Women's Health

“Shining a light on sex-based differences can result in better health and health care for everybody. We continually ask: ‘How do health care and policy need to be designed to meet men and women’s unique differences?’”

Katherine M. Newton, PhD
Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute Senior Investigator (Emeritus)

Research overview

Women are most of the world’s population, but for many years, much health research has focused on men. Women face unique health choices about birth control and pregnancy, cancer screening, preventing osteoporosis, and treating menopause symptoms. Studies by Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (KPWHRI) investigators are helping women make the best decisions for a long and healthy life.

“We’re studying all the major health experiences and conditions of women’s lives,” said Katherine M. Newton, PhD, KPWHRI senior investigator (emeritus). In addition to studying “equal-opportunity” conditions such as heart disease, which are common in men and women, Kaiser Permanente Washington investigators study women’s health issues such as:

  • Breast and cervical cancer screening and treatment;
  • Osteoporosis and bone health;
  • Contraception and pregnancy;
  • Reproductive health, including sexually transmitted diseases;
  • Urinary tract infections; and
  • Menopause symptoms and treatments.

Results from KPWHRI studies improve care locally and globally. Work by Delia Scholes, PhD, senior investigator, has contributed to broadly adopted public health policies such as Chlamydia screening to reduce pelvic inflammatory disease and contraceptive guidelines from the World Health Organization. “It’s been wonderful to find that what we are learning at Kaiser Permanente Washington can be part of improved health care for women everywhere,” Dr. Scholes said.

Since 2007, KPWHRI has hosted postdoctoral researchers in women’s health through a T32 Training Award called “Health Care Improvement for Aging Women” from the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Andrea LaCroix, PhD, senior investigator, is the principal investigator and program director. Drs. Newton and Scholes are co-directors.

Recent publications on Women's Health

Marcum ZA, Vasan S, Tom S, Hart L, Wang Y, Shadyab AH, LaCroix AZ, Gray SL. Self-reported barriers to medication use in older women: findings from the Women's Health Initiative. J Am Pharm Assoc (2003). 2019 Aug 9. pii: S1544-3191(19)30339-5. doi: 10.1016/j.japh.2019.07.003. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Anthony MS, Armstrong MA, Getahun D, Scholes D, Gatz J, Schulze-Rath R, Postlethwaite D, Merchant M, Alabaster AL, Chillemi G, Raine-Bennett T, Xie F, Chiu VY, Im TM, Takhar HS, Fassett M, Grafton J, Cronkite D, Ichikawa L, Reed SD, Hui SL, Ritchey ME, Saltus CW, Andrews EB, Rothman KJ, Asiimwe A, Lynen R, Schoendorf J. Identification and validation of uterine perforation, intrauterine device expulsion, and breastfeeding in four health care systems with electronic health records. Clin Epidemiol. 2019 Jul 23;11:635-643. doi: 10.2147/CLEP.S201044. eCollection 2019. PubMed

Wernli KJ, Brandzel SD, Buist DM, Bush M, DeMartini W, Ichikawa L, Haas C, Henderson LM, Johnson D, Kerlikowske K, McColgin D, Miglioretti DL, Nekhlyudov L, Onega T, Rosenberg DE. Is breast MRI better at finding second breast cancers than mammograms alone for breast cancer survivors? Washington, DC: Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). 2019. https://doi.org/10.25302/5.2019.CE.13046656.

Tchesnokova VL, Rechkina E, Chan D, Haile HG, Larson L, Ferrier K, Schroeder DW, Solyanik T, Shibuya S, Hansen K, Ralston JD, Riddell K, Scholes D, Sokurenko EV. Pandemic uropathogenic fluoroquinolone-resistant Escherichia coli have enhanced ability to persist in the gut and cause bacteriuria in healthy women. Clin Infect Dis. 2019 Jul 4. pii: ciz547. doi: 10.1093/cid/ciz547. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Kwan ML, Miglioretti DL, Marlow EC, Aiello Bowles EJ, Weinmann S, Cheng SY, Deosaransingh KA, Chavan P, Moy LM, Bolch WE, Duncan JR, Greenlee RT, Kushi LH, Pole JD, Rahm AK, Stout NK, Smith-Bindman R. Trends in medical imaging during pregnancy in the United States and Ontario, Canada, 1996 to 2016. JAMA Netw Open. 2019;2(7):e197249. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.7249. PubMed

Researchers in Women's Health

Katherine M. Newton, PhD

Senior Investigator (Emeritus)
206-287-2973
Katherine.M.Newton@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Andrea Z. LaCroix, PhD

Senior Investigator, KPWHRI; Professor and Chief of Epidemiology, Department of Family Medicine and Public Health, University of California, San Diego
858-822-1073
Alacroix@ucsd.edu

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Diana S. Buist, PhD, MPH

Director of Research and Strategic Partnerships; Senior Investigator
206-287-2931
Diana.S.Buist@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Diana L. Miglioretti, PhD

Senior Investigator, KPWHRI; Dean’s Professor of Biostatistics, University of California, Davis
206-287-4266
dmiglioretti@ucdavis.edu

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Karen J. Sherman, PhD

Senior Investigator
206-287-2426
Karen.J.Sherman@kp.org

Sascha Dublin, MD, PhD

Senior Investigator
206-287-2870
Sascha.Dublin@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Karen Wernli, PhD

Associate Investigator
206-287-2934
Karen.J.Wernli@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Erin J. Bowles, MPH

Research Associate
206-287-2708
Erin.A.Bowles@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Laura E. Ichikawa, MPH

Senior Biostatistician
206-287-2395
Laura.E.Ichikawa@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Jennifer F. Bobb, PhD

Assistant Investigator
206-287-2190
Jennifer.F.Bobb@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Gaia Pocobelli, PhD

Research Associate
206-287-2914
Gaia.S.Pocobelli@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Laura Harrington, PhD, MPH

Assistant Investigator
206-287-2066
Laura.B.Harrington@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Affiliate researchers

Amy Bonomi, PhD, MPH
The Ohio State University Department of Human Development and Family Science

Linda LeResche, ScD
University of Washington (UW) Department of Oral Medicine

Susan D. Reed, MD, MPH
Harborview Medical Center; UW Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology

Rachel Winer, PhD, MPH
Fred Hutchinson/UW Cancer Consortium; UW Department of Epidemiology