University of Michigan
Department of Family Medicine
1018 Fuller Street
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48104
Dr. Diane M. Harper is an internationally recognized family physician and clinical research expert in HPV-associated diseases, their prevention, early detection, and treatment for the prevention of cancer. She has been a consultant for the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) to advise on global guidelines and to set up screening and prevention operations in low and middle-income countries to prevent cervical cancer. She is the first Family Medicine physician-researcher to be inducted as a member of the Association of American Physicians, which recognizes researchers for their impactful contributions to improve patient care through the advancement of physician-led research. She also has received the Distinguished Scientist Award from the European Research Organization on Genital Infection and Neoplasia for her scientific work as well as the Femmes de l'Année Prix Monte Carlo, which honors influential changemakers working to better women's lives around the world.
As a physician-researcher, Dr. Harper has a strong interest in public health, epidemiology, and health behaviors, all fields in which she has published over her 30-year career. She has over 300 publications and tens of thousands of citations, has contributed to multiple textbooks, and has shaped global guidelines and policies related to cervical cancer screening and prevention efforts in the U.S., Europe, and for the WHO Elimination of Cervical Cancer Initiative. According to a 2023 study published in Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics, Dr. Harper ranks third among co-cited authors in the HPV cancer vaccine and cervical cancer prevention literature globally. She has also served as a member of the United States Preventive Services Task Force.
Dr. Harper is also renowned for her educational commitment in medicine receiving the Excellence in Education award from the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM) for her lifetime dedication to education. In addition, she was honored with the Curtis G Hames Research award from the three Family Medicine organizations: STFM, the American Academy of Family Physicians and the North American Primary Care Research Group. Dr. Harper has completed the Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine fellowship and has served as the Chair of the Department of Family and Geriatric Medicine at the University of Louisville with the Rowntree Endowment.
Dr. Harper joined the instructional track faculty in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School in early 2018.
Research Interests: Prevention, screening, early detection and treatment of HPV associated cancers including cervix, anus, oropharynx; evidence-based guidelines development; women's health; women in rural Michigan; women of Arab American descent; African American women; women with disabilities; Native American women.
M.D., University of Kansas Medical School (KUMC), 1986
Kansas University Medical Center, Department of Family Medicine
M.P.H., Biostatistics and Epidemiology, University of Kansas Medical School, 1995
M.S., Polymerics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1982
Published Articles or Reviews
- Villa LL, Costa RL, Petta CA, et al. Prophylactic quadrivalent human papillomavirus (types 6, 11, 16, and 18) L1 virus-like particle vaccine in young women: a randomised double-blind placebo-controlled multicentre phase II efficacy trial. The Lancet Oncology. 2005;6(5):271-278. doi:10.1016/s1470-2045(05)70101-7.
- Garland SM, Hernandez-Avila M, Wheeler CM, et al. Quadrivalent Vaccine against Human Papillomavirus to Prevent Anogenital Diseases. New England Journal of Medicine. 2007;356(19):1928-1943. doi:10.1056/nejmoa061760.
- Harper DM, Franco EL, Wheeler C, et al. Efficacy of a bivalent L1 virus-like particle vaccine in prevention of infection with human papillomavirus types 16 and 18 in young women: a randomised controlled trial. The Lancet. 2004;364(9447):1757-1765. doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(04)17398-4.
- Harper DM, Franco EL, Wheeler CM, et al. Sustained efficacy up to 4·5 years of a bivalent L1 virus-like particle vaccine against human papillomavirus types 16 and 18: follow-up from a randomised control trial. The Lancet. 2006;367(9518):1247-1255. doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(06)68439-0.
- Paavonen J, Jenkins D, Bosch FX, et al. Efficacy of a prophylactic adjuvanted bivalent L1 virus-like-particle vaccine against infection with human papillomavirus types 16 and 18 in young women: an interim analysis of a phase III double-blind, randomised controlled trial. The Lancet. 2007;369(9580):2161-2170. doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(07)60946-5.
- Bauer L. (Host). (2023 June 7). Video podcast episode. In Time to Update to Primary HPV Screening for Cervical Cancer Screening. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0bqdT4TWT3g
- Harper DM. (2023 June 7). HPV Vaccination-the next five years. Michigan HPV Cancer Prevention Alliance 2023 Summit. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=POnVTlrbpzo
AAP recognizes HPV physician-researcher for her outstanding accomplishments to transform primary care.
Study indicates shift in health care provider preferences of Middle Eastern- and North African-descent women
In an analysis of 97 patient surveys, Department of Family Medicine researchers found that patient-provider race/ethnicity/cultural concordance was of decreasing importance to women of Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) backgrounds – and was cited as a barrier to routine preventative and women’s health exams.
Prof. Harper will contribute to a significant national study assessing the validity of at-home HPV self-testing as an alternative to speculum-based screenings in the fight against cervical cancer.
Her major accomplishments include helping to build career pathways for young researcher-physicians, as well as increasing NAPCRG membership nationally and globally.
U-M Family Medicine researchers write a commentary in Cancer , noting the move towards at-home cancer screenings provide excellent options for average-risk patients undergoing regular cancer screenings, especially during a time like the current coronavirus pandemic.
Study includes women of Middle Eastern and North African descent, a group often excluded in cancer screening research
I chose to become a researcher (or to research a specific topic because)…
Every new piece of evidence revealed to me begs me to ask another question! How could we address a question better? How do we sample better? How do we respect the integrity of a person who has seen significant trauma, and still provide the best health care for her? What is the next question that will emerge?