Andrea Z. LaCroix, PhD

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“The goal of my research is to shift paradigms to improve population health in older Americans.”

Andrea Z. LaCroix, PhD

Senior Investigator, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute
Professor and Chief of Epidemiology, Department of Family Medicine and Public Health, University of California, San Diego
Director of the Women’s Health Center of Excellence, University of California, San Diego

Biography

In addition to her role at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (KPWHRI), Andrea LaCroix, PhD, is a professor and the chief of epidemiology in the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), as well as the director of the UCSD Women’s Health Center of Excellence. Dr. LaCroix is devoted to studying factors associated with healthy aging in older women and men. She has conducted numerous randomized clinical trials and observational studies on the prevention of cancer, fracture, heart disease, and frailty in postmenopausal women. She has also led large, prospective studies of exceptional aging and maintaining physical and cognitive function into later life.

As a senior investigator at KPWHRI, she has collaborated on the Adult Changes in Thought, or ACT cohort study, that has investigated risk factors for cognitive health and dementia for more than 20 years. Dr. LaCroix also led a National Institute on Aging-funded T32 training program entitled “Improving Healthcare for Aging Women” at KPWHRI for 10 years.

Dr. LaCroix received her doctoral degree in epidemiology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1984 and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in cardiovascular disease at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore in 1985. Before coming to Seattle in 1989, Dr. LaCroix was a federal government epidemiologist at the National Center for Health Statistics and then the National Institute on Aging.

Dr. LaCroix was also a co-principal investigator of the Women's Health Initiative Clinical Coordinating Center at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. In that work, she evaluated the long-term effects of hormone therapy and calcium/vitamin D supplementation on chronic disease outcomes including heart disease, cancer, and fracture. She was also co-principal investigator of the Data Coordinating Center for the Menopause Strategies: Finding Lasting Answers for Symptoms and Health (MsFLASH) clinical trials network. MsFLASH was a National Institute on Aging initiative to expedite the testing of new interventions for menopause symptoms.

Dr. LaCroix served on the National Advisory Council on Aging for the National Institute on Aging from 2009–2012. In 2010, she received the McDougall Mentoring award which recognizes and honors Fred Hutch faculty members who demonstrate an outstanding investment in their mentees’ professional development and success as independent researchers or clinical scientists. In 2014, Dr. LaCroix was elected as a member of the American Epidemiological Society. She has authored more than 380 scientific publications and was selected as a Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researcher in 2014 and again by Clarivate in 2018. She is currently serving on the National Institute on Aging’s Board of Scientific Advisors.

Research interests and experience

  • Women's Health

    Menopause; osteoporosis/fracture;  cardiovascular health; disability in older women

  • Aging & Geriatrics

    Disability in older women;  cardiovascular health; menopause; osteoporosis/fracture

  • Medication Use & Patient Safety

     

  • Physical activity and sedentary behaviors for optimizing healthy aging

  • Healthy aging and exceptional longevity

  • Prevention and treatment of osteoporosis, fracture, dementia, heart disease and cancer

Recent publications

Shadyab AH, Manson JE, Li W, Gass M, Brunner RL, Naughton MJ, Cannell B, Howard BV, LaCroix AZ. Associations of parental ages at childbirth with healthy aging among women. Maturitas. 2019;129:6-11. doi: 10.1016/j.maturitas.2019.08.002. Epub 2019 Aug 10. PubMed

Guthrie KA, Caan B, Diem S, Ensrud KE, Greaves SR, Larson JC, Newton KM, Reed SD, LaCroix AZ. Facebook advertising for recruitment of midlife women with bothersome vaginal symptoms: a pilot study. Clin Trials. 2019 May 6:1740774519846862. doi: 10.1177/1740774519846862. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Aiello Bowles EJ, Crane PK, Walker RL, Chubak J, LaCroix AZ, Anderson ML, Rosenberg D, Keene CD, Larson EB. Cognitive resilience to Alzheimer's disease pathology in the human brain.  J Alzheimers Dis. 2019 Mar 18. doi: 10.3233/JAD-180942. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

LaCroix AZ, Bellettiere J, Rillamas-Sun E, Di C, Evenson KR, Lewis CE, Buchner DM, Stefanick ML, Lee IM, Rosenberg DE, LaMonte MJ. Association of light physical activity measured by accelerometry and incidence of coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease in older women. JAMA Netw Open. 2019;2(3):e190419. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.0419. PubMed

Bellettiere J, LaMonte MJ, Evenson KR, Rillamas-Sun E, Kerr J, Lee IM, Di C, Rosenberg DE, Stefanick M, Buchner DM, Hovell MF, LaCroix AZ. Sedentary behavior and cardiovascular disease in older women: the Objective Physical Activity and Cardiovascular Health (OPACH) Study. Circulation. 2019 Feb 19;139(8):1036-1046. doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.118.035312. PubMed

Margolis KL, Buchner DM, LaMonte MJ, Zhang Y, Di C, Rillamas-Sun E, Hunt J, Ikramuddin F, Li W, Marshall S, Rosenberg D, Stefanick ML, Wallace R, LaCroix AZ. Hypertension treatment and control and risk of falls in older women. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2019 Jan 7. doi: 10.1111/jgs.15732. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Thakral M, LaCroix AZ, Molton IR. Sex/gender disparities in health outcomes of individuals with long-term disabling conditions. Rehabil Psychol. 2018 Oct 8. pii: 2018-49528-001. doi: 10.1037/rep0000248. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Mitchell CM, Reed SD, Diem S, Larson JC, Newton KM, Ensrud KE, LaCroix AZ, Caan B, Guthrie KA. Efficacy of vaginal estradiol or vaginal moisturizer vs placebo for treating postmenopausal vulvovaginal symptoms: a randomized clinical trial. JAMA Intern Med. 2018 May 1;178(5):681-690. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2018.0116. PubMed

Harrington LB, Blondon M, Cushman M, Kaunitz AM, Allison MA, Wang L, Sullivan S, Woods NF, LaCroix AZ, Heckbert SR, McKnight B, Rossouw J, Smith NL. Vasomotor symptoms and the risk of incident venous thrombosis in postmenopausal women. J Thromb Haemost. 2018 May;16(5):886-892. doi: 10.1111/jth.13993. Epub 2018 Apr 2. PubMed

Danila MI, Outman RC, Rahn EJ, Mudano AS, Redden DT, Li P, Allison JJ, Anderson FA, Wyman A, Greenspan SL, LaCroix AZ, Nieves JW, Silverman SL, Siris ES, Watts NB, Miller MJ, Curtis JR, Warriner AH, Wright NC, Saag KG. Evaluation of a multi-modal, direct-to-patient educational intervention targeting barriers to osteoporosis: a randomized clinical trial. J Bone Miner Res. 2018 Jan 26. doi: 10.1002/jbmr.3395. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

 

aging & geriatrics

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Study finds various treatments can reduce vaginal discomfort from sex

Dr. Katherine Newton co-wrote JAMA Internal Medicine paper comparing vaginal estrogen, moisturizer, and placebo gel.

aging & geriatrics

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Do drugs cause falls for adults with dementia?

Researchers find a relationship between prescribed central nervous system-active medications and increased risk of falling among older people with dementia.

alzheimer's research

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Eye conditions may help screen for Alzheimer’s disease

Age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma could be new lens on dementia risk.
 

aging & geriatrics

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Personalizing care when life expectancy is short

Dr. Eric B. Larson explores how prevention, testing, and treatment must be tailored to meet the needs of patients in late life.