Susan Shortreed, PhD


“By using rich data sources such as electronic health records, we can begin to identify which treatments will work best for which people.”

Susan M. Shortreed, PhD

Senior Biostatistics Investigator, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute
Affiliate Professor, Department of Biostatistics, University of Washington


Susan Shortreed, PhD, uses statistics and machine learning methods to address health science problems, with a special emphasis on analyzing complex longitudinal data. She develops and evaluates statistical approaches for observational data, and works to improve the design and analyses of studies that use data collected from electronic health care records. She is leading a project to develop statistical methods for constructing personalized treatment strategies using data captured from electronic health records.

Dr. Shortreed earned her PhD in statistics from the University of Washington. Then she spent two years in the Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, and two years in the School of Computer Science at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. Dr. Shortreed has collaborated with scientists in a broad range of areas including alcohol use, cancer screening, and medication safety. She now works alongside researchers in mental and behavioral health, evaluating and comparing treatments for chronic pain and depression, and interventions to prevent suicide. Dr. Shortreed is an investigator with the Mental Health Research Network, designing studies to address important public health concerns, such as determining which antidepressant medications work best for which patients and developing risk prediction algorithms to identify individuals who may be at increased risk for suicidal behavior.

Dr. Shortreed is also an affiliate professor of biostatistics at the University of Washington School of Public Health. She served on the executive board for the American Statistical Association’s Section on Statistics in Epidemiology and the editorial board of the Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, Series C: Applied Statistics.

Research interests and experience

  • Biostatistics

    Design and analysis of studies that use data collected from electronic health records; analysis of complex longitudinal data; methods for constructing personalized treatment strategies, computational statistics and algorithms; machine learning; variable selection methods.

    Medication Use & Patient Safety

    Biostatistics; machine learning; using data collected from electronic health records to study rare adverse events; opioid safety; medication safety in pregnancy.

  • Mental Health

    Biostatistics; treatment for chronic depression; suicide prevention; developing personalized treatment strategies; developing risk prediction models.

Recent publications

Shortreed SM, Laber E, Lizotte DJ, Stroup TS, Pineau J, Murphy SA. Informing sequential clinical decision-making through reinforcement learning: an empirical study.  Mach Learn. 2011;84(1-2):109-136. PubMed

Abdullah A, Stoelwinder J, Shortreed S, Wolfe R, Stevenson C, Walls H, de Courten M, Peeters A. The duration of obesity and the risk of type 2 diabetes. Public Health Nutr. 2011 Jan;14(1):119-26. Epub 2010 Jun 29. PubMed

Urquhart DM, Shortreed S, Davis SR, Cicuttini FM, Bell RJ. Are low levels of low back pain intensity and disability associated with reduced well-being in community-based women? Climacteric. 2009 Jun;12(3):266-75. PubMed

Shortreed SM, Forbes AB. Missing data in the exposure of interest and marginal structural models: a simulation study based on the Framingham Heart Study. Stat Med. 2010 Feb 20;29(4):431-43. PubMed

Brennan SL, Cicuttini FM, Shortreed S, Forbes A, Jones G, Stuckey SL, Wluka AE. Women lose patella cartilage at a faster rate than men: a 4.5 year cohort study of subjects with knee OA. Maturitas. 2010 Nov;67(3):270-4. Epub 2010 Aug 12. PubMed

Botlero R, Davis SR, Urquhart DM, Shortreed S, Bell RJ. Age-specific prevalence of, and factors associated with, different types of urinary incontinence in community-dwelling Australian women assessed with a validated questionnaire. Maturitas. 2009 Feb 20;62(2):134-9. Epub 2009 Jan 31. PubMed

Magliano DJ, Shaw JE, Shortreed SM, Nusselder WJ, Liew D, Barr EL, Zimmet PZ, Peeters A. Lifetime risk and projected population prevalence of diabetes. Diabetologia. 2008 Dec;51(12):2179-86. Epub 2008 Sep 23. PubMed

Shortreed S, Forbes A. Inverse probability weighted estimation of the marginal odds ratio: correspondence regarding `The performance of different propensity score methods for estimating marginal odds ratios.' Stat Med. 2008 Nov 20;27(26):5556-9;

Shortreed SM, Peeters P, Forbes A. Estimating the reduction in cardiovascular disease mortality risk. Abstract in Proceedings of the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions, 2008. Oral presentation at American Heart Association Scientific Sessions Conference, 11/08.

Shortreed S, Handcock M, Hoff P. Positional estimation within the latent space model for networks. Methodology. 2006;2(1):24-33.




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