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

Smith DH, Johnson ES, Boudreau DM, Cassidy-Bushrow AE, Fortmann SP, Greenlee RT, Gurwitz JH, Magid DJ, McNeal CJ, Reynolds K, Steinhubl SR, Thorp M, Tom JO, Vupputuri S, VanWormer JJ, Weinstein J, Yang X, Go AS, Sidney S. Comparative effectiveness of statin therapy in chronic kidney disease and acute myocardial infarction: a retrospective cohort study. Am J Med. 2015 Nov;128(11):1252.e1-1252.e11. doi: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2015.06.030. Epub 2015 Jul 11. PubMed

Chubak J, Bowles EJ, Yu O, Buist DS, Fujii M, Boudreau DM. Breast cancer recurrence in relation in antidepressant use. Cancer Causes Control. 2015 Oct 30. [Epub ahead of print].

Haneuse S, Bogart A, Jazic I, Westbrook EO, Boudreau D, Theis MK, Simon GE, Arterburn D. Learning about missing data mechanisms in electronic health records-based research: a survey-based approach. Epidemiology. 2015 Oct 19. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Hansen RN, Boudreau DM, Ebel BE, Grossman DC, Sullivan SD. Sedative hypnotic medication use and the risk of motor vehicle crash. Am J Public Health. 2015 Aug;105(8):e64-9. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2015.302723. Epub 2015 Jun 11. PubMed

Calip GS, Yu O, Hoskins KF, Boudreau DM. Associations between diabetes medication use and risk of second breast cancer events and mortality. Cancer Causes Control. 2015 May 9. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed


latest news

One antidepressant shown to control weight during 2-year study

Research at Group Health points to bupropion (Wellbutrin) as first choice for overweight and obese patients with depression.

Read it in News and Events.

healthy findings blog

Weight controlled better with bupropion (Wellbutrin) than with other antidepressants

Dr. David Arterburn describes his research on Group Health patients’ weight after 2 years on various antidepressants.

Read it in Healthy Findings.