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

Biography

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

O'Connor PJ, Schmittdiel JA, Pathak RD, Harris RI, Newton KM.

Response to comment on O'Connor et al. Randomized trial of telephone outreach to improve medication adherence and metabolic control in adults with diabetes.

Diabetes Care. 2015;38(3):e46. doi: 10.2337/dc14-2928. PubMed

Carpenter JS, Reed SD, Guthrie KA, Larson JC, Newton KM, Lau RJ, Learman LA, Shifren JL.

Using an FSDS-R item to screen for sexually related distress: a MsFLASH analysis.

Sex Med. 2015;3(1):7-13. doi: 10.1002/sm2.53. PubMed

Vazquez-Benitez GV, Desai JR, Xu S, Goodrich GK, Schroeder EB, Nichols GA, Segal J, Kimes TM, Butler MG, Karter AJ, Steiner JF, Newton KM, Morales LS, Pathak RD, Thomas A, Reynolds K, Kirchner HL, Waitzfelder B, Lafata JE, Adibhatla R, Xu Z, O’Connor PJ.

Preventable major cardiovascular events associated with uncontrolled glucose, blood pressure, lipids and active smoking in adults with diabetes with and without cardiovascular disease: a contemporary analysis.

Diabetes Care. 2015 Feb 20. pii: dc141877. [Epub ahead of print].

Freeman EW, Ensrud KE, Larson JC, Guthrie KA, Carpenter JS, Joffe H, Newton KM, Sternfeld B, LaCroix AZ.

Placebo improvement in pharmacologic treatment of menopausal hot flashes: time course, duration, and predictors.

Psychosom Med. 2015 Feb 2. [Epub ahead of print].