Women's Health

“Shining a light on sex-based differences can result in better health and health care for everybody. We continually ask: ‘How do health care and policy need to be designed to meet men and women’s unique differences?’”

Katherine M. Newton, PhD
Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute Senior Investigator (Emeritus)

Research overview

Women are most of the world’s population, but for many years, much health research has focused on men. Women face unique health choices about birth control and pregnancy, cancer screening, preventing osteoporosis, and treating menopause symptoms. Studies by Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (KPWHRI) investigators are helping women make the best decisions for a long and healthy life.

“We’re studying all the major health experiences and conditions of women’s lives,” said Katherine M. Newton, PhD, KPWHRI senior investigator and director of Research & External Affairs. In addition to studying “equal-opportunity” conditions such as heart disease, which are common in men and women, Kaiser Permanente Washington  investigators study women’s health issues such as:

  • Breast and cervical cancer screening and treatment;
  • Osteoporosis and bone health;
  • Contraception and pregnancy;
  • Reproductive health, including sexually transmitted diseases;
  • Urinary tract infections; and
  • Menopause symptoms and treatments.

Results from KPWHRI studies improve care locally and globally. Work by Delia Scholes, PhD, senior investigator, has contributed to broadly adopted public health policies such as Chlamydia screening to reduce pelvic inflammatory disease and contraceptive guidelines from the World Health Organization. “It’s been wonderful to find that what we are learning at Kaiser Permanente Washington can be part of improved health care for women everywhere,” Dr. Scholes said.

Since 2007, KPWHRI has hosted postdoctoral researchers in women’s health through a T32 Training Award called “Health Care Improvement for Aging Women” from the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Andrea LaCroix, PhD, senior investigator, is the principal investigator and program director. Drs. Newton and Scholes are co-directors.

Recent publications on Women's Health

Papas BA, Shaikh N, Watson K, Sucato GS. Contraceptive counseling among pediatric primary care providers in Western Pennsylvania: a survey-based study. SAGE Open Med. 2017 Sep 6;5:2050312117730244. doi: 10.1177/2050312117730244. eCollection 2017. PubMed

Brandzel SD, Aiello Bowles EJ, Wieneke A, Bradford SC, Kimbel K, Goa H, Buist DSM. Cancer screening reminders: addressing the spectrum of patient preferences. Perm J. 2017;21. doi: 10.7812/TPP/17-051. PubMed

Kerlikowske K, Ma L, Scott CG, Mahmoudzadeh AP, Jensen MR, Sprague BL, Henderson LM, Pankratz VS, Cummings SR, Miglioretti DL, Vachon CM, Shepherd JA. Combining quantitative and qualitative breast density measures to assess breast cancer risk. Breast Cancer Res. 2017;19(1):97. doi: 10.1186/s13058-017-0887-5. PubMed

Lee JM, Miglioretti DL, Burnside ES, Morris EA, Smith RA, Lehman CD. Mammography performance benchmarks in an era of value-based care. Radiology. 2017;284(2):605-607. doi: 10.1148/radiol.2017170638. PubMed

Buchner DM, Rillamas-Sun E, Di C, LaMonte MJ, Marshall SW, Hunt J, Zhang Y, Rosenberg DE, Lee IM, Evenson KR, Herring AH, Lewis CE, Stefanick ML, LaCroix AZ. Accelerometer-measured moderate to vigorous physical activity and incidence rates of falls in older women. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2017 Jul 29. doi: 10.1111/jgs.14960. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Researchers in Women's Health

Katherine M. Newton, PhD

Senior Investigator (Emeritus)
206-287-2973
Katherine.M.Newton@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Andrea Z. LaCroix, PhD

Senior Investigator, KPWHRI; Professor and Chief of Epidemiology, Department of Family Medicine and Public Health, University of California, San Diego
858-822-1073
Alacroix@ucsd.edu

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Diana S. Buist, PhD, MPH

Director of Research and Strategic Partnerships; Senior Investigator
206-287-2931
Diana.S.Buist@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Diana L. Miglioretti, PhD

Senior Investigator, KPWHRI; Dean’s Professor of Biostatistics, University of California, Davis
206-287-4266
dmiglioretti@ucdavis.edu

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Karen J. Sherman, PhD

Senior Investigator
206-287-2426
Karen.J.Sherman@kp.org

Sascha Dublin, MD, PhD

Senior Investigator
206-287-2870
Sascha.Dublin@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Karen Wernli, PhD

Associate Investigator
206-287-2934
Karen.J.Wernli@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Erin J. Bowles, MPH

Research Associate
206-287-2708
Erin.A.Bowles@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Laura E. Ichikawa, MPH

Senior Biostatistician
206-287-2395
Laura.E.Ichikawa@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Jennifer F. Bobb, PhD

Assistant Investigator
206-287-2190
Jennifer.F.Bobb@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Gaia Pocobelli, PhD

Research Associate
206-287-2914
Gaia.S.Pocobelli@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Laura Harrington, PhD, MPH

Assistant Investigator
206-287-2066
Laura.B.Harrington@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Affiliate researchers

Amy Bonomi, PhD, MPH
The Ohio State University Department of Human Development and Family Science

Linda LeResche, ScD
University of Washington (UW) Department of Oral Medicine

Susan D. Reed, MD, MPH
Harborview Medical Center; UW Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology

Rachel Winer, PhD, MPH
Fred Hutchinson/UW Cancer Consortium; UW Department of Epidemiology