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Nancy Woods PhD, RN, FAAN

Professor Emerita
Dean Emerita of the University of Washington School of Nursing
Co-Director, de Tornyay Center for Healthy Aging

At University of Washington I have led a sustained program of research in the field of women’s health. With collaborators from nursing and other fields, I have contributed to an improved understanding of women’s experiences of menstrual cycle symptoms as well as the menopausal transition, investigating endocrine, social, personal and genetic factors influencing symptoms and women’s approaches to symptom management. In 1989 Dr. Joan Shaver and I, in collaboration with other colleagues, established the first NIH-funded Center for Women’s Health Research at the University of Washington School of Nursing. Dr. Ellen and I established the Seattle Midlife Women’s Health Study, a longitudinal study of women during the menopausal transition and early postmenopause, involving recruiting over 500 women, some of whom we studied for up to 25 years. I have been an investigator for the Women’s Health Initiative Study and for the MsFLASH study of symptom management approaches for hot flashes and related symptoms. I was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies and to the American Academy of Nursing.

Dr. Ellen Mitchell and I investigated symptoms among community-dwelling reproductive-aged women using a health diary for longitudinal data collection, leading to identification of a variety of symptom patterns women experienced across the menstrual cycle. This early work led to a program of studies focusing on symptoms women experience during various stages of the menstrual cycle and during the menopausal transition. Current research focuses on symptom clusters during the menopausal transition and early postmenopause.

I served as president of the American Academy of Nursing, the North American Menopause Society, and the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research. I have received the American Nurses Foundation Distinguished Contribution to Nursing Research Award, and in 2003, received the Pathfinder Award from the Friends of the National Institute for Nursing Research. I was elected to the Institute of Medicine for work in women’s health.

I helped set research agendas for women’s health as a member of the National Institutes of Health Women’s Health Task Force and Office of Women’s Health Research Advisory Council. I have received honorary doctoral degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Haifa, Israel, and Chiang Mai University, Thailand.



  • BSN, University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire, 1968
  • MSN, University of Washington, 1969
  • PhD, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 1978

What classes do you teach?

NURS 551

What do you love about the UW School of Nursing?

I love being a professor in the School of Nursing because I have the opportunity to interact with bright, positive, collaborative colleagues each day. The intellectual activity of the faculty, staff and students provides continuing sources of stimulation, prompting me to continuously think of new ideas and pursue them in a supportive atmosphere. I also love working with so many of our outstanding staff who contribute to the integration of the activities of the organization and constantly lead innovation in our work. I also admire our constant desire to be our personal best and to improve our organization, as exemplified by our taking our diversity and inclusion commitment seriously and simultaneously think about health issues with a global perspective.


Biobehavioral Nursing and Health Informatics

Research Areas

  • Symptom Science
  • Lifespan Health

Research Centers

Picture of  Nancy Woods
Main: 206.543.8238

University of Washington School of Nursing
Box 357266
1959 NE Pacific St.
Seattle, WA 98195

Office: T602