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The epidemiology of gynaecologic health: contemporary opportunities and challenges
  1. Sarah R Hoffman1,
  2. Leslie V Farland2,
  3. Kemi M Doll3,
  4. Wanda K Nicholson4,5,6,
  5. Maya A Wright1,
  6. Whitney R Robinson1,7
  1. 1 Epidemiology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
  2. 2 Epidemiology and Biostatistics, The University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, Tucson, Arizona, USA
  3. 3 Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, Washington, USA
  4. 4 Obstetrics & Gynecology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
  5. 5 Center for Women’s Health Research, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
  6. 6 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
  7. 7 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Carolina Population Center, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
  1. Correspondence to Whitney R Robinson, McGavran-Greenberg Hall, Campus Box 7435, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7435, USA; whitney_robinson{at}


The field of reproductive epidemiology has primarily focused on reproductive outcomes and gynaecologic cancers. The study of non-cancerous, gynaecologic conditions (eg, uterine fibroids, endometriosis) has not received serious treatment in existing epidemiology textbooks and reproductive epidemiology curricula. Further, these conditions do not neatly fit into the other common subdisciplines within epidemiology (eg, infectious disease, cardiovascular, injury and occupational epidemiology and so on). In this commentary, we identify and illustrate three critical challenges to advancing the epidemiologic research of non-cancerous, gynaecologic conditions. With greater investment and a patient-centred approach, epidemiology can advance knowledge about this critical area of human welfare.

  • Gynaecology
  • Reproductive health
  • Epidemiological methods
  • Clinical epidemiology
  • Gender

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  • Twitter Whitney R Robinson @WhitneyEpi.

  • Contributors SRH conceptualised, drafted and revised the paper. LVF provided critical input into the content, helped draft and provided critical revisions to the paper. KMD, WKN and MAW provided critical feedback and revisions.

  • Funding Maya Wright was supported in part by a training grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Development [T32 HD52468].

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement Data sharing not applicable as no datasets generated and/or analysed for this study.