Rebecca Hubbard, PhD

Associate Investigator


Recent publications

Curriculum vitae (CV)




Research interests and experience

  • Biostatistics: methods for multistate disease processes; hierarchical models; Bayesian methods; methods for longitudinal observational studies
  • Cancer control: biostatistics; breast cancer; colorectal cancer
  • Aging & geriatrics: biostatistics; Alzheimer’s disease; healthy aging
  • Health services & economics: biostatistics; evaluation of screening programs; health outcomes research

Associate Investigator and Biostatistician Rebecca Hubbard leads innovative research to develop statistical approaches for longitudinal observational studies of cancer screening that help people make more informed decisions. Her work addresses important questions about how best to balance benefits and harms of alternative strategies for cancer screening and detection.

Since joining GHRI in 2008, Dr. Hubbard has played an integral role in the Statistical Coordinating Center (SCC) of the Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium (BCSC)—a National Cancer Institute (NCI)-funded network of mammography registries that serves as the nation’s largest longitudinal collection of breast imaging data. She is the principal investigator of the BCSC Data Resource, which provides data and analytic support for researchers worldwide who use BCSC data to answer important questions about breast cancer screening. She also leads all SCC projects that use Medicare data. Collectively, these projects are helping researchers, policymakers, providers, and patients understand the relationship between cancer screening and health care utilization more broadly.

At a time when the nation is grappling with questions about best practices for cancer screening—especially for breast cancer—Dr. Hubbard is also developing new statistical methods for estimating the long-term implications of repeat cancer screening. She used this novel approach in a 2011 breast cancer study that examined false-positive results from screening mammograms for 169,000 women in the BCSC database. Her team found that, on average, more than half of women screened yearly for a decade would have a false-positive result—and that having prior mammograms for comparison cut the odds of a false-positive result in half. Published in the Annals of Internal Medicine (see news release), Dr. Hubbard’s paper was recognized as one of the top 12 publications of 2011 funded by NCI’s Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program.

Among Dr. Hubbard’s other statistical interests are hierarchical models, Bayesian methods, and multistate models including Markov processes. Her other areas of application include colorectal cancer and aging and dementia. Dr. Hubbard serves as a journal referee and belongs to professional organizations including the International Biometric Society and the American Statistical Association (ASA). In 2008, the ASA’s biometrics section gave her the David P. Byar Young Investigator Award. Dr. Hubbard also has a master’s degree in epidemiology and serves as an affiliate assistant professor in biostatistics at the University of Washington.


Recent publications

O'Meara ES, Zhu W, Hubbard RA, Braithwaite D, Kerlikowske K, Dittus KL, Geller B, Wernli KJ, Miglioretti DL. Mammographic screening interval in relation to tumor characteristics and false-positive risk by race/ethnicity and age. Cancer. 2013 Nov 15;119(22):3959–67. [Epub 2013 Aug 26]. PubMed

Dittus K, Geller B, Weaver DL, Kerlikowske K, Zhu W, Hubbard R, Braithwaite D, O'Meara ES, Miglioretti DL. Impact of mammography screening interval on breast cancer diagnosis by menopausal status and BMI. J Gen Intern Med. 2013 Nov;28(11):1454-62. doi:10.1007/s11606-013-2507-0. Epub 2013 Jun 13. PubMed

Dublin S, Anderson ML, Heckbert SR, Hubbard RA, Sonnen JA, Crane PK, Montine TJ, Larson EB. Neuropathologic changes associated with atrial fibrillation in a population-based autopsy cohort. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2013 Sep 28 [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Hubbard RA, Johnson E, Hsia R, Rutter CM. The cumulative risk of false-positive fecal occult blood test after 10 years of colorectal cancer screening. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2013 Sep;22(9):1612-9. doi:10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-13-0254. Epub 2013 Jul 18. PubMed

Roman M, Hubbard RA, Sebuodegard S, Miglioretti DL, Castells X, Hofvind S. The cumulative risk of false-positive results in the Norwegian Breast Cancer Screening Program: updated results. Cancer. 2013 Aug 20. doi: 10.1002/cncr.28320 [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Crane PK, Walker R, Hubbard RA, Li G, Nathan DM, Zheng H, Haneuse S, Craft S, Montine TJ, Kahn SE, McCormick W, McCurry SM, Bowen JD, Larson EB. Glucose levels and risk of dementia. N Engl J Med. 2013;369(6):540-8. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1215740. PubMed

Fenton JJ, Onega T, Zhu W, Balch S, Smith-Bindman R, Henderson L, Sprague BL, Kerlikowske K, Hubbard RA. Validation of a Medicare claims-based algorithm for identifying breast cancers detected at screening mammography. Med Care. 2013 Aug 6 [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Kerlikowske K, Zhu WW, Hubbard R, Gellar B, Dittus K, Braithwaite D, O’Meara E, Wernli KJ, Miglioretti D, for the Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium. Outcomes of screening mammography by frequency, breast density and postmenopausal hormone therapy. JAMA Intern Med. 2013 May 13;173(9):807-16. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.307. Epub 2013 Mar 18. PubMed

Hubbard RA, Zhu W, Horblyuk R, Karliner L, Sprague BL, Henderson L, Lee D, Onega T, Buist DS, Sweet A. Diagnostic imaging and biopsy pathways following abnormal screen-film and digital screening mammography. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2013 Apr;138(3):879-87. doi: 10.1007/s10549-013-2466-5. Epub 2013 Mar 8. PubMed

Simon GE, Peterson D, Hubbard R. Is treatment adherence consistent across time, across different treatments and across diagnoses? Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 2013 Mar-Apr;35(2):195-201. doi: 10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2012.10.001. Epub 2012 Nov 9. PubMed

Goldman LE, Walker R, Hubbard R, Kerlikowske K. Timeliness of abnormal screening and diagnostic mammography follow-up at facilities serving vulnerable women. Med Care. 2013 Apr;51(4):307-14. doi: 10.1097/MLR.0b013e318280f04c. Epub 2013 Jan 25. PubMed

To view more publications, please see Dr. Hubbard's CV.