The field of women’s health cuts across our entire body of research and touches the lives of babies, new mothers, and the elderly.

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Our researchers have helped demonstrate the links between gestational diabetes and childhood obesity and were among the first to document the connection between hormone replacement therapy and breast cancer. Likewise, our foundational investigation of human papillomavirus infection led to the discovery of its link to cervical cancer and, ultimately, to an effective vaccine.

The Center for Health Research was also part of the Women’s Health Initiative, a study of post-menopausal women spanning more than 20 years. It was the largest-ever study of women’s health in the United States. Through our work on this seminal research project, we examined low-fat diets to determine whether they could prevent heart disease and cancers of the breast and colon; the effects of hormone replacement therapy on heart disease; and the effectiveness of calcium and vitamin D in preventing colon cancer.

Featured Study

Study of Osteoporotic Fractures (SOF)

This ongoing, nearly 30-year U.S. multicenter prospective cohort study of 9,704 women ages 65 and older is examining risk factors for osteoporosis as well as characteristics of exceptional aging among post-menopausal women. In the current phase of this study, we are linking the comprehensive SOF database with Medicare claims data to determine if age-related trajectories in cognitive function, physical performance, bone mineral density, and body weight predict phenotypes of optimal aging defined by longevity, lack of disease and disability, and rates of inpatient and residential health care utilization.


Teresa Hillier, MD, MS
Principal Investigator
Funder: National Institute on Aging

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