Office of Research on Women's Health (ORWH)
Heidi D. Nelson, M.D., M.P.H.
Dr. Heidi Nelson is a Research Professor in the Departments of Medical Informatics and Clinical Epidemiology and Medicine at Oregon Health and Science University, and Medical Director of Cancer Prevention and Screening at Providence Health & Services – Oregon. Dr. Nelson received her undergraduate and graduate degrees at the University of Minnesota, completed her residency in internal medicine at Oregon Health and Science University, and her fellowship in medicine and clinical epidemiology at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Nelson has focused her clinical and research activities on women’s health. At the Oregon Evidence-Based Practice Center (EPC), she has led over 30 systematic evidence reviews, comparative effectiveness reviews, and analyses for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), AHRQ Effective Healthcare Program, National Institutes of Health, State of Oregon, and other partners since 1998. These studies have been used to determine clinical practice guidelines, health policy, and formulary and coverage decisions nationally. They have been used to inform clinicians, researchers, policymakers, and patients of the state of evidence for a wide array of clinical questions including screening women for osteoporosis, menopausal symptoms and effective treatment, use of menopausal hormone therapy to prevent chronic conditions, risk assessment and genetic testing for breast and ovarian cancer, and medications to reduce risk for primary breast cancer, among others. She was the principal investigator for the evidence review on breast cancer screening that was used by the USPSTF for their new recommendations in November 2009.
Dr. Nelson has applied her research expertise in teaching, clinical, and health policy activities. She has contributed to the development of research methods of evidence reviews, and has trained and mentored countless researchers in the field. She has directed a post-residency fellowship in women’s health through the Veteran’s Administration since 1994. At Providence, a not-for-profit, community-based, integrated health system, she has developed extensive state-wide patient databases for multiple purposes including quality initiatives and research. She has successfully led implementation projects of evidence-based guidelines at the health system that were developed through the EPC program, and has been involved in planning, implementing, and evaluating healthcare programs and practices across the state. She recently served as a member of the Institute of Medicine Committee on Prevention Services for Women charged with determining what preventive health services are necessary for women’s health and well-being and should be considered in the development of comprehensive guidelines for women’s health under the Affordable Care Act.ty.