The Nurses’ Health Studies, the largest, longest-running investigations of women’s health, has since 1976 relied in nurse participants to study a number of health factors. The third such study seeks 100,000 female nurses or nurse students, ages 19 to 52, to participate in a web-based study of health issues related to lifestyle, fertility/pregnancy, environment, and nursing exposures.
Started in 1976 and expanded in 1989, the information provided by its 238,000 dedicated nurse-participants has allowed NHS to produce key advances in literally hundreds of important topics–altering medical practice and changing national dietary guidelines. The study is conducted by researchers at Harvard School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts.
In the early 1970s, Dr. Frank Speizer began the Nurses’ Health Study with the hope of learning more about the potential long-term risk factors for cancer and cardiovascular disease on women.
Nurses’ Health Study 2 began in 1989 by Dr. Walter Willett and colleagues. The study was once again funded by the National Institutes of Health. The purpose of NHS2 was to study diet, and lifestyle risk factors in women who were younger than the NHS1 participants.
In 2010, Drs. Walter Willett, Janet Rich-Edwards, Stacey Missmer, and Jorge Chavarro started Nurses’ Health Study 3 in collaboration with investigators at the Channing Laboratory and the Harvard School of Public Health. For the first time ever, the study is entirely web-based. Participants include LPN/LVNs and RNs, and it’s also open to nurses in Canada. NHS3 aims to be more representative of nurses’ diverse backgrounds. It will closely look at health issues related to lifestyle, fertility/pregnancy, environment, and nursing exposures.
“NHS remains the largest long-term study of women’s health, offering vital information about the effects of diet and lifestyle on disease.” Walter Willett, MD, MPH, DrPH, Principal Investigator, NHS II