Diane Harper

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Diane Medved Harper
Alma materMassachusetts Institute of Technology
Known forInvestigator for HPV vaccine clinical trials; later, commentator on HPV vaccine issues
Spouse(s)Bill Harper[1]
ChildrenTwo sons[2]
Scientific career
FieldsVirology, vaccine development, cancer prevention
InstitutionsUniversity of Louisville
University of Missouri Kansas City
Dartmouth Medical School
ThesisThe determination of diagnostic probabilities for human papillomavirus testing in the evaluation of an abnormal screening Papanicolaou smear (1995)

Diane Medved Harper is a professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Michigan.[3] From 2013 to 2017 she was a professor and chair of the department of Family and Geriatric Medicine at the University of Louisville. From 2009 to 2013 she was a professor at the University of Missouri Kansas City's department of Biomedical and Health Informatics.From 1996 to 2009 she held a clinical, teaching, and research post at Dartmouth Medical School.[4][5] Her area of expertise is human papillomavirus (HPV) and the diseases associated with it, as well as colposcopy, and she was the principal investigator of the clinical trials of Gardasil and Cervarix, vaccines against HPV.[6]

Early life[edit]

Harper grew up in Kansas City; her father was an electrical and mechanical engineer. Her mother died in 1981, of breast cancer, while Harper was at graduate school.[4]

Education, research and career[edit]

A graduate of the University of Kansas (where she completed a residency in family medicine), Harper also completed undergraduate and graduate degrees at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in chemical engineering, before attending Stanford University and Harvard University to receive her public health degree. Her decision to go to medical school instead of continuing to study engineering was made in 1981, when, on Thanksgiving Day, she called her dad and told him that her heart wasn't in engineering.[4] While at Stanford, she studied medical decision making and cost-effectiveness analysis. Harper's degrees include MD, MPH, and MS.[7]

Diane Harper has been appointed to the Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation[8] at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI and the Physician director for Community Outreach, Engagement and Health Disparities at the University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center.[9]

In 2016, Harper was appointed to the United States Preventive Services Task Force.[10]

Views on HPV vaccines[edit]

Harper has stated that Gardasil "is a good vaccine and ... is generally safe", and told the Guardian "I fully support the HPV vaccines ... I believe that in general they are safe in most women."[11][12] However, since 2009 Harper has questioned the cost-benefit analysis of Gardasil in countries where pap smears are regularly available, and has stated that the vaccine has been overpromoted.[13] In a 2011 NPR interview, she argued against mandatory HPV vaccines for schoolchildren, saying "Ninety-five percent of women who are infected with HPV never, ever get cervical cancer."[14] In a July 2013 interview, she stated that she advocates personal choice and an individualized approach to HPV vaccination, saying that she provides "a balanced picture to my patients and their families and am not at all upset if they refuse the vaccine, especially at younger ages."[15] Harper appeared on a December 2013 episode of Katie Couric's show Katie devoted to the HPV vaccine, and stated that newly developed pap screenings that combine HPV testing and cytology have a nearly 100% ability to detect pre-cancers and cancers; she also said that Gardasil doesn't last long enough to prevent cervical cancer and that there are some harms associated with it.[16][17]

Harper appeared at the International Public Conference on Vaccination, a conference held by the National Vaccine Information Center, a U.S. anti-vaccine group,[18][19] apparently not realizing that it was an anti-vaccination event.[18] She also appeared in The Greater Good, an anti-vaccine film.[20]


In 2006, while Harper was on the faculty and staff of Dartmouth Medical School, the New Hampshire Academy of Family Physicians named her the New Hampshire Family Physician of the Year.[21]

In May 2013 Harper received the Prix Monte-Carlo Woman of the Year award in Monte Carlo for her contributions and discoveries defining the role of HPV in the pathology of cervical cancer.[22]

In May 2013 Harper also received the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine Excellence in Education Award for her "excellence in education at every level from medical students, family medicine residents, residents in obstetrics and gynecology, national and international meetings, and to the public and national audiences via television, including an appearance on the Dr Oz show ...." The award also noted that Harper "helped establish the US national guidelines for the nomenclature of cytology and the screening and management of abnormal cytology and histology reports" and "consulted for the World Health Organization on the use of prophylactic HPV vaccines".[23][24]

In October 2015, Harper was named the Alum of the Year by the Notre Dame de Sion School system.[25]


  • Harper, Diane M.; DeMars, Leslie R. (July 2017), "HPV vaccines – A review of the first decade", Gynecologic Oncology, 146 (1): 196–204, doi:10.1016/j.ygyno.2017.04.004


  1. ^ "School of Medicine Professor Recognized Internationally". Faculty and Staff News. University of Missouri Kansas City. 24 May 2013. Archived from the original on 8 October 2013. Retrieved 7 October 2013.
  2. ^ Durgin, Jennifer (Fall 2006). "Dream Work: Diane Harper, M.D., M.P.H." Dartmouth Medical School. p. 2. Retrieved 30 January 2014.
  3. ^ "Diane M. Harper, M.D., M.P.H., M.S." Archived from the original on 2018-06-19.
  4. ^ a b c Durgin, Jennifer (Fall 2006). "Dream Work: Diane Harper MD MPH". Dartmouth Medicine. Retrieved 13 August 2013.
  5. ^ "Diane Harper, MD, MPH, MS, Professor". Archived from the original on 2012-07-12. Retrieved 2013-10-09.
  6. ^ Yerman, Marcia (28 December 2009). "An Interview with Dr. Diane M. Harper, HPV Expert". Huffington Post. Retrieved 8 August 2013.
  7. ^ "Diane Medved Harper". Second Opinion (TV series). Retrieved 13 August 2013.
  8. ^ https://ihpi.umich.edu/our-experts/harperdi
  9. ^ https://www.rogelcancercenter.org/news/archive/hpv-specialist-diane-harper-lead-community-outreach-efforts-cancer-center
  10. ^ "Appointment of Four New U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Members". U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. February 2016. Retrieved 10 February 2016.
  11. ^ Ben Goldacre. "Cancer jab fantasy closes down a debate". the Guardian.
  12. ^ Chustecka, Zosia (9 August 2008). "HPV Vaccine Deemed Safe and Effective, Despite Reports of Adverse Events". Medscape Today. Retrieved 8 August 2013.
  13. ^ Crank “scientific” conferences: A parody of science-based medicine that can deceive even reputable scientists and institutions, Science Based Medicine
  14. ^ Knox, Richard (19 September 2011). "HPV Vaccine: The Science Behind the Controversy". NPR. Retrieved 8 August 2013.
  15. ^ "HPV: A Complicated Vaccine". MDNews. 1 July 2013. Archived from the original on 18 July 2013. Retrieved 9 August 2013.
  16. ^ "Was the HPV Vaccine Responsible for One Girl's Death?" (video) Archived 2014-03-17 at the Wayback Machine. Katie. December 4, 2013. KatieCouric.com.
  17. ^ "Should Your Son or Daughter Get the HPV Vaccine?" (video) Archived 2014-03-17 at the Wayback Machine. Katie. December 4, 2013. KatieCouric.com.
  18. ^ a b The South African human papillomavirus vaccination programme for grade 4 girls: facts and fallacies, Rosemary J. Burnett, South African Vaccination and Immunisation Centre, Department of Virology, University of Limpopo
  19. ^ Specter, Michael (2009). Denialism : How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet, and Threatens Our Lives. PenguinPress. p. 7.
  20. ^ Gorski, David (7 November 2011). "The Greater Good: Pure, unadulterated anti-vaccine propaganda masquerading as a 'balanced' documentary". Science Based Medicine. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  21. ^ DMS Roundup—September 2006
  22. ^ "TSHs Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene of Monaco Attend the 2013 Monte-Carlo Prix Femme de l'Année. (VIDEO)". royalcorrespondent.com. 8 May 2013.
  23. ^ "Awards". www.stfm.org.
  24. ^ "School of Medicine Professor Recognized Internationally - UMKC Today". info.umkc.edu.
  25. ^ "Outstanding Alum Award: Diane Medved Harper '76". Notre Dame de Sion. Retrieved 10 February 2016.

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