SPER’s Executive Committee is comprised of eight officers and includes a President, a President-Elect, an Immediate Past-President, a Secretary, a Treasurer, and four Members-at-Large, a Student Representative, and an International Representative. The 2020 Elections will include voting for the following positions:
- Student Representative
- International Representative
2020 Members of SPER are entitled to one vote per category. Learn more about the candidates below.
Voting will conclude on May 8th.
Voting is now closed.
Lisa M. Bodnar, PhD, MPH, RD
Professor and Vice Chair for Research
Department of Epidemiology
University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health
I love SPER! SPER is my intellectual home. I’ve been coming to the annual meeting since 2002 (yes, I am old), and it has always been my favorite place to interact with great scientists, be exposed to new and interesting epidemiology, and feel a sense of community. I have found SPER to be the premier place to present my research and receive critical feedback.
If you don’t know me, I study maternal nutrition and adverse birth outcomes. My degrees are from the University of North Carolina, and I’ve held a faculty position at the University of Pittsburgh since 2005. I’ve been fortunate enough to have collaborated with amazing colleagues and mentors to generate new knowledge in nutritional and perinatal epi. I could list other accomplishments, but won’t you be bored?
I am excited for the opportunity to lead this wonderful society. I promise I won’t become a fascist dictator. It would be cool if you voted for me, but I’m sure whoever we elect will be great head to our organization!
Stephen E. Gilman, ScD
Senior Investigator and Chief, Social and Behavioral Sciences Branch, Division of Intramural Population Health Research
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
There has not been a more important time in our careers to be working as population health scientists. The pandemic’s immediate toll on morbidity and mortality will very likely be surpassed by its long-term impact on exacerbating problems that are core to SPER’s mission: maternal mortality, race and ethnic disparities in preterm birth, and enduring effects of economic recession on child development and child mortality to name a few.
Professional societies, including SPER, do have and should have an even greater role to play in our work as epidemiologists to address emergent public health crises particularly as they become superimposed on long-standing contributors to disease burden. My vision for the presidency of SPER is to build on our Society’s three decades of accomplishments to further enhance the value of SPER to its members. I hope to achieve this by working with our outstanding committee members and liaisons to support the career development of junior scientists and public health practitioners and to support SPER members at all career stages in their efforts to advance methodologic and etiologic research addressing the health of parents and children, communicate epidemiologic research to the public, and to advocate for the translation of epidemiologic evidence into prevention and policy. Read more
SPER’s members have made groundbreaking discoveries in the areas of pediatric and perinatal research, and in its 30+ year history SPER has become the leading forum for addressing methodologic problems in our field. Together we can leverage these accomplishments to further enhance the value of SPER membership by increasing the diversity of SPER membership, providing expanded opportunities for SPER members to participate in our Society’s activities, and increasing engagement efforts with other professional societies that are closely aligned with our core mission.
My own work in the fields of social and developmental epidemiology has focused on understanding the early life origins of health disparities. My colleagues and I have sought to understand the role of stress and immune-related physiology during pregnancy in contributing to the intergenerational transmission of health inequalities, the role of the early environment on neurodevelopment, and the resulting lifelong consequences for common mental disorders which include shortened life expectancy through suicide and other causes.
My research takes place at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, where I have the tremendous opportunity to serve as Chief of the Social and Behavioral Sciences Branch. Prior to joining NICHD, I served on the faculty of Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences and the Department of Epidemiology. My current and past professional service includes co-chairing the Diversity & Inclusion Committee of SER, serving as councilor of the American Psychopathological Association, Associate Editor of American Journal of Epidemiology, and serving as an appointed member of the Behavioral Genetics and Epidemiology study section. These service commitments have provided some of the most rewarding activities of my professional career. If elected, I would be passionate about serving as SPER President and working with SPER leaders, committee members, and membership at large to advancing our common mission.
Member at Large Candidates
Helen B. Chin, PhD
IRTA Postdoctoral Fellow
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
I would be honored to serve as SPER Member-at-Large. SPER and its members have provided me with mentorship, networking, and research opportunities – all of which have nurtured my development as a reproductive epidemiologist. I have gained so much from my SPER membership; I look forward to the opportunity to give back to the Society as Member-at-Large.
