A historic study, a nursing tradition

The Nurses’ Health Studies are the largest, longest running investigations of women’s health.

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.

Nurses' Health Study 1

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

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.


Nurses' Health Study 3

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.

Nurses already enrolled in the Nurses’ Health Studies have been invaluable in recruiting new participants. Their passionate commitment and strong support are enormously appreciated. Tell a nurse.

“I’m a third-generation RN. My grandmother, my mother, and I are all NHS participants. As nurses, we believe we have a duty to support research.”

Kerri F., RN