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Jean Wactawski-Wende, PhD, SUNY Distinguished Professor and professor, is an epidemiologist who focuses her research on understanding factors that influence women’s health. With more than 25 years of research experience, she is currently the principal investigator of UB's Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) Center and also leads the WHI Northeast Regional Center, comprising 9 other institutions. Initiated in 1993, the WHI is an NIH-funded, multi-centered study that involves both randomized clinical trials and an observational longitudinal study examining the major factors influencing morbidity and mortality in older women. She has served in various leadership roles in WHI, including publications chair, and the WHI executive committee and has served as the national Chair of the WHI Steering Committee. Results of that work have been far reaching, impacting our understanding of long-term health in older women.
In addition to the WHI, she has been principal investigator on dozens of research studies funded by the NIH and other federal agencies. Her interests include research on risk factors and prevention of cancer, osteoporosis and periodontal disease in postmenopausal women. Her current research focuses on the oral microbiome and health outcomes. She has also conducted several studies on reproductive health issues in younger women. As part of this work, she has led several large-scale prevention clinical trials in women.
She has served in many leadership roles at the University. She is currently serving as dean of the School of Public Health and Health Professions. Immediately prior to serving in this role, she served as vice provost for Strategic Initiatives and Research Advancement. In that role she coordinated and oversaw the University at Buffalo Strategic Strengths, the platform for interdisciplinary and collaborative research. Encompassing the breadth and depth of research at UB, the Strategic Strengths provide the vision and guidance to achieve UB2020. Wactawski-Wende also oversaw the UB Office for Research Advancement, which provides support for faculty to pursue large-scale, multi-investigator, cross-disciplinary research grants of institutional priority.