Denise Boudreau, PhD

“The research I do helps people make more informed decisions about the medications they take.”

Denise Boudreau, PhD

Senior Investigator, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute


Pharmaco-epidemiologist Denise Boudreau plays an integral role in Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (KPWHRI) investigations into medication safety and cost-effectiveness of pharmaceuticals. Known at the Institute for her expertise in pharmaco-epidemiologic methods, she has diverse experience spanning pharmacies, classrooms, and research institutions.

Dr. Boudreau worked as a pharmacist and research associate for six years before earning her PhD from the Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Research Policy Program at the University of Washington (UW) in 2002. She began her career at KPWHRI in 2003 as a research associate and was promoted to investigator just two years later. Dr. Boudreau is an associate affiliate professor in the UW School of Pharmacy and has co-led their pharmaco-epidemiology course since 2008. She also serves on several student thesis and dissertation committees.

Dr. Boudreau is adept at working with automated health plan data and has expertise in observational study design, managed care, drug safety, and economic evaluation. She brings an in-depth working knowledge of Kaiser Permanente Washington pharmacy data and practices to her research, which ranges from cancer to cardiovascular disease to opioid use. The principal investigator on several studies looking at the link between prescription medications and both cancer risk and outcomes—such as news-making statins—her latest project explores the influence of commonly used medications such as statins and chronic antibiotic use on breast cancer outcomes.

Among her newest areas of interest is opioid use and misuse—including investigating trends and risks of long-term use to manage chronic pain. She has been the Health Care Systems Research Network Steering Committee Representative for the Food and Drug Administration Mini Sentinel Initiative for the past four years and is extensively involved in developing both the data and methods for signal detection of adverse events. Dr. Boudreau is also an expert at pharmaco-economic studies—looking, for example, at the costs and effects of using medications on biologic and screening endpoints for breast cancer and the economic burden of risk factors for metabolic syndrome.

Dr. Boudreau's research has been exhibited internationally at conferences such as the International Society for Pharmacoepidemiology, the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research, and the Congress of Epidemiology. Her professional memberships include the International Society for Pharmacoepidemiology and the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research. She retains her pharmacy license in Washington and Rhode Island.

Research interests and experience

  • Medication Use & Patient Safety

    General drug safety research; pharmaco-epidemiology; observational study research methods; active surveillance on the safety of pharmaceuticals; validation of pharmacy data sources; pharmacy practice research

  • Health Services & Economics

    Pharmaceutical outcomes research; cost-effectiveness analysis; impact of benefit designs on clinical and economic endpoints; burden of illness

  • Cancer

    Clinical and biologic effect of commonly used medications on cancer risk and outcomes; cost-effectiveness of chemotherapy

Recent publications

Wirtz HS, Calip GS, Buist DS, Gralow JR, Barlow WE, Gray S, Boudreau DM. Evidence for detection bias by medication use in a cohort study of breast cancer survivors. Am J Epidemiol. 2017 Mar 1:1-12. doi: 10.1093/aje/kww242. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Raebel MA, Zeng C, Cheetham TC, Smith DH, Feigelson HS, Carroll NM, Goddard K, Tavel HM, Boudreau DM, Shetterly S, Xu S. Risk of breast cancer with long-term use of calcium channel blockers or angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors among older women. Am J Epidemiol. 2017;185(4):264-273. doi: 10.1093/aje/kww217. PubMed

Babigumira JB, Li M, Boudreau DM, Best JH, Garrison LP Jr. Estimating the cost of illness of giant cell arteritis in the United States. Rheumatol Ther. 2017 Jan 13. doi: 10.1007/s40744-017-0052-8. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Veenstra DL, Guzauskas GF, Villa KF, Boudreau DM. The budget impact and cost-effectiveness of defibrotide for treatment of veno-occlusive disease with multi-organ dysfunction in patients post-hematopoietic stem cell transplant. J Med Econ. 2017 Jan 7:1-11. doi: 10.1080/13696998.2016.1275652. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Calip GS, Elmore JG, Boudreau DM. Characteristics associated with nonadherence to medications for hypertension, diabetes, and dyslipidemia among breast cancer survivors. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2016 Nov 8. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed


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