Dr. Holly R. Harris, ScD, MPH Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
David Doody, MS in Epidemiology, Statistician.
Stacey A. Missmer, ScD, Collaborator.
Jorge E. Chavarro, M.D., Sc.D. Collaborator.
The outcomes of this project have the potential to greatly impact women with endometriosis. Many women with an endometriosis experience poor quality of life (QOL) due to chronic pelvic pain and other physical or mental sequelae of endometriosis. As symptoms are often not sufficiently abated with hormonal suppression or surgery, the identification of other evidenced-based, modifiable factors, that reduce endometriosis incidence and/or improve pain and QOL are critical to improving the lives of women. The identification of high pesticide residue foods that increase endometriosis risk could lay the groundwork for evidence-based dietary recommendations including which fruits and vegetables are best consumed when organically grown vs which can be purchased conventionally grown. Organically grown fruits and vegetables are often higher cost than conventionally grown fruits and vegetables and in some regions less readily available. Our results, if confirmed, could help those with limited financial resources prioritize which organic fruits and vegetables to purchase. In addition, while dietary changes to address endometriosis symptoms have been the focus of books and lay articles, the evidence behind these recommendations needs a firmer scientific foundation to allow for more robust dissemination of this knowledge to physicians and other healthcare professionals. Dietary change is difficult and would be accessible to a more diverse group of women if health care providers and insurance companies could more readily refer women to nutritionist/dietitians who could counsel and support women in achieving a healthy diet.
Dr. Harris is an assistant member (assistant professor) in the Epidemiology Program at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. She received her training in Epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and has expertise in endometriosis as well as ovarian and breast cancers. As a postdoctoral fellow at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, under the mentorship of Dr. Stacey Missmer, Dr. Harris conducted epidemiologic endometriosis research including papers on dietary factors, biomarkers, autoimmune conditions, and endometriosis risk. As a junior faculty member, she has continued her endometriosis research, including designing a dietary intervention study to reduce endometriosis symptoms (currently under review at the National Institutes of Health [NIH]).