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

Adami G, Saag KG, Mudano AS, Rahn EJ, Wright NC, Outman RC, Greenspan SL, LaCroix AZ, Nieves JW, Silverman SL, Siris ES, Watts NB, Miller MJ, Ladores S, Curtis JR, Danila MI. Factors associated with the contemplative stage of readiness to initiate osteoporosis treatment. Osteoporos Int. 2020 Feb 4. pii: 10.1007/s00198-020-05312-4. doi: 10.1007/s00198-020-05312-4. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Reed SD, LaCroix AZ, Anderson GL, Ensrud KE, Caan B, Carpenter JS, Cohen L, Diem SJ, Freeman EW, Joffe H, Larson JC, McCurry SM, Mitchell CM, Newton KM, Sternfeld B, Guthrie KA. Lights on MsFLASH: a review of contributions. LID - 10.1097/GME.0000000000001461 [doi] Menopause. 2020 Jan 20. doi: 10.1097/GME.0000000000001461 [Epub ahead of print] PubMed

Gibson CJ, Huang AJ, Larson JC, Mitchell C, Diem S, LaCroix A, Newton KM, Reed SD, Guthrie KA. Patient-centered change in the day-to-day impact of postmenopausal vaginal symptoms: results from a multicenter randomized trial. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2020 Jan 15. pii: S0002-9378(20)30015-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2019.12.270. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Phelan EA, Rillamas-Sun E, Johnson L, LaMonte MJ, Buchner DM, LaCroix AZ, Anderson GL. Determinants, circumstances and consequences of injurious falls among older women living in the community. Inj Prev. 2020 Jan 15. pii: injuryprev-2019-043499. doi: 10.1136/injuryprev-2019-043499. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Cavanaugh AM, Rauh MJ, Thompson CA, Alcaraz JE, Bird CE, Gilmer TP, LaCroix AZ. Rehabilitation after total knee arthroplasty: do racial disparities exist? J Arthroplasty. 2019 Nov 2. pii: S0883-5403(19)31025-3. doi: 10.1016/j.arth.2019.10.048. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

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

 

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.