Skip to content

2021 Elections

SPER’s Executive Committee is comprised of eight officers and includes a President, a President-Elect, an Immediate Past-President, a Secretary, a Treasurer, four Members-at-Large, a Student Representative, and an International Representative. The 2021 Elections will include voting for the following positions:

  • President-Elect
  • Member-at-Large
  • Student Representative

2021 Members of SPER are entitled to one vote per category. Learn more about the candidates below.

Voting will conclude on May 10, 2021.


President-Elect Candidates

Emily Oken MD, MPH  (she/her/hers)

Alice Hamilton Professsor
Department of Population Medicine
Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute
Professor in the Department of Nutrition, Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health

I am absolutely delighted to be considered for President of the Society for Pediatric and Perinatal Epidemiologic Research.  I have attended SPER annual meetings since my fellowship almost 20 (!?!) years ago, and have been involved in abstract reviews, poster judging, and the program committee.  I am now looking forward to giving back more to SPER, my primary society home for the past two decades. 

Read more

Jaime Slaughter-Acey, MPH, PhD (she/her/hers)

Assistant Professor of Epidemiology
University of Minnesota, School of Public Health

I am honored to be nominated as President-Elect of the Society for Pediatric and Perinatal Epidemiologic Research (SPER). I have been a member of SPER since 2011. I am an active member and serve on the SPER Outreach committee. I am a perinatal epidemiologist by training, receiving my doctorate in Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Epidemiology from the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health in 2010. I completed a NIH T32 postdoctoral fellowship in perinatal epidemiology at Michigan State University (2011-2013). Currently, I am an Assistant Professor of Epidemiology and Community Health at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health.

I am the Principal Investigator of the Interdisciplinary Research Invested in Social Equity (I-RISE) Health Collaboratory, which aims to integrate social science literature with epidemiologic and system science methods to study of systemic racism, both structural and cultural, and its role in creating health inequities in MCH. My work, supported by the Russell Sage Foundation (PI: Slaughter-Acey) and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (1R21HL150424 PI: Slaughter-Acey), investigates the social significance of skin color as a driver of prepregnancy cardiometabolic health and birth outcomes for Black women. Notably, I won the Matilda White Riley Early Investigator Paper Award by NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Science Research for my research on skin tone bias, racial discrimination, and access to prenatal care.

Read more

Member-at-Large Candidates

Izzuddin M. Aris, PhD (he/him/his)

Assistant Professor
Department of Population Medicine
Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute

I am a lifecourse epidemiologist and currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Population Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute. I earned my BSc in Biomedical Sciences with 2nd upper class honors in 2010, and PhD in Epidemiology in 2015, both from the National University of Singapore. As a doctoral student, I was awarded a university-sponsored scholarship to conduct my research examining the early-life determinants of childhood growth and body composition using data from a prospective birth cohort in Singapore. Upon graduating in 2015, I served as a postdoctoral fellow at the Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences, Singapore, where I continued my work in quantifying the relationships of pre-, peri- and postnatal risk factors with important childhood health outcomes. In 2017, I received a highly competitive university-sponsored fellowship from Singapore to support my advanced postdoctoral training at the Department of Population Medicine, Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute.

My research focuses on the paradigm of the developmental origins of health and disease, with an overall goal of quantifying the extent to which early life risk factors at critical developmental periods during the lifecourse affect important health outcomes. 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

Theresa Chapple-McGruder, PhD, MPH (she/her/hers)

Health Scientist
Health Resources and Services Administration
Maternal and Child Health Bureau
Maternal and Women’s Health Branch

I am a reproductive and perinatal epidemiologist motivated by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s assertion, “Nothing can be more important to a state than its public’s health; the state’s paramount concern should be the health of its people.”  To this end, I have spent my entire career, spanning 13 years, as an applied epidemiologist working mainly in governmental settings or for institutions with the stated objective of supporting governmental public health. My research focal areas are: 1) Addressing negative sequela of pregnancy for birthing people, fetuses, and infants; 2) Identifying skills, needs, and abilities necessary to have a highly functioning, well-trained, governmental public health workforce. The two may seem like distinctly different research areas, however my goal is to show the direct connection between our nation’s ability to experience optimal birth outcomes to the skills and competencies needed within our governmental public health workforce.

Read more

Helen B. Chin, PhD (she/her/hers)

Assistant Professor
Department of Global and Community Health
George Mason University

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 an Assistant Professor in the Department of Global and Community Health at George Mason University. My research is focused on investigating endocrine disrupting exposures that adversely affect the reproductive health of women and girls. I am especially interested in how exogenous hormonal exposures affect ovarian development and function from the minipuberty of infancy through the reproductive years.

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. In 2019 I joined the SPER Program Committee and have continued to serve on that committee each year. Now, I am excited about the opportunity to serve in a greater capacity by working with the SPER Executive Committee and overseeing communications for the Society.

Kristen M Rappazzo, MPH PhD (she/her/hers)

Office of Research and Development, Center for Public Health and Environmental Assessment, Public Health and Environmental Systems Division
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

I am an epidemiologist with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, where I conduct policy-relevant research focusing on air pollution and birth outcomes. I earned my MPH from Drexel University Dornsife School of Public Health, and my PhD from the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health. Between my degree programs, I gained valuable experience as an ASPH fellow at the EPA, working on a pilot program in support of the developing National Children’s Study; this is also when I first learned of and joined SPER. My interests in reproductive, perinatal, and pediatric health began even before my interest in epidemiology, when I worked in a neurodevelopmental toxicology lab studying the effects of metal and dioxin exposures.

I have developed a broad research program focused on addressing existing uncertainties to further the EPA’s mission to protect environmental public health. Much of my work has examined air pollution exposure and health effects, especially birth outcomes, in support of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). In addition, I was recruited to contribute to high-profile EPA assessments related to PM2.5, Ozone and PFAS due to my expertise in the relationship between these environmental pollutants and birth outcomes, effects on reproductive hormones, and neurodevelopmental outcomes. I have built and maintain strong collaborations with a variety of colleagues, including many members of SPER, which have enabled me to include diverse perspectives in my research and broaden my expertise. One of the most enjoyable parts of my work life is the time I spend mentoring and guiding up-and-coming epidemiologists through the EPA’s volunteer, fellowship, and student contractor programs. My enthusiasm for engaging with other perinatal and pediatric epidemiologists is my motivation for pursuing the Member-at-Large position. 

Read more

Student Representative Candidates

Luther-King Fasehun, MD, MSc (he/him/his)

Epidemiology PhD Student,

Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics,

Temple University,

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

I am excited by the opportunