Katherine M. Newton, PhD

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“The work I do helps women make decisions about managing menopause symptoms.”

Katherine M. Newton, PhD

Senior Investigator (Emeritus), Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute

Biography

Katherine Newton, PhD, is a chronic disease epidemiologist who is passionate about finding ways to help women stay healthy during midlife. Known for her research on menopause, Dr. Newton is a national leader in the search for nonhormonal treatments for menopausal symptoms.

After a 20-year career as a cardiovascular nurse specialist, Dr. Newton pursued her PhD in epidemiology and shifted her focus to epidemiologic research, joining Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (KPWHRI) as a postdoctoral fellow in 1995. Dr. Newton focuses on health concerns for women reaching midlife, especially menopause. Dr. Newton’s current goal is to help women transition through menopause in the healthiest way possible. She is especially interested in investigating ways to relieve menopause symptoms without using hormone replacement therapy.

Dr. Newton’s 2006 randomized trial of alternative therapies for menopause received widespread interest, leading to several invited talks around the world. Study analyses continue to yield compelling findings, including a 2007 publication linking low libido in menopause to trouble sleeping. She is currently participating in a multisite network of investigators, MsFLASH Finding Lasting Answers for Symptoms and Health. This group has conducted 6 randomized trials testing the efficacy of yoga, exercise, omega-3 fatty acids, escitalopram, and low-dose estrogen for menopause symptoms, and a study of telephone-based cognitive behavioral therapy for sleep among women with sleep problems related to menopause.

Dr. Newton is a member of the North American Menopause Society. She held two faculty appointments at the University of Washington: affiliate associate professor in epidemiology and affiliate associate professor in biobehavioral nursing and health systems.

Research interests and experience

Recent publications

Schroeder EB, Powers JD, O'Connor PJ, Nichols GA, Xu S, Desai JR, Karter AJ, Morales LS, Newton KM, Pathak RD, Vazquez-Benitez G, Raebel MA, Butler MG, Lafata JE, Reynolds K, Thomas A, Waitzfelder BE, Steiner JF; SUPREME-DM Study Group. Prevalence of chronic kidney disease among individuals with diabetes in the SUPREME-DM Project, 2005-2011. J Diabetes Complications. 2015 Apr 16. pii: S1056-8727(15)00164-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jdiacomp.2015.04.007. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Schmittdiel JA, Desai J, Schroeder EB, Paolino AR, Nichols GA, Lawrence JM, O'Connor PJ, Ohnsorg KA, Newton KM, Steiner JF. Methods for engaging stakeholders in comparative effectiveness research: a patient-centered approach to improving diabetes care. Healthc (Amst). 2015;3(2):80-8. doi: 10.1016/j.hjdsi.2015.02.005. Epub 2015 Mar 13. PubMed

Hullar MA, Lancaster SM, Li F, Tseng E, Beer K, Atkinson C, Wahala K, Copeland WK, Randolph TW, Newton KM, Lampe JW. Enterolignan producing phenotypes are associated with increased gut microbial diversity and altered composition in premenopausal women in the United States. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2015 Mar;24(3):546-54. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-14-0262. Epub 2014 Dec 26. PubMed

Freeman EW, Ensrud KE, Larson JC, Guthrie KA, Carpenter JS, Joffe H, Newton KM, Sternfeld B, LaCroix AZ. Placebo improvement in pharmacologic treatment of menopausal hot flashes: time course, duration, and predictors. Psychosom Med. 2015 Feb-Mar;77(2):167-75. doi: 10.1097/PSY.0000000000000143.

O'Connor PJ, Schmittdiel JA, Pathak RD, Harris RI, Newton KM. Response to comment on O'Connor et al. Randomized trial of telephone outreach to improve medication adherence and metabolic control in adults with diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2015;38(3):e46. doi: 10.2337/dc14-2928. PubMed

Carpenter JS, Reed SD, Guthrie KA, Larson JC, Newton KM, Lau RJ, Learman LA, Shifren JL. Using an FSDS-R item to screen for sexually related distress: a MsFLASH analysis. Sex Med. 2015;3(1):7-13. doi: 10.1002/sm2.53. PubMed

Vazquez-Benitez GV, Desai JR, Xu S, Goodrich GK, Schroeder EB, Nichols GA, Segal J, Kimes TM, Butler MG, Karter AJ, Steiner JF, Newton KM, Morales LS, Pathak RD, Thomas A, Reynolds K, Kirchner HL, Waitzfelder B, Lafata JE, Adibhatla R, Xu Z, O’Connor PJ. Preventable major cardiovascular events associated with uncontrolled glucose, blood pressure, lipids and active smoking in adults with diabetes with and without cardiovascular disease: a contemporary analysis. Diabetes Care. 2015 Feb 20. pii: dc141877. [Epub ahead of print].

Thacker EL, Jensen PN, Psaty BM, McKnight B, Longstreth WT Jr, Dublin S, Newton KM, Smith NL, Siscovick DS, Heckbert SR. Use of statins and antihypertensive medications in relation to risk of long-standing persistent atrial fibrillation. Ann Pharmacother. 2015;49:378-386. DOI: 10.1177/1060028014568447. PII: 1060028014568447. PubMed

Schroeder EB, Desai J, Schmittdiel JA, Paolino AR, Schneider JL, Goodrich GK, Lawrence JM, Newton KM, Nichols GA, O'Connor PJ, Fitz-Randolph M, Steiner JF. An innovative approach to informing research: gathering perspectives on diabetes care challenges from an online patient community. Interact J Med Res. 2015 Jun 30;4(2):e13. doi: 10.2196/ijmr.3856. PubMed

Nichols GA, Schroeder EB, Karter AJ, Gregg EW, Desai J, Lawrence JM, O'Connor PJ, Xu S, Newton KM, Raebel MA, Pathak RD, Waitzfelder B, Segal J, Lafata JE, Butler MG, Kirchner HL, Thomas A, Steiner JF. Trends in diabetes incidence among 7 million insured adults, 2006-2011: the SUPREME-DM project. Am J Epidemiol. 2015 Jan 1;181(1):32-9. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwu255. Epub 2014 Dec 16. 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.

Live Healthy

Managing menopause symptoms

What are a woman’s options for symptoms like hot flashes, mood changes, or sleep problems? Here’s the evidence about herbs, yoga and more.

Read about it in Live Healthy.

cancer research

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Using breast MRI after cancer may lead to unneeded biopsies

A Kaiser Permanente-led BCSC study is among the largest ever to evaluate adding MRI surveillance for breast cancer survivors.

caregiving

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Training for caregivers of people with dementia: How to scale up

Dr. Rob Penfold leads pragmatic trial of new online version of proven program developed by UW colleagues.