Karen Wernli
Ph.D., Assistant Investigator, Group Health Research Institute

About Me

An epidemiologist and 10-year veteran of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Dr. Wernli joined Group Health Research Institute (GHRI) in 2009 and began a three-year career development award in comparative effectiveness research in 2010. The award’s rich coursework, mentorship, and training opportunities support her goal of answering key questions related to cancer screening and diagnostics.

She is now leading a Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) contract to compare breast MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) to mammography for women already treated for breast cancer. There is little evidence to support the use of breast MRI for surveillance when physicians are looking for second breast cancers or recurrences of the first cancer. She is working with the Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium (BCSC) to evaluate these two technologies. Also through the BCSC, Dr. Wernli leads a study using data on more than 800,000 women aged 40 to 79 to determine if mammographic breast density is linked to the risk of developing ovarian cancer. Additionally she is a co-investigator of GHRI’s Colorectal Cancer Screening Registry, which is part of the National Cancer Institute’s Population-based Research Optimizing Screening through Personalized Regimens (PROSPR) program. 

Dr. Wernli serves as a reviewer for several journals, including the American Journal of Epidemiology andCancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. A longtime member of the American Society for Preventive Oncology (ASPO), she was a recipient of the Prevent Cancer Foundation/ASPO Cancer Prevention Fellowship in 2009 and served as co-chair for the annual meeting workshop with their Young Investigators.

At Medicine X 2015

Sunday, September 27 11:35 am (LK 120)
Journey of a patient partner in research: an example in a PCORI funded project
In 2015, the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) will spend $460 million on research of importance to patients and caregivers. All awardees must have a component of patient engagement... Read more
Saturday, September 17 10:10 am (Lower Lobby)
Designing for good patient decisions: bringing together data, psychology, and human-centered design to help breast cancer survivors choose a method of post-treatment surveillance.
Mammograms are the standard for post-treatment surveillance of breast cancer patients, but the use of MRI is rising due to doctors and women developing anecdotal experience through peers and through its... Read more
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