Denise Boudreau, PhD

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

Denise Boudreau, PhD

Group Health Research Institute Senior Investigator


Pharmaco-epidemiologist Denise Boudreau plays an integral role in Group Health Research Institute (GHRI) 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 GHRI 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 Group Health 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 HMO 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

Calip GS, Malone KE, Gralow JR, Stergachis A, Hubbard RA, Boudreau DM.

Metabolic syndrome and outcomes following early-stage breast cancer.

2014 Nov;148(2):363-77. doi: 10.1007/s10549-014-3157-6. Epub 2014 Oct 10. PubMed

Boudreau DM, Guzauskas GF, Chen E, Lalla D, Tayama D, Fagan SC, Veenstra DL.

Cost-effectiveness of recombinant tissue-type plasminogen activator within 3 hours of acute ischemic stroke: current evidence.

Stroke. 2014;45(10):3032-9. doi: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.114.005852. Epub 2014 Sep 4. PubMed

Wu JW, Boudreau DM, Park Y, Simonds NI, Freedman AN.

Commonly used diabetes and cardiovascular medications and cancer recurrence and cancer-specific mortality: a review of the literature.

Expert Opin Drug Saf. 2014;13(8):1071-99. doi: 10.1517/14740338.2014.926887. Epub 2014 Jul 5. PubMed

Calip GS, Hubbard RA, Stergachis A, Malone KE, Gralow JR, Boudreau DM.

Adherence to oral diabetes medications and glycemic control during and following breast cancer treatment.

Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf. 2014 Jun 13. doi: 10.1002/pds.3660 [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Raebel MA, Newcomer SR, Bayliss EA, Boudreau D, Debar L, Elliott TE, Ahmed AT, Pawloski PA, Fisher D, Toh S, Donahoo WT.

Chronic opioid use emerging after bariatric surgery.

Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf. 2014 Apr 14. doi: 10.1002/pds.3625 [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed