Partners in Research


Partners in Research

Map of MsFLASH study sites

Harvard Medical School - Boston

The Boston group served as a clinical site for the MsFLASH 01 and 03 studies, with Drs. Cohen and Joffe the lead investigators for the 03 study. Dr. Mitchell joined our group to lead an ancillary study of vaginal symptoms and the vaginal microbiome among participants of the 03 trial. As a researcher studying the vaginal microbiome, she plays a lead role in the MsFLASH 05 trial.

Lee Cohen, PhD
Dr. Cohen is director of the Ammon-Pinizzotto Center for Women’s Mental Health at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and the Edmund and Carroll Carpenter Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He also serves as the co-chair of the Reproductive Mental Health Initiative within the Office of Reproductive Health at the Department of Veterans Affairs. He is a national and international leader in the field of women’s mental health and was among the founders of the field of Perinatal and Reproductive Psychiatry.

His work spans the domains of research, teaching and clinical care in the area of treatment of mood and anxiety disorders with subspecialty interest in psychiatric disorders associated with female reproductive function.

Hadine Joffe, MD, MSc
Dr. Joffe is an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School with a joint position at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. She is the vice chair for research in the Department of Psychiatry at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where she is also the director of the Division of Women’s Health. At the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, she is the director of Psycho-Oncology Research in the Department of Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care. Dr. Joffe received her undergraduate degree from Harvard University, her medical degree from Cornell University Medical College, and her Masters Degree in Epidemiology from the Harvard School of Public Health. She completed her psychiatry residency training at McLean Hospital and a fellowship in Reproductive Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Dr. Joffe runs the Women’s Hormone and Aging Research Program. She is an experienced clinician and clinical translational researcher in women’s mental health. Her work focuses on the mechanisms and treatment of menopausal symptoms of hot flashes, sleep disturbance, and depression in healthy women and cancer patients on anti-estrogen therapies. She studies the neural, hormonal, and autonomic basis of these menopause-related symptoms, as well as the best approaches to treating these menopause-related symptoms. In related women’s mental health research, she has investigated the effects on endogenous and exogenous reproductive hormones on mood as well as the reproductive consequences of psychotropic medications.

Caroline Mitchell, MD, MPH
Dr. Mitchell is an assistant Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, Harvard Medical School and investigator with the Vincent Center Reproductive Biology, Massachusetts General Hospital She moved to Boston from the University of Washington in 2014. Dr. Mitchell received her MD from Harvard Medical School and her MPH from the University of Washington, where she also did her OB/Gyn residency training. She was a women’s studies major at Harvard University as an undergraduate, and spent two years in the Peace Corps in Southern Africa prior to medical school, both of which fostered her commitment to improving women’s sexual and reproductive health.

Her research focuses on the relationship between the vaginal microbiota and the reproductive mucosal immune response, and how those two things influence reproductive health. Clinically, she runs a specialty vaginitis/vulvitis clinic in the Gynecology clinic at the MGH.

She recently completed an NIH K08 award, and in 2012 was one of 16 junior scientists nationwide to receive a Clinical Scientist Development Award from the Doris Duke Foundation. She is a 2015 recipient of the Claflin Distinguished Scholar award from the MGH, and a Bridge award from the American Association of Obstetricians & Gynecologists Foundation. She recently received an NIH R21 award to study idiopathic vaginitis.

Indiana University School of Nursing - Indianapolis

The Indianapolis group served as a clinical site for the MsFLASH 01 and 02 studies.  In addition, Dr. Carpenter led pilot studies of objective hot flash monitoring instruments.

Janet Carpenter, PhD, RN, FAAN
Dr. Carpenter is an IU distinguished professor and IUSON sssociate dean for research. Over the past two decades, Dr. Carpenter’s research has focused on menopausal symptoms in cancer survivors and midlife women without cance. Dr. Carpenter has expertise in developing and testing measurement tools (self-reported and physiological), building theories, and designing and conducting multi-site randomized controlled trials testing behavioral, pharmaceutical, and nutraceutical interventions.

She has extensive experience in scientific writing and grant reviews. She has received numerous honors and awards including the 2014 Outstanding Scientist from the Council for the Advancement of Nursing Science. 

Kaiser Permanente, Northern California - Oakland

The Oakland group served as a clinical site for the MsFLASH 01 and 02 studies, with Drs. Sternfeld and Caan the lead investigators for the 02 study exercise intervention. In addition, Oakland has served as the site of all centralized recruitment efforts.

Bette Caan, DrPH
Dr. Caan is a senior research scientist and a nutritional epidemiologist at the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research. She has been at the Division of Research since 1983. Dr. Caan holds a master’s degree in nutrition from Columbia University, a master’s degree in epidemiology from the University of California, Berkeley, and a doctorate in public health nutrition from the University of California, Berkeley.

Dr. Caan directs a research program in the examination of modifiable lifestyle risk factors for the prevention and progression of cancer, with a focus on energy balance risk factors. She has expertise in dietary measurement and assessment and the conduct of dietary intervention trials. Dr. Caan has authored or co-authored 360 publications while a researcher at DOR. Her research publications cover a wide range of topics, primarily in nutrition and body size, cancer epidemiology, and women’s health. Dr. Caan is currently the principal investigator of several federally funded research projects including the WHI Cancer Survivor Cohort; the LACE study, a prospective cohort of breast cancer to study effects of modifiable lifestyle factors on recurrence and survival; and a study on the role of body composition in relation to colorectal cancer survival. She was recently co-principal investigator on the study of Menopause Strategies: Finding Lasting Answers for Symptoms and Health (MsFLASH) , a network of research studies looking at promising treatments for the most common symptoms of menopause and is a co-investigator on this current study. 

