself, and what kind of research would you like to be doing?

In the future, I see myself in a translational role, bridging research and operations, studying the intersection of mental and physical health, and supporting the growth of learning health systems.

 

Tainayah Thomas, PhD

(Pr: Tuh-Nay-Yuh)

Please tell us where you came from, most recently, and why you chose the Division of Research to continue your work.

I recently completed my doctorate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. One of my dissertation aims was based on a KPDOR research study led by Julie Schmittdiel. I reached out to her for guidance and her collaborative and enthusiastic response led me to apply for a fellowship position here so that I could work with her more formally.

What sorts of activities do you like to do outside of work?

I enjoy international travel, cooking, attending live music events, and spending time with family.  

Five to 10 years from now, where do you see yourself, and what kind of research would you like to be doing?

Five to 10 years from now, I plan to lead a division, unit, or training center, related to health services research, implementation science, or diabetes research and to continue to conduct diabetes and management translational research.

 

Joshua Smith, PharmD

Please tell us where you came from, most recently, and why you chose the Division of Research to continue your work.

During my medication safety residency at Kaiser Permanente Northern California (Oakland), I recognized the value of clinical informatics supported by research methods. I transitioned to KPDOR to develop these skills with the goal of making health care a safer place for our patients.

What sorts of activities do you like to do outside of work?

Outside of work, you are likely to find me daydreaming at a coffee shop, trying to fit in at a Subaru meet, thriving at the gym, learning photography, or conversing over boardgames.

Five to 10 years from now, where do you see yourself, and what kind of research would you like to be doing?

In the future, I see myself working with health care professionals to develop, implement, and analyze innovative improvement projects. Ideally, this would be a hybrid role where I could also maintain patient relationships to better understand our front-line needs and pressures.

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For more on fellowship opportunities at the Division of Research, go here.

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