David Arterburn, MD, MPH, is a general internist and health services researcher who focuses on finding safe, effective, and innovative ways to treat obesity. As a national leader in obesity research, his goal is to help individuals and families make treatment decisions that align with their values while sustaining their health over the long haul.
Dr. Arterburn's research portfolio includes policy-level interventions for health plans, behavioral and lifestyle interventions for weight loss, pharmaco-epidemiology, the long-term outcomes of bariatric surgery, and shared decision making related to elective surgery. In 2016 he launched a two-year, $4.5 million study comparing the health benefits and safety associated with the three main types of bariatric surgery: Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, and adjustable gastric banding. Funded by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, the study aims to give patients and their health care providers the information they need to decide which type of surgery is best for them. He is also co-leading Kaiser Permanente Washington’s evaluation of a new technology-based lifestyle program to support people after bariatric surgery.
Among Dr. Arterburn’s other recent projects is a large, multi-site study among veterans that showed Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery led to sustained weight loss and better long-term survival than non-surgical treatment. He also recently co-led research at Kaiser Permanente Washington that suggested the antidepressant bupropion was most likely to help people with depression and obesity to control their weight.
Dr. Arterburn has collaborated with Kaiser Permanente Washington's specialty leadership to implement and evaluate shared decision making with patient decision aids to support elective surgical care. The approach has shown great promise for improving the quality of health care while simultaneously lowering the costs of care in some populations.
Dr. Arterburn joined Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in 2006. In recognition of his contributions to science, he has been named a Fellow of the American College of Physicians (FACP) and of The Obesity Society (FTOS). Dr. Arterburn is past chair of the Adult Obesity Measurement Advisory Panel sponsored by the National Committee on Quality Assurance, founding chair of the Obesity Society's Health Services Research Section, and past chair of Health Care Systems Research Network's Obesity Special Interest Group. In 2013 he co-chaired the Symposium on the Long-Term Outcomes of Bariatric Surgery, which was convened by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. He is also an affiliate professor in the University of Washington Department of Medicine.