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

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

Carpenter JS, Jones SM, Studts CR, Heiman JR, Reed SD, Newton KM, Guthrie KA, Larson JC, Cohen LS, Freeman EW, Jane Lau R, Learman LA, Shifren JL. Female Sexual Function Index short version: a MsFLASH item response analysis. Arch Sex Behav. 2016 Aug 8. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Jones SM, Guthrie KA, Reed SD, Landis CA, Sternfeld B, LaCroix AZ, Dunn A, Burr RL, Newton KM. A yoga & exercise randomized controlled trial for vasomotor symptoms: effects on heart rate variability. Complement Ther Med. 2016;26:66-71. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2016.03.001. Epub 2016 Mar 4. PubMed

McCurry SM, Guthrie KA, Morin CM, Woods NF, Landis CA, Ensrud KE, Larson JC, Joffe H, Cohen LS, Hunt JR, Newton KM, Otte JL, Reed SD, Sternfeld B, Tinker LF, LaCroix AZ. Telephone-based cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia in perimenopausal and postmenopausal women with vasomotor symptoms: a MsFLASH randomized clinical trial. JAMA Intern Med. 2016 May 23. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.1795. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Jones SM, Guthrie KA, LaCroix AZ, Sternfeld B, Landis CA, Reed SD, Dunn A, Caan B, Cohen LS, Hunt J, Newton KM. Is heart rate variability associated with frequency and intensity of vasomotor symptoms among healthy perimenopausal and postmenopausal women? Clin Auton Res. 2015 Dec 21. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

 

healthy communities

Sustaining diabetes self-management programs: Community members speak

Ideas flowed at a conference on maintaining the benefits of a community health program, writes Anne Renz.      

Read it in Healthy Findings.

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