Current Research and Scholarly Interests
Marcia Stefanick, Ph.D a Professor of Medicine at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, (SPRC) and Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Stanford University School of Medicine.
Dr. Stefanick's research focuses on chronic disease prevention (particularly, heart disease, breast cancer, osteoporosis, and dementia) in both women and men. Her work on the effects of menopausal hormones on cardiovascular and other health outcomes in mostly healthy postmenopausal women (in the Women's Health Initiative, WHI), in women with established heart disease, (the Heart and Estrogen-progesterone Replacement Study, HERS), and in peri-menopausal and early post-menopausal women (the Postmenopausal Estrogen and Progesterone Interventions, PEPI) trials has been widely disseminated both nationally and internationally. She was also the principal investigator of two large diet trials focusing on the role of a low-fat eating pattern (including increased vegetables & fruits) on preventing breast cancer (WHI) and recurrence (Women's Healthy Eating and Living, WHEL, trial) and she conducted several medium-sized diet, exercise, and weight control trials focused on heart disease risk and body composition that have influenced national guidelines. [She is currently writing a proposal for a large national trial of physical activity in older women with cardiovascular outcomes, not just risk factors.] Her current passion is the study of Sex (and Gender) Differences in Human Physiology and Disease, the title of a course she teaches in Stanford's Human Biology program, in addition to a course entitled: Current Topics and Controversies in Women's Health. Dr. Stefanick also plays major leadership roles in Stanford's Cardiovascular Institutes Women's Heart Health Program and Stanford Cancer Institutes Cancer Prevention and Control Program.
Dr. Stefanick obtained her B.A. in biology from the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA (1974), then pursued her interest in hormone and sex difference research at the Oregon Regional Primate Research Center, after which she obtained her PhD in Physiology at Stanford University, focusing on reproductive physiology and neuroendocrinology with exercise physiology as a secondary focus. Her commitment to human research directed her to a post-doctoral fellowship in Cardiovascular Disease Prevention at SPRC, which has been her academic home for nearly 30 years.