Holly N. Thomas, MD, MS

  • Assistant Professor of Medicine

Holly N. Thomas, MD, MS, is Assistant Professor of Medicine. Dr. Thomas seeks to conduct innovative, interdisciplinary, patient-centered clinical research that will improve the health and quality of life of women across the lifespan. In particular, she is interested in understanding the physical and psychosocial factors that contribute to sexual dysfunction in midlife and older women and using this understanding to develop effective behavioral health interventions. Improving the quality of care and reducing disparities for midlife women within primary care settings is another focus of her research. Additionally, she studies mindfulness-based interventions for the treatment of common problems, such as chronic pain and sexual dysfunction.

Dr. Thomas is on Twitter: follow her at @holly_n_thomas. Outside of work, she enjoys knitting projects to give to friends and family, exploring Pittsburgh’s parks, and cuddling with her pug, Rocky.

Education & Training

  • BA (Renaissance Studies), Yale University, 2005
  • MD, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, 2009
  • Residency (Internal Medicine), UCLA Medical Center, 2012
  • Fellowship (General Internal Medicine), University of Pittsburgh / VA Pittsburgh Health System, 2014
  • MS (Clinical Research), University of Pittsburgh, 2014

Representative Publications

Thomas HN, de Cameron F, Yabes J, Brotto L, Thurston RC. A pilot randomized controlled trial of a virtual, group-based mindfulness intervention for midlife and older women with low libido. Journal of Sexual Medicine. In press. 2023.

We conducted a pilot randomized controlled trial of a vritually delivered, mindfulness-based group intervention for midlife and older women with low libido compared to an active control group. Women in the mindfulness group were more likely to recommend it to another woman with low libido. Women randomized to mindfulness had greater improvements in sexual distress compared to women in the education group.

Thomas HN, Hamm M, Krishnamurti T, Hess R, Borrero S, Thurston RC. "How much desire should I have?": A qualitative study of low libido in postmenopausal women. J Women Aging. 2022;34(5):659-57.

We conducted 15 interviews and 3 focus groups among women 60 and older with low libido to better understand the role that it plays in their lives. Women reported sex was an important aspect of their lives, and they desired to know what was "normal" with regards to sexuality and aging. Women were distressed by low libido, concerned that it could have negative effects on romantic relationships and self-image.

Thomas HN, Hamm M, Hess R, Borrero S, Thurston RC. "I want to feel like I used to feel": A qualitative study of causes of low libido in postmenopausal women. Menopause. 2020;27(3):289-294.

We used qualitative methods to explore older women's perceptions of causes of low libido. The common factors women discussed included postmenopausal vaginal symptoms, erectile dysfunction in male partners, fatigue and bodily pain, life stressors, and body image concerns.

McCarty ME, Thomas HN. Differences in patient-reported hormone therapy use for menopause symptoms by provider specialty. Climacteric. 2021:10-5.

This study aimed to determine whether tehre is different prevalence of HT use based on patient report by women who see different provider specialties. Women who ever see a gynecologist are more likely to use HT for menopausal symptoms, but fewer women see gynecologists as they age.

Click here for a more complete bibliography of Dr. Thomas’s works.

Research Interests

  • Women’s health
  • Menopause
  • Sexual function
  • Mindfulness