Currently I am a postdoctoral fellow in the Women’s Health Group, Epidemiology Branch, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). At NIEHS, I investigate environmental exposures that adversely affect the reproductive health of women and girls, as well as their offspring. My most recent research focuses on understanding the minipuberty of infancy and how environmental exposures influence reproductive hormone and ovarian anatomical changes that occur in early life. Read more
I have been an active member of SPER since 2012 when I joined as an epidemiology PhD student at the Emory University Rollins School of Public Health. Every year, I look forward to attending the annual meeting, reviewing abstracts, and presenting oral and poster presentations. After several years of meeting attendance, I wanted to become more involved in SPER. In 2019 and 2020 I joined the SPER Program Committee selecting topics for the plenary sessions and abstracts for oral presentations. Now, I am excited about the opportunity to serve the Society in a greater capacity by working with the SPER Executive Committee and coordinating abstract submission for the annual meeting.
Audrey J. Gaskins, ScD
Department of Epidemiology
Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University
I am currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. Prior to moving south, I completed my doctoral and post-doctoral training in nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. This training was preceded by a two-year fellowship in the Department of Epidemiology at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development- where as a naïve post-college graduate, my interest in reproductive epidemiology bloomed.
My research is aimed at elucidating how environmental, dietary, and lifestyle factors experienced throughout the life course influence reproductive health in men and women. I enjoy utilizing both traditional and alternative study designs to address these complex research questions from a range of unique perspectives. In addition to my research interests, I am also passionate about teaching and mentoring the next generation of epidemiologists. I have had many fabulous mentors during my career and will always feel the need to pay it forward. Read more
Since my first SPER meeting in 2009 as a post baccalaureate fellow, I have been a regular and active member – only missing one meeting during that span due to the birth of my first child. Throughout the past 10 years, SPER has consistently been the meeting I look forward to the most where I can reconnect with colleagues and catch up on advances in the field. I would be honored to serve as SPER Member-at-large and work with the Executive committee to continue developing innovative and engaging content for members.
Angela M. Malek, PhD, MPH
Department of Public Health Sciences
Medical University of South Carolina
Angela M. Malek is a Research Assistant Professor of Epidemiology in the Department of Public Health Sciences at the Medical University of South Carolina. Dr. Malek received MPH and PhD degrees in epidemiology from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. Her work is focused primarily on understanding the impact of hypertensive disorders of pregnancy on maternal long-term risk of cardiovascular disease and poor birth and long-term offspring outcomes and examining potential racial/ethnic differences. Dr. Malek’s research interests include child and maternal health, women’s health, health disparities, and the epidemiology of neurological disorders including ALS and stroke.
It is a privilege and honor to be nominated for the Member-at-Large position. While I have been a member of SER for several years, I recently joined SPER and would welcome the opportunity to serve as Member-at-Large and become more involved with the Society’s activities. If elected, I look forward to working closely with the Executive Committee and the Individual Committees to further advance the mission of SPER, assist with planning the annual meeting, and coordinate abstract submission. I am also interested in discussing and helping to organize new, online education initiatives as well as professional development and networking opportunities to foster research collaborations.
Wei Perng, PhD, MPH
Assistant Professor, Department of Epidemiology
Assistant Director, Life Course Epidemiology of Adiposity and Diabetes (LEAD) Center
Colorado School of Public Health, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus
Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Nutritional Sciences
University of Michigan School of Public Health
I am an Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at the Colorado School of Public Health, where I also serve as Assistant Director of ‘Omics Research at the Lifecourse Epidemiology of Adiposity and Diabetes (LEAD) Center. My day-to-day is immersed in pediatric and perinatal epidemiology, from my research on early origins of childhood obesity, to my commitment in training the next generation of life course and perinatal epidemiologists through didactic coursework and mentorship. Since joining SPER as a student member over a decade ago, this society has been a rich source of professional insight and collaboration, and a friendly venue within which to present research findings. I have enjoyed reviewing abstracts, presenting my work, networking with peers, and connecting with new and old mentors at the collegiate annual meetings. Now, I seek the opportunity to become more actively involved by running for the position of Member-At-Large 2020-2024. I feel that I am well-suited for this position given my longstanding participation and familiarity with SPER, in conjunction with the varied and relevant roles I have taken on in other professional societies – including serving as the student/postdoc representative in charge of young professional networking events, and more recently, acting as the scientific program director for a caucus. Read more
Maria D. Politis, DrPH, MPH
Arkansas Center for Birth Defects Research and Prevention
Department of Epidemiology
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
I would be honored to serve as the SPER Member-At-Large. I am currently completing my second year of my post-doctoral fellowship in perinatal and birth defects epidemiology. My interests have always been in maternal and child health, specifically birth defects since my doctoral program. I received my DrPH from the University of Kentucky and my MPH from Georgia Southern University. I am a newer member of SPER.
