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Elizabeth Barrett-Connor

Expert Profile

Elizabeth Barrett-Connor

Distinguished Professor and Chief of the Epidemiology Division, Family and Preventive Medicine
University of California, San Diego
healthy aging
gender differences in diseases, especially women's health
cardiovascular disease
breast cancer
diabetes as a risk factor for heart disease
female hormone replacement therapy


Dr. Elizabeth Barrett-Connor is a professor of family and preventive medicine at the UCSD School of Medicine. An internationally recognized expert in epidemiology, Barrett-Connor's main focus is on the factors promoting a healthy old age. She is founder and director of the three-decade-old Rancho Bernardo Heart and Chronic Disease Study, which has produced data defining causal factors for diabetes, cancer and osteoporosis as well as cardiovascular disease. Her research focuses on healthy aging and gender differences in disease, with strong emphasis on women's health. She is principal investigator of the largest cardiovascular disease prevention trial ever conducted in women "- RUTH "- which also has breast cancer prevention as a co-primary outcome. As one of the first scientists to examine diabetes as a risk factor for heart disease, Barrett-Connor found that the blood-sugar metabolism disorder poses a greater risk to women than to men. She also was one of the first to question the validity of earlier observational studies, including her own, indicating that hormone replacement therapy protects the female heart. Her challenge to conventional wisdom -- ultimately validated by Women's Health Initiative findings that overall risks of postmenopausal hormone therapy outweigh benefits for chronic diseases -- reflects a career-long dedication to confirming epidemiological observations in randomized clinical trials.

Cancer Prevention & Control Program
9500 Gilman Drive # 0607
La Jolla  California  92093
United States
Office Phone: 
(858) 534-0511
Office Fax: 
(858) 534-8625


The Center for Health Journalism’s 2023 National Fellowship will provide $2,000 to $10,000 reporting grants, five months of mentoring from a veteran journalist, and a week of intensive training at USC Annenberg in Los Angeles from July 16-20. Click here for more information and the application form, due May 5.

The Center for Health Journalism’s 2023 Symposium on Domestic Violence provides reporters with a roadmap for covering this public health epidemic with nuance and sensitivity. The next session will be offered virtually on Friday, March 31. Journalists attending the symposium will be eligible to apply for a reporting grant of $2,000 to $10,000 from our Domestic Violence Impact Reporting Fund. Find more info here!


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