Research highlights


It's an exciting time in research. At Providence and our affiliates, physicians and scientists work together to create solutions and ensure that patients benefit from the latest advancements in prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

With more than 2,500 ongoing clinical trials and research studies, we have the breadth and depth to not only position ourselves as a research leader, but to make an impact on human health.

Building a legacy together requires a strong research foundation, and this report highlights a recent sampling of work our physicians and clinicians are doing.


For most people – and their loved ones – a cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming. It’s an experience no one wishes to have in their lifetime. During this time, there is a need for trustworthy information, resources and caregivers. Providence partners with patients from diagnosis and treatment, through all the stages of life, ensuring an excellent experience that seeks the best outcomes through research and innovation.

Meet Julie Randall, aka patient 71
When Julie Randall was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic melanoma, she was told her outcome was bleak and to get her affairs in order. Julie ignored that advice and began a search for clinical trials, which eventually brought her to Oregon and the Providence Cancer Center. Julie was a patient from Sydney, Australia who had metastatic melanoma with disease in her liver and lung. She and her husband’s search to learn more led them to a developing drug known as anti-PD-1. It was not available in Australia, so she sought treatment in the U.S., where it was only available via clinical trials.

Learn more about Julie and cancer research highlights ›


Heart and Vascular research at Providence helps patients benefit from the latest advances in diagnosis, treatment and cardiac surgery. Through clinical research trials, patients have access to many new therapies, before they become widely available.

Meet Bill Pike, who is in a clinical trial to study the world’s smallest pacemaker
Bill became the first Providence patient to take part in a clinical trial investigating the world’s smallest pacemaker when he received the device at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center in Oregon at the end of 2014. The Medtronic Micra Transcatheter Pacing System is one-tenth the size of traditional pacemakers – about the size of a large vitamin – and while the trial continues, Bill is doing great.

Learn more about Bill and cardiovascular research highlights ›

Digestive Health

Providence brings together scientists and physicians to work together and ensure that patients benefit from the latest advancements in prevention, diagnosis and treatment for disorders of the digestive tract, which includes the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, colon and rectum, pancreas, liver, gallbladder and biliary system.

Meet Jordan Block, a typical high school kid and athlete, whose potentially serious condition was discovered somewhat by chance
Like a lot of kids his age, Jordan got tired and complained of joint pains, but nothing that couldn’t be explained away as normal for an active teen playing sports.  His father, Richard, took him to an internal medicine physician for a full blood work-up. He never imagined to learn that Jordan has hemochromatosis, a disease characterized by excess accumulation of iron in the liver. If left uncontrolled, hemochromatosis can lead to organ failure and chronic diseases, such as cirrhosis, diabetes and heart disease, in later life.

Learn more about Jordan and digestive health research highlights ›

Kidney and Diabetes

Nephrology is the study of the function and diseases of the kidney and related organs. Diseases of the kidney can impact other organ systems in the body. Research in the field of nephrology varies from investigation of the functioning of specialized kidney cells, to best options for kidney transplant.

Meet Tom Vasseur, diabetic kidney disease patient
Tom Vasseur, a diabetes patient from Spokane, Washington, was scared when first told he had diabetic kidney disease. He knew treatment options for diabetes – watching his diet and exercising more – could help control his diabetes. But with diabetic kidney disease, treatment options were unknown to him.

Learn more about Tom and kidney and diabetes research highlights ›


Providence brings together scientists and physicians to ensure patients benefit from the latest advancements in prevention, diagnosis and treatment for disorders of the musculoskeletal system, which includes back and neck pain, arthritis, tendonitis, electro-diagnostic studies and neuromuscular medicine. Through our commitment to research, Providence partners with patients in their treatment and recovery, providing advanced medical expertise and compassionate care.

Learn more about musculoskeletal research highlights ›


Providence researchers at our neurosciences centers of excellence help patients get advanced medical expertise coupled with compassionate care. Researchers evaluate treatments of the future with clinical trials and research in multiple sclerosis, stroke, Alzheimer's disease, ALS, spine disorders and intracranial hemorrhage. Through clinical trials, patients have access to new drugs and procedures that may improve their care and quality of life.

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Women and Children

To meet the health needs of women and children throughout their lifetime, Providence Health & Services is active in research for Women and Children’s health. The research is done by physicians and scientists currently engaged in building the infrastructure and resources to support a comprehensive program of research in health care issues that most affect women and children.

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Healthcare Intelligence

Healthcare Intelligence calls on a talented team of 80 analysts across Providence and Swedish to harness the power of data from more than 10 primary source systems. By analyzing data and predicting outcomes, Healthcare Intelligence helps keep continuum of care programs, operations and communities running smoothly.

Learn more about healthcare intelligence ›