Since joining SPER, I have learned so much, not only in terms of perinatal and pediatric topics, but also new methods and analyses, as well as connecting with other SPER members. I am also a part of the SPER Trainee Working Group. I am eager to work with SPER and to expand on its mission foster pediatric and perinatal epidemiologic research. I would like to be more involved and believe this is the best opportunity to do so. I would be honored to serve as the Member-At-Large for the SPER organization.
Student Representative Candidates
Nedghie Adrien, MPH
PhD Student, Epidemiology
Boston University School of Public Health
I would be honored to be the student representative for SPER. I have greatly benefitted from being a member of SPER and would be thrilled to have the opportunity to serve on the executive committee
A little about me. I am a 2nd PhD student in the Epidemiology department at Boston University. My current research focuses on investigating risk factors for limb reduction defects, adverse pregnancy outcomes and cardiovascular disease in underrepresented populations as well as understanding the use of novel methods to address bias issues in case control studies. I also work as an analytic intern at the Center for Birth Defects Research and Prevention at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. There I will work on exploring issues of time biases in drug exposures and birth defects, as well as identifying methodological challenges of quantifying multiple components of risk factors. Ultimately, my goal is to contribute to research on reducing disparities in pregnancy outcomes, as well as research on the effects of the timing and exposure to pharmaceutical products during pregnancy. Read more
In my capacity as student representative for SPER, I would like to amplify various avenues and platforms to engage in discussions on disparities and equity, particularly in perinatal outcomes. Specifically, my goal would be to invite more speakers and researchers that focus on incorporating a social justice lens in their work. I would like to include workshops and webinars to discuss career options outside of academia, developing ideas for grants and mental health/self-care during graduate school. I would also be interested in fostering a peer-mentorship program because we have so much to learn from each other. Furthermore, I want to build on previous efforts to increase student engagement, by promoting #SPERTwitterTakeovers, fashioned after the SER social media takeovers. Those have presented a unique way to hear from different voices and engage with colleagues in a refreshing way.
Sonia Grandi, MSc PhD
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
National Institutes of Health
As a member of SPER for the last 5 years, I have benefited from this tremendous community of researchers. During this time, I have had the opportunity to present my work, to engage in stimulating discussions, and to develop valuable collaborations. The society continues to provide its members with a forum to discuss epidemiological methods and contemporary issues facing our field. As a doctoral student, the activities and resources of the SPER were an integral part of my training. As such, I would be thrilled to contribute to the continued success of the Society as the Student Representative.
I recently completed my PhD at McGill University in perinatal epidemiology. My dissertation examined the contribution of pregnancy complications to the prediction of cardiovascular disease in women of reproductive age. This work provided substantial and methodological contributions to risk prediction in perinatal epidemiology and the long-term cardiovascular health of women. These contributions include an etiologic study examining the cumulative effect of hypertensive disorders of pregnancy on subsequent cardiovascular disease, a synthesis of the literature regarding the association between pregnancy complications and subsequent cardiovascular disease, a methodological assessment of the influence of repeat pregnancies for the prediction of long-term outcomes, and the development and validation of a prognostic model to assess the 5-year risk of cardiovascular disease in women of reproductive age. I am currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development of the National Institutes of Health, where I am investigating the influence of reproductive history on long-term mortality in women and children. Read more
Over the last two years, I have been involved in SPER as a member of the program committee and over the last year as a member of the Digital Engagement Committee. I would like to use this experience to continue to serve the Society as the Student Representative. In this role, I want to ensure that the needs and interests of the students are heard. For the methods workshop, I plan to poll the members for feedback on the topic and format. I will also ensure that student feedback is communicated back to the executive committee. I look forward to the opportunity to serve as the Student Representative for 2020-2021.
