Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Apple, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has launched the Apple Women’s Health Study, a large-scale longitudinal study led by a team of researchers at Harvard Chan School that aims to advance understanding of menstrual and gynecological health.
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health was founded in 1913 as the Harvard-Massachusetts Institute of Technology School of Health Officers. The School is recognized as America’s oldest professional training program in public health. Each year, more than 400 faculty members at Harvard Chan School teach 1,000-plus full-time students from around the world and train thousands more through online and executive education courses.
Apple users can enroll and participate in the study by downloading the Apple Research app, available on iPhone. The study will collect data, such as cycle tracking information, and use monthly surveys to understand each participant’s unique menstrual experience. The study, which will last many years, also seeks to analyze the impact of certain behaviors and habits, such as physical activity and mobility, on a wide breadth of reproductive health topics.
Michelle A. Williams, a reproductive epidemiologist and dean of the faculty at Harvard Chan School, is leading the study as a principal investigator, along with Harvard Chan co-principal investigators Russ Hauser, Frederick Lee Hisaw Professor of Reproductive Physiology and chair of the Department of Environmental Health, and Brent Coull, professor of biostatistics and associate chair of the Department of Biostatistics.
“Treating the menstrual cycle as a vital sign, such as heart rate or blood pressure, could lead to the earlier detection of many health conditions, both gynecological and systemic, as well as a better understanding of women’s reproductive health and health needs overall.” … “We are uniquely poised to translate this data into discovery that will lead to better awareness and empowerment around women’s health issues on a global scale.” – Shruthi Mahalingaiah, assistant professor of environmental reproductive and women’s health at Harvard Chan School
“In the past it’s been very difficult to quantify behavioral factors.” … “With data from smartphones and wearable devices, we can eventually measure these factors unobtrusively over long periods of time. This is scientifically incredibly exciting, and I believe that this research will enable more effective and more personalized interventions in the future.” – Jukka-Pekka Onnela, associate professor of biostatistics at Harvard Chan School