About WHI

The Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) is a long-term national health study funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, or NHLBI. The original WHI study began in the early 1990s and concluded in 2005. Since 2005, the WHI has continued as Extension Studies, which are annual collections of health updates and outcomes in active participants. The second Extension Study enrolled 93,500 women in 2010 and follow-up of these women continues annually.

As with the original WHI study, the main areas of research are cardiovascular disease, cancers, and osteoporotic fractures. While WHI continues to focus on strategies to prevent the major causes of death, disability, and frailty in older women, the breadth and richness of the WHI data allow for the exploration and investigation of many more research questions on women’s health and aging.

To learn more about the original WHI study that began in the early 1990’s, including specific details about the three clinical trials and the observational study, visit the WHI program page on the NHLBI website.

About WHI Extension Participants

Self-identified Ethnicity across all Races:

Not Hispanic/Latina, n=153,117 (94.6%)

Hispanic/Latina, n=7,312 (4.5%)

Unknown/Not reported, n=1,379 (0.9%)

Self-identified Ethnicity across all Races:

Not Hispanic/Latina, n=53,815 (96.0%)

Hispanic/Latina, n=2,137 (3.8%)

Unknown/Not reported, n=127 (0.2%)

Journey through WHI’s history

WHI Leadership – Steering Committee

Cynthia Thomson, Ph.D., R.D.
Steering Committee Chair
The University of Arizona
Garnet Anderson, Ph.D.
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Charles Kooperberg, Ph.D.
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Candice Price, Ph.D.
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Jared Reis, Ph.D.
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Brian Silver, M.D.
University of Massachusetts
Marcia Stefanick, Ph.D.
Stanford University
Mara Vitolins, Dr.P.H.
Wake Forest University
Jean Wactawski-Wende,Ph.D.M
University at Buffalo
Gretchen Wells, M.D., Ph.D.
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Yasmin Mossavar-Rahmani, Ph.D.
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Electra D. Paskett, Ph.D.
The Ohio State University
Amy Millen, Ph.D.
University at Buffalo

An organizational chart provides further information detailing the roles of individual WHI Steering Committee members. Please continue reading the next section to learn more about former PIs and key contributors to the Women’s Health Initiative over the past three decades.

Study Organization

The WHI study consisted of 40 Clinical Centers, several with additional satellite locations, during the recruitment and active intervention phase of WHI (1993-2005). During the WHI Extension Studies, the Clinical Centers, shown in the interactive map below, were consolidated into 10 Regional Centers in 2010. The WHI Clinical Coordinating Center (CCC) is located at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, in Seattle, WA. The tables below show the investigator names and locations of the original Clinical Centers and the current Regional Centers. Visit the Contacts page for CCC and Regional Center contact information.

Current Study Organization

WHI Project Office

InstitutionLocationProject Officer
National Heart, Lung, and Blood InstituteBethesda, MDJacques Rossouw, M.D., 1993-2014
Shari Ludlam, M.P.H., 2014-2020
Jared Reis, Ph.D., 2020-

WHI Clinical Coordinating Center

InstitutionLocationPrincipal Investigator
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research CenterSeattle, WARoss Prentice, Ph.D. 1993-2010
Garnet Anderson, Ph.D. 2010-

WHI Regional Centers

RegionRegional Center or
Regional Center Site
InstitutionPrincipal Investigator
NortheastBuffalo, NY
Boston, MA
University at Buffalo
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Jean Wactawski-Wende, Ph.D.
JoAnn Manson, M.D., Dr.P.H.
SoutheastWinston-Salem, NCWake Forest UniversityMara Vitolins, Dr.P.H.
MidwestColumbus, OHThe Ohio State UniversityElectra Paskett, Ph.D.
WestStanford, CAStanford UniversityMarcia Stefanick, Ph.D.
CCCSeattle, WAFred Hutchinson Cancer
Research Center
Garnet Anderson, Ph.D.

Legacy Investigators

These WHI Investigators have a history of major contribution to WHI 5 or more years ago as Past Principal Investigator or Co-Investigator at the CCC, a Regional Center, or an original WHI site or while employed at the NIH. Past WHI chairs of a WHI standing committee also may qualify as Legacy Investigators.

Shirley BeresfordUniversity of Washington
Margery GassCleveland Clinic
Dorothy LaneStony Brook University
Erin LeBlancCenter for Health Research, Kaiser Permanente Northwest
Karen MargolisHealth Partners
Mary Jo O’SullivanJackson Memorial Hospital
John RobbinsUniversity of California – Davis
Jennifer RobinsonUniversity of Iowa
Haleh Sangi-HaghpeykarBaylor College of Medicine

Original Clinical Centers