Core and Affiliated Investigators

Investigators who do not have an administrative appointment with ORPRN and who partner with ORPRN faculty and staff in their research are key to ORPRN’s success. Currently ORPRN partners with investigators in two ways: 

ORPRN Core Investigators are OHSU faculty or research scientists who lead research or quality improvement grants and contracts within ORPRN.  ORPRN Core Investigators:

  • Serve as principal investigators on proposals of interest with ORPRN
  • Develop research in collaboration with ORPRN faculty and staff
  • Participate in conversations to guide ORPRN research areas of focus

ORPRN Affiliated Investigators are OHSU faculty or research scientists or key personnel from other health systems or organizations who are co-investigators or serve other key functions in research or quality improvement grants and contracts within ORPRN.  ORPRN Affiliated Investigators:

  • Serve as co-investigators or key personnel on proposals of interest with ORPRN
  • Collaborate in research development process with ORPRN faculty and staff
  • May participate in conversations to guide ORPRN research areas of focus

ORPRN Core Investigators:

Annette Totten, PhD

Annette Totten DMICE

Annette Totten, PhD,  is an Associate Professor in the OHSU Department of Medical Informatics and Clinical Epidemiology and OHSU-PSU School of Public Health. Dr. Totten holds a PhD in Health Services Research from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, an MPA in Health Policy from the Robert Wagner School of Public Service at New York University and an MA in Modern Languages from Middlebury College. She is a health services researcher and gerontologist, and her research focuses on aging, chronic illness, shared decision making, evidence-based practice and research methodology.

David Dorr, MD

Portrait photo of David Dorr

David Dorr, MD, is a Professor and Vice-Chair of Clinical Informatics within the Department of Medical Informatics and Clinical Epidemiology (DMICE) and Chief Research Information Officer for OHSU. He attended medical school at Washington University and did his residency at OHSU. His work focuses on the needs of vulnerable communities with a sociotechnical and data-driven view; his work with ORPRN has focused on nurse care management, Healthy Hearts Northwest, the integrated care coordination information system, the advance care planning Meta-LARC trial, and the Comprehensive Primary Care (and Plus) projects over the last 10 years. He notes that, “We’ve learned a great deal together about how change can be implemented in ways that improve the quadruple aim (better, more efficient care that improves outcomes for patients and care teams).”

Deb Cohen, PhD

Portrait photo of Deb Cohen

Deb Cohen, PhD, is a Professor and Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Family Medicine. She received her PhD from Rutgers University. She is a qualitative and mixed methodologist who has a deep passion for primary care. Her research has focused on primary care practice transformation dissemination and implementation, health information technology, comprehensive, whole person primary care and clinician-patient communication. She has served as a principal investigator on a collaborative grant with ORPRN called INTEGRATE-D and co-leads the ACTION IV master contract with ORPRN. She believes, “The ORPRN Core Investigator designation [formalizes] the collaboration that we already have established.”

John Muench, MD

John Muench

John Muench, MD, is a Professor in the Department of Family Medicine. He attended medical school at Wayne State and did his residency at West Suburban Hospital. He has been involved in research for around the same time as ORPRN has existed. LJ Fagnan and Bruce Goldberg were his early research mentors. He is most interested in the intersection of primary care and emotional/behavioral healthcare and most of his grant funding addresses forms of addiction prevention and treatment in primary care. He has been a strong advocate of the ORPRN mission since its founding in the early 2000s. He comments, “I believe that we need more research instigated and conducted at the grassroots level, along the “blue highways.” I’ve been long impressed by the relationships ORPRN maintains with clinics, large and small, and with individual family physicians who truly walk the walk of asking hard questions about clinical care.”

Eric Simpson, MD

Portrait photo of Eric Simpson

Eric Simpson, MD, is a Professor of Dermatology at OHSU. He attended the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School and did his residency at OHSU. His work focuses on atopic dermatitis (eczema), a common disease that presents most commonly in the primary care setting. His research aims to find cost-effective methods for preventing eczema and allergies, a goal that resonates with many primary care practitioners and community members in the ORPRN network. He is interested in developing prevention strategies that are feasible to implement in the real-world setting, making ORPRN an excellent fit for a pragmatic trial approach to disease prevention. He believes the quality of the research infrastructure, the clinician investigators, and breadth of the network is unmatched in Oregon and working with ORPRN allowed him to create a team of outstanding study managers, coordinators, and statisticians with an excellent scientific and funding track record, enabling his team to submit several successful NIH proposals.

Bring Your Project to ORPRN

ORPRN Core and Affiliated Investigators will have access to research collaborators at ORPRN.  ORPRN researchers have years of experience working with primary care practices throughout the state, in addition to other partners at the Oregon Health Authority and Coordinated Care Organizations.  ORPRN researchers help facilitate connections and alignment between network partner needs (e.g., primary care practices, community partners, payers) and research or improvement initiatives proposed/conducted in partnership with ORPRN. ORPRN researchers have expertise in pragmatic clinical trials, implementation and dissemination research, community based participatory research, mixed methods research, quality improvement and practice transformation.

If you have research, quality improvement or technical assistance ideas that you feel would be a strong fit with ORPRN’s mission and resources, please contact