Diana S.M. Buist, PhD, MPH

“My research goal is to gather solid evidence and to use it to improve patient care by increasing benefits and decreasing harms.”

Diana S.M. Buist, PhD, MPH

Group Health Research Institute Senior Investigator


What does optimal outreach, early detection, and preventive care for breast cancer look like? As a key member of two large research consortia focused on improving cancer screening and outcomes, Diana Buist is in a prime position to help answer this important question.

Dr. Buist is an epidemiologist and health services researcher whose work focuses primarily on early detection of breast cancer and reducing illness and death from breast cancer in populations. She is especially interested in translating research findings into clinically meaningful guidelines. Dr. Buist joined Group Health Research Institute (GHRI) in 1996 and within a few years became the Principal Investigator of the Group Health Breast Cancer Surveillance Project, one of seven sites participating in the National Cancer Institute's Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium. She has also played a key role in several collaborative projects conducted by the HMO Cancer Research Network.

Her extensive experience working with these diverse data in longitudinal studies and randomized trials puts Dr. Buist in a unique position to examine cancer screening, care, and outcomes in health systems across the country. Because of her particular expertise in this area, she recently became a member of the Group Health-affiliated Evidence-based Practice Center—one of 11 centers funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality in 2012. Her role will include conducting systematic reviews for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

Dr. Buist is an affiliate investigator at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and an affiliate professor in the Departments of Epidemiology and Health Services at the University of Washington School of Public Health. She is also a senior scholar in residence at AcademyHealth. She enjoys sharing her expertise by mentoring junior faculty and PhD and MPH candidates, co-directing the CRN Scholars Program, and teaching courses in clinical outcomes research internationally through the American Thoracic Society.


  • Cancer

    Cancer screening and prevention; outreach and primary care prevention; comparative effectiveness; cost transparency; surveillance; secondary prevention; breast cancer treatment; breast cancer screening; outcomes following cancer diagnosis; cancer survivorship; provider variability in care

  • Preventive Medicine

    Cancer prevention and control; quality of care; preventive care; high-value care; consumer engagement in preventive medicine; systematic reviews

  • Women's Health

    Cancer prevention and control

  • Health Services & Economics


Recent publications on Aging & Geriatrics

Chubak J, Onega T, Zhu W, Buist DS, Hubbard RA.

An electronic health record-based algorithm to ascertain the date of second breast cancer events.

Med Care. 2015 Apr 3. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Gao H, Aiello Bowles EJ, Carrell D, Buist DS.

Using natural language processing to extract mammographic findings.

J Biomed Inform. 2015 Feb 3. pii: S1532-0464(15)00012-X. doi: 10.1016/j.jbi.2015.01.010. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Allison KH, Abraham LA, Weaver DL, Tosteson AN, Nelson HD, Onega T, Geller BM, Kerlikowske K, Carney PA, Ichikawa LE, Buist DS, Elmore JG.

Trends in breast biopsy pathology diagnoses among women undergoing mammography in the United States: a report from the Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium.

Cancer. 2015 Jan 20. doi: 10.1002/cncr.29199. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Owens CL, Buist DS, Peterson D, Kamineni A, Weinmann S, Ross T, Williams AE, Stark A, Adams KF, Doubeni CA, Field TS.

Follow-up and clinical significance of unsatisfactory liquid-based Papanicolaou tests.

Cancer Cytopathol. 2014 Oct 23. doi: 10.1002/cncy.21490 [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Beaber EF, Buist DS, Barlow WE, Malone KE, Reed SD, Li CI.

Recent oral contraceptive use by formulation and breast cancer risk among women 20 to 49 years of age.

Cancer Res. 2014;74(15):4078-89. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-13-3400. PubMed

Andersen MR, Thorpe J, Buist DS, Beatty JD, Watabayashi K, Hanson N, Resta R, Chubak J, Urban N.

Cancer risk awareness and concern among women with a family history of breast or ovarian cancer.

Behav Med. 2014 Jul 25:0 [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Jordan JH, Thwin SS, Lash TL, Buist DS, Field TS, Haque R, Pawloski PA, Petersen HV, Prout MN, Quinn VP, Yood MU, Silliman RA, Geiger AM.

Incident comorbidities and all-cause mortality among 5-year survivors of stage I and II breast cancer diagnosed at age 65 or older: a prospective-matched cohort study.

Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2014;146(2):401-9. doi: 10.1007/s10549-014-3021-8. Epub 2014 Jun 18. PubMed

Buist DS, Anderson ML, Smith RA, Carney PA, Miglioretti DL, Monsees BS, Sickles EA, Taplin SH, Geller BM, Yankaskas BC, Onega TL.

Effect of radiologists' diagnostic work-up volume on interpretive performance.

Radiology. 2014 Jun 24:132806 [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Geller BM, Bogart A, Carney PA, Sickles EA, Smith RA, Monsees B, Bassett LW, Buist DM, Kerlikowske K, Onega T, Yankaskas B, Haneuse S, Hill DA, Wallis M, Miglioretti DL.

Educational interventions to improve screening mammography interpretation: a randomized, controlled trial.

AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2014 Jun;202(6):W586-96. doi: 10.2214/AJR.13.11147.

Onega T, Hubbard R, Hill D, Lee C, Haas JS, Carlos HA, Alford-Teaster J, Bogart A, DeMartini WB, Kerlikowske D, Virnig BA, Buist DS, Henderson L, Tosteson A.

Geographic access to breast imaging for U.S. women.

J Am Coll Radiol. 2014 May 30. pii: S1546-1440(14)00161-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jacr.2014.03.022. [Epub ahead of print].


Feature story

Getting to Goldilocks: ‘Just right’ breast screening

For Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Dr. Diana Buist tells how Group Health research helps women and their doctors decide if, when, and how to screen.

screening, breast cancer, women's health

GHRI In the Media

What's next for Choosing Wisely?

Over-prescribed: More health care isn't always better

Seattle Times, Sep. 30, 2014