Danielle Stevens, PhD
Division of Intramural Population Health Research
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
I am excited to be a considered for the role of SPER student representative for the upcoming year! As an active member of SPER since 2016, I am very familiar with the organization’s activities and trainee resources. Furthermore, in the past year I began serving as a member of the SPER Communications and Trainee committees. I have greatly enjoyed these opportunities to serve and am eager to serve the SPER community in a different capacity as the Student Representative.
I have a diverse background in pediatric and perinatal epidemiology, having begun my research career as an undergraduate student working on a nutritional school-based participatory research project. Since then, I have worked with all types of data and across many contexts – both locally and globally – all with the goal of improving maternal and child health. I am currently an IRTA fellow at the NICHD, where my research focuses on the impact of maternal chronic diseases, such as asthma and obesity, on pregnancy outcomes and offspring health. This is an extension of my dissertation work, which revolved around the impacts of maternal obesity and diabetes on offspring health. My primary research interests involve the developmental origins of health and disease hypothesis, specifically the impact of maternal health and the environment on short- and long-term offspring health and development. Read more
SPER has a wealth of resources available for trainees – and more are being provided every year – but information about these resources and engagement of trainees with these resources can be improved. Thus, if elected, I have two primary goals as Student Representative. The first is to improve communication with trainees to ensure they are aware of SPER opportunities that will help advance their careers (i.e. job board postings, methods webinars, grant writing seminars). My second goal is to increase student and postdoctoral engagement at the meeting and throughout the year. Through these goals, I hope to advance the careers of SPER trainees from all disciplines and backgrounds.
International Representative Candidates
Siri E. Håberg, MD PhD
Centre for Fertility and Health
Norwegian Institute of Health
I feel honored to be nominated for the role of International Representative of the SPER Executive Committee. SPER has grown to be my favorite research society, and the annual meeting is now my top priority of international meetings to attend. The meeting is not only a scientific feast, it is also THE place to meet colleagues and discuss new research opportunities.
Perinatal epidemiology is an important research field in Norway. Norwegian researchers have been part of SPER for a long time, and Norwegian researchers have been represented in nearly all meetings. I am looking forward to keeping the Norwegian SPER-tradition alive, and I will work hard to promote SPER to my European and other international colleagues. I have a broad international network from leading international research teams and consortia, with research focus on preventable causes on adverse outcomes of pregnancy, and on maternal and child health. My research includes studies where we have evaluated nutrition, supplements, vaccinations, safety of medications during pregnancy, and infections in pregnancy and childhood. I have been privileged to been able to use data from large cohort studies with biological analyses, and also data from a range of national registries. Read more
I am a physician and epidemiologist with a longstanding research interest in perinatal epidemiology. I am currently the deputy director of the newly established Centre for Fertility and Health, a new Centre of Excellence granted the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. This research centre is an interdisciplinary research center focusing on changes in fertility and family structures during the past decades, combining epidemiology, demography, genetics and medicine. My research interest is in fertility problems, assisted reproductive technologies and causes of unsuccessful pregnancies.
Gizachew Tessema, PhD, MPH, BScPH
Research Fellow, Perinatal and Reproductive Epidemiology
School of Public Health, Curtin University, Australia
It would be a privilege to serve as the International Representative of the SPER Executive Committee and welcome the opportunity to make a positive contribution to the global reach of SPER in this role. I started following the very informative conference outputs from the SPER annual meeting since few years ago and it was a great privilege to be a regular member of SPER. I found out SPER successfully spans and provides the breadth of reproductive, perinatal and pediatric content and epidemiological rigor in study design and advanced methods.
