Katherine M. Newton, PhD

“The work I do helps people with chronic conditions such as diabetes manage their health. And I'm helping women make decisions about managing menopause symptoms.”

Katherine M. Newton, PhD

Group Health Research Institute Senior investigator
Director of Research & External Affairs


Katherine Newton is a chronic disease epidemiologist who is passionate about finding ways to help women stay healthy during midlife. Known for her research on menopause, Dr. Newton is a national leader in the search for non-hormonal treatments for menopausal symptoms.

After a 20-year career as a cardiovascular nurse specialist, Dr. Newton pursued her PhD in epidemiology and shifted her focus to epidemiologic research, joining Group Health Research Institute (GHRI) as a postdoctoral fellow in 1995. Dr. Newton focuses on health concerns for women reaching midlife and on menopause in particular. She has two primary research goals. The first is to help women transition through menopause in the healthiest way possible, and she is especially interested in investigating ways to relieve menopause symptoms without using hormone replacement therapy. Her second goal is to ensure that people with diabetes, or at high risk for diabetes, have access to the information and support they need to stay healthy.

Dr. Newton’s 2006 randomized trial of alternative therapies for menopause received widespread interest, leading to several invited talks around the world. Study analyses continue to yield compelling findings, including a 2007 publication linking low libido in menopause to trouble sleeping. She is currently participating in a multisite network of investigators, MsFLASH Finding Lasting Answers for Symptoms and Health. This group has conducted 5 randomized trials testing the efficacy of yoga, exercise, omega-3 fatty acids, escitalopram and low dose estrogen for menopause symptoms. Dr. Newton’s other areas of interest include studying the intersection of women’s health and chronic disease, especially diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Dr. Newton is a member of several professional organizations, including the North American Menopause Society, the American Diabetes Association, and the American Heart Association. She sits on the latter’s councils on cardiovascular epidemiology and cardiovascular nursing. Dr. Newton has held two faculty appointments at the University of Washington since 1999, as affiliate associate professor in epidemiology, biobehavioral nursing, and health systems.

Research interests and experience

Recent publications

Desai JR1, Vazquez-Benitez G2, Xu Z2, Schroeder EB2, Karter AJ2, Steiner JF2, Nichols GA, Reynolds K, Xu S, Newton K, Pathak RD, Waitzfelder B, Elston Lafata J, Butler MG, Kirchner HL, Thomas A, O'Connor PJ. Who must we target now to minimize future cardiovascular events and total mortality? lessons from the supreme-dm cohort study. Circ Cardiovasc Qual Outcomes. 2015 Aug 25. pii: CIRCOUTCOMES.115.001717. [Epub ahead of print].

Lafata JE, Karter AJ, O'Connor PJ, Morris H, Schmittdiel JA, Ratliff S, Newton KM, Raebel MA, Pathak RD, Thomas A, Butler MG, Reynolds K, Waitzfelder B, Steiner JF. Medication adherence does not explain black-white differences in cardiometabolic risk factor control among insured patients with diabetes. J Gen Intern Med. 2015 Aug 18 [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Guthrie KA, LaCroix AZ, Ensrud KE, Joffe H, Newton KM, Reed SD, Caan B, Carpenter JS, Cohen LS, Freeman EW, Larson JC, Manson JE, Rexrode K, Skaar TC, Sternfeld B, Anderson GL. Pooled analysis of six pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic interventions for vasomotor symptoms. Obstet Gynecol. 2015;126(2):413-22. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000000927. PubMed

Schmittdiel JA, Desai J, Schroeder EB, Paolino AR, Nichols GA, Lawrence JM, O'Connor PJ, Ohnsorg KA, Newton KM, Steiner JF. Methods for engaging stakeholders in comparative effectiveness research: a patient-centered approach to improving diabetes care. Healthc (Amst). 2015;3(2):80-8. doi: 10.1016/j.hjdsi.2015.02.005. Epub 2015 Mar 13. PubMed


Live Healthy

Managing menopause symptoms

What are a woman’s options for symptoms like hot flashes, mood changes, or sleep problems? Here’s the evidence about herbs, yoga and more.

Read about it in Live Healthy.

GHRI In the Media

Yoga in menopause may help insomnia—but not hot flashes

Yoga has limited menopause benefits

The New York Times, October 4, 2013