Paul Ciechanowski, MD, MPH

Founder, Samepage

Associate Professor, University of Washington

From his perspective as a family physician and psychiatrist, “Dr. Paul” (his patients gave up pronouncing “Che-ha-nov-ski” years ago!) approaches behavior change by addressing real world barriers as well as leveraging unique opportunities that arise within healthcare systems. Uniquely positioned as a federally-funded clinical researcher and founder of an educational and consulting company, Dr. Paul focuses on behavior change in three primary ways: 1) through development of practical tools, training and educational materials for improving healthcare communication; 2) by developing evidence-based models of care that integrate care managers into collaborative healthcare teams; and 3) by addressing relationship styles of patients and healthcare providers to ensure optimal development of trust and collaboration in healthcare settings. Benefiting as well from his background in psychoanalysis and public health, Dr. Paul simultaneously approaches behavior change from the “inside-out” and from the “outside-in”.

Dr. Paul is founder and CEO of Samepage (samepagehealth.com) – an educational and consulting company providing online tools, training, educational materials and consulting to improve healthcare communication. The origins of this company grew out of the realization that as healthcare systems increasingly struggle to manage proportionately greater numbers of patients with greater numbers of chronic conditions, opportunities for optimal collaboration, treatment adherence and behavior change are significantly reduced. Furthermore, in rushed clinical settings, patients’ health problems and day-to-day issues are incompletely addressed and recall of healthcare recommendations has been shown to be 50% or less. Samepage solutions such as VisitPrep®, ClinicPrep™ and Ask and Tell Gallery™ are being disseminated throughout various healthcare organizations to help patients and providers “get the most” from relatively brief healthcare visits. Courses for healthcare providers such as “Helping Patients Help Us Help Them” provide healthcare teams a framework for more closely aligning communication and behavior change strategies to fit with patients’ preferred ways of learning.

In his work as Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Washington School of Medicine Dr. Paul is program director of the University of Washington Psychosomatic Medicine Fellowship and is funded on various grants exploring novel models to improve care and behavior change in patients with depression, diabetes, heart disease and epilepsy. He has been funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases to study the impact of the patient-provider relationship on treatment adherence and outcomes in diabetes and other chronic illnesses using attachment theory models. He has also published extensively in developing models for improving care of patients with diabetes and depression and other chronic medical conditions using collaborative care strategies in community settings (Ciechanowski et al., JAMA 2004) and primary care settings (Katon et al., NEJM 2010).

He combines his experience in psychiatry and primary care in his clinical psychiatric work in the Diabetes Care Center at the University of Washington. In addition, he is an affiliate investigator at Group Health Research Institute and a senior investigator with a Center of Emphasis at Harborview Medical Center, known as CHAMMP, which looks at safety net approaches for improving healthcare in addictions, mental illness and medically vulnerable populations. In that role, he is also founder and director of the CHAMMP Training Institute, whose primary mission it is to provide primary care and mental health providers practical, “clinic-ready” training in behavioral issues and behavior change (e.g. motivational interviewing, problem solving strategies, behavioral activation).

Dr. Paul is recipient of the American Psychiatric Institute Research and Education (ASPIRE)/GlaxoSmithKline Health Services Research Early Career Award, the University of Washington General Internal Medicine Outstanding Consultant Award, and the UWMC Service Excellence Award.