My research qualifications include an undergraduate degree in Public Health, a MPH (Reproductive and Child Health) awarded in 2012 from the University of Gondar in Ethiopia followed by a PhD from the University of Adelaide in 2018. I then moved to Western Australia to hold a Research Fellow position in Perinatal and Reproductive Epidemiology at the School of Public Health, Curtin University. I also hold an honorary Research Fellow position at the University of Adelaide, Australia and University of Gondar in Ethiopia. Recently, with the aim to further consolidate and expand my international collaboration in perinatal and reproductive epidemiology, I won two inter-related fellowships – the Charter Hall Collaboration Award from the Raine Medical Foundation and the Gro Harlem Brundtland Visiting Scholarship at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. Following these awards, I am spending three months conducting perinatal research as a Visiting Scientist in Norway before I return to my academic position in Australia. Read more
My program of research widely focuses on perinatal and reproductive health. I investigate the effect of interpregnancy interval on the effect of adverse perinatal outcomes using an international perinatal cohort of >11 million births obtained from Australia, Norway, Finland, and United States. As an integral member the Global Burden of Diseases (GBD) team led by the University of Washington, I have been contributing toward the development and update of GBD methodologies, manuscript development and dissemination of results on the global and national burden of maternal, early neonatal and child mortality. Related to this, I also founded and led a national burden of diseases team investigating the trends and burdens of perinatal and child mortality in low-and middle-income setting.
I am a member of several professional associations including the Australian Epidemiology Association. In 2018, I served as an advisory committee of the Consortium of Universities in Global Health. I am a member of the perinatal epidemiology group in Western Australia, which includes over 30 early career researchers (ECRs) and leading perinatal epidemiologists. As part of this team, we meet regularly on a quarterly basis to discuss on research findings and methods in perinatal epidemiology.
Considering my extensive collaboration in Australia, Europe (Norway, Finland, and United Kingdom), United States, and Africa (Ethiopia and Kenya), and working on the perinatal epidemiology, as International Representative, I will use my own national and international networks and links to promote the Society and increase membership and involvement. This includes promoting the aims and visions of the SPER in the 2020 World Epidemiology Congress to be held in Australia. The role will also provide me with an opportunity to represent early career researchers internationally. If my application is successful, I would be happy to commit time and effort toward helping SPER achieve its vision and objectives.
I am also passionate about supporting doctoral students specialising in the fields of perinatal and reproductive epidemiology. I will use this experience to identify opportunities within the SPER Committee to develop initiatives to promote career development, mentoring and inclusion of ECRs, particularly those from overseas in the planning of the annual meeting and enhancement of the Society, more broadly.
Through both the annual meeting and conferences, I would seek to promote international engagement via a number of initiatives, including student and ECRs exchanges, foster hosting of international satellite meetings or workshops, and continue to conduct international comparative studies.
Erinn M. Hade, PhD
Departments of Biomedical Informatics and Obstetrics & Gynecology
The Ohio State University
I would be honored and excited to serve as SPER Treasurer. While my primary training is in biostatistics, having received my MS degree in biostatistics from the University of Washington and PhD from The Ohio State University, research and applications in perinatal and pediatric health have been a long standing focus. Prior to graduate training I had the opportunity to investigate the accuracy of birth records and to work with researchers from the Center for Research on Child-Wellbeing and the Fragile Families & Child Wellbeing Study.
Currently I am an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Biomedical Informatics and Obstetrics & Gynecology and Program leader for Population studies in the Center for Biostatistics, at The Ohio State University (OSU). As Program leader, I mentor and manage funding for a team of eight statisticians. Further, I co-lead the Maternal and Child Health research group, which brings together faculty, staff scientists and students with expertise in epidemiology, biostatistics, research and design methods. My research centers around development and evaluation of methods for study design and inference of observational and randomized trials focused on evaluating effectiveness of interventions as well as in methods for use of administrative data sources in maternal and child health. Read more
Over the past several years, I have been an active SPER member as an abstract reviewer, poster presenter, poster judge, and in 2019 serving on the Program Committee. In 2020, I became a Trainee Associate Editor for our society’s journal, the Journal of Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology. The annual meeting has provided me numerous opportunities to engage with new colleagues and to be exposed to the leading developments in the field. As Treasurer, I am eager to work with the Executive committee towards expanding membership and contact with current SPER members, developing opportunities for students, junior, and senior researchers, and in continued fiscal success of SPER!