Barbara Sternfeld, PhD
Dr. Sternfeld is an emeritus research scientist at the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research, where she began her career in 1985. Dr. Sternfeld’s training is in epidemiology and exercise science, and she has extensive experience with large, prospective cohort studies, most notably the CARDIA study (Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults), the CARDIA Fitness Study, and SWAN (Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation). Other notable studies include Project ALIVE! (A Lifestyle Intervention Via E-Mail), a randomized trial of a diet and physical activity intervention (funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention); and the NIH-funded On the Move, a validation study involving the development of a cell phone application for recording physical activities. Most recently, she designed and led the exercise component of a multi-site 3-by- 2 factorial randomized clinical trial of behavioral treatments for vasomotor symptoms, conducted as part of the MsFLASH (Menopause Stratagies: Finding Lasting Answers for Symptoms and Health) Research Network.

In 1996, Dr. Sternfeld was awarded the Sport Science Award of the International Olympic Committee President for her paper on exercise and pregnancy outcome. She continues to publish scientific papers related to physical activity and women’s health and remains actively involved with CARDIA, SWAN, and other studies.

University of Pennyslvania School of Medicine - Philadelphia

The Philadelphia group served as a clinical site for the MsFLASH 01 and 03 studies, with Dr. Freeman the lead investigator of the 01 study.

Ellen Freeman, MD
Dr. Freeman is research professor in the Department of Obstetrics/Gynecology and the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia, PA. She directed the PMS clinical research program and co-directed the Human Behavior and Reproduction unit in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. She has published more than 200 scientific articles, book chapters and reviews on premenstrual syndromes, hormone changes and symptoms of menopause, adolescent pregnancy, infertility, and mood disorders and a book on teenage pregnancy.

In addition, Dr. Freeman has lectured extensively worldwide on mood disorders and menopause in women. She has served as a member of study sections for research applications at the National Institutes of Health and as a member of national and international review groups. She is an editorial board member of Archives of Women’s Mental Health, Womens Health/Future Medicine, Medscape/ Women’s Health, and Mental Fitness: Psychiatry, OB/GYN, Primary Care and a Fellow in the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Dr. Freeman received her AB in history from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, MS in social work and a PhD in social research from Bryn Mawr College in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.

University of Minnesota Medical School - Minneapolis

Dr. Ensrud from Minneapolis served as the Study Chair for the original MsFLASH Network, 2008-2015. Now, Drs. Ensrud and Diem are leading one of two clinical sites for the MsFLASH 05 trial.

Kris Ensrud, MD, MPH, FACP
Dr. Ensrud is a general internist, epidemiologist and internationally recognized expert in women’s health and aging. She is a professor of medicine and epidemiology and community health at the University of Minnesota and core investigator as well as a staff physician at the Minneapolis VA Health Care System where she provides direct patient care to women veterans.

Her research on menopause has studied the patterns, causes, and treatments for symptoms related to the menopause transition, with a focus on advancing understanding of sleep disturbances and evaluating the roles of drug treatments and lifestyle therapies in improving sleep in women in midlife. 

Susan Diem, MD, MPH, FACP

Susan Diem, MD, MPH
Dr. Diem is a general internist and clinical epidemiologist. She is an associate professor of medicine at the University of Minnesota. Her clinical practice is focused on adult primary care, particularly for peri-menopausal and post-menopausal women; her research interests are concentrated on the epidemiology and treatment of chronic conditions in mid-life and older adults, such as menopausal symptoms, osteoporosis, and sleep disturbances.

Group Health Research Institute - Seattle

The Seattle group served as a clinical site for the MsFLASH 02 and 03 studies, with Drs. Newton and Reed were the lead investigators for the 02 study yoga intervention. In addition, Group Health continues to serve as the phone screening call center for study enrollment. Group Health is now one of two clinical sites for the MsFLASH 05 trial.

Katherine Newton, PhD
Dr. Newton is a senior investigator at Group Health Research Institute.  She 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. Her second goal is study the intersection of women’s health and chronic disease, especially diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center - Seattle

Fred Hutch serves as the Data Coordinating Center for MsFLASH studies, under the leadership of Drs. Guthrie and LaCroix. In addition, the Fredricks lab performed the pilot vaginal microbiome study, in preparation for its larger role leading the specimen biorepository and multiple translational ancillary studies for the MsFLASH 05 trial.

David N. Fredricks, MD

Dr. Fredricks is a member in the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division at the Fred Hutch, professor of medicine and adjunct professor of microbiology at the University of Washington where he is also director of the infectious disease fellowship training program. He graduated from Stanford University with bachelors and masters degrees in biology, and worked as an associate scientist for Liposome Technology, Inc. He obtained his medical degree from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, and did residency training in internal medicine at the University of California at San Francisco. He completed a fellowship in infectious diseases at Stanford University, where he received a Physician Scientist Award from the National Institutes of Health. His current research interests focus on studies of the human microbiome, particularly the microbial communities found in the genital tract and their connection with adverse health outcomes.