Erin Bowles, MPH

“At GHRI, we have access to extensive data on cancer care. I'm using the data to learn how to improve the experiences of cancer patients and their families.”

Erin Bowles, MPH

Group Health Research Institute Research Associate


Epidemiologist Erin Bowles is looking at cancer and aging from many different perspectives. Her research brings new insight into breast cancer risk factors and treatment, while also helping improve cancer care for patients and families.

As a key member of two large cancer collaborations—the National Cancer Institute (NCI)'s Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium and the HMO Cancer Research Network (CRN)—Ms.Bowles has developed diverse expertise that includes reading mammograms for breast density and doing statistical analyses. Her past work with Group Health Research Institute (GHRI) investigators Diana Buist, PhD, and Diana Miglioretti, PhD, confirmed that breast density is a key breast cancer risk factor. Her work with Ed Wagner, MD, MPH, resulted in a key publication showing that certain breast cancer treatments increase the risk of heart failure beyond what had been shown in clinical trials. Ms. Bowles is also passionate about doing research to help improve the quality of cancer care. She and CRN colleagues were funded through an NCI challenge grant to develop a national breast cancer surgical quality database and evaluate variation in surgical margins across facilities and providers.

Ms. Bowles' experience working with large cancer cohorts has provided her with expertise in data collection and management. She has worked with natural language processing programmers to successfully obtain findings from breast pathology and radiology reports. She has worked extensively with administrative data and published several papers on the validity of using health plan data for cancer treatment research. Recently she joined the Adult Changes in Thought study team, and is overseeing their large data repository and data sharing for aging research. She is especially interested in enhancing the efficiency of data collection on these large projects, which has been increasingly important in an era of limited funding.

Research interests and experience

  • Cancer

    Breast cancer; colorectal cancer; biostatistics; epidemiology; mammography; mammographic breast density; cancer treatment; cancer screening and surveillance; automated data collection; quality of care; medication use; natural language processing; care coordination; administrative data

  • Health Services & Economics

    Access to care; health disparities; health outcomes research; quality of life; measurement of change in health care systems; practice variation

  • Women's Health

    Menopause; hormone replacement therapy (HRT); breast cancer

  • Aging & Geriatrics

    Cognitive health and dementia; biostatistics; epidemiology; medication use




Recent publications on Aging & Geriatrics

Jones SM, Ludman EJ, McCorkle R, Reid R, Bowles EJ, Penfold R, Wagner EH.

A differential item function analysis of somatic symptoms of depression in people with cancer.

J Affect Disord. 2014 Sep 10;170C:131-137. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2014.09.002 [Epub ahead of print] PubMed

Ritzwoller DP, Carroll NM, Delate T, Hornbrook MC, Kushi L, Aiello Bowles EJ, Loggers ET, Menter A.

Comparative effectiveness of adjunctive bevacizumab for advanced lung cancer: the Cancer Research Network experience.

J Thorac Oncol. 2014 2014 May;9(5):692-701. doi: 10.1097/JTO.0000000000000127. PubMed

Boudreau DM, Yu O, Chubak J, Wirtz HS, Bowles EJ, Fujii M, Buist DS.

Comparative safety of cardiovascular medication use and breast cancer outcomes among women with early stage breast cancer.

Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2014 Apr;144(2):405-16. doi: 10.1007/s10549-014-2870-5. Epub 2014 Feb 21. PubMed

Aiello Bowles EJ, Wernli KJ, Gray HJ, Bogart A, Delate T, O’Keefe-Rosetti M, Nekhylyudov L, Trice Loggers E.

Diffusion of intraperitoneal chemotherapy in women with advanced ovarian cancer in community settings 2003-2008: the effect of the NCI clinical recommendation.

Front Oncol. 2014 Mar 10;4:43. doi: 10.3389/fonc.2014.00043. eCollection 2014. PubMed

Wirtz HS, Boudreau DM, Gralow JR, Barlow WE, Gray S, Bowles EJ, Buist DS.

Factors associated with long-term adherence to annual surveillance mammography among breast cancer survivors.

Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2014 Jan 10 [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Chubak J, Aiello Bowles EJ, Tuzzio L, Ludman E, Rutter CM, Reid RJ, Wagner EH.

Perspectives of cancer survivors on the role of different healthcare providers in an integrated delivery system.

J Cancer Surviv. 2014 Jun;8(2):229-38. doi: 10.1007/s11764-013-0335-1. Epub 2013 Dec 19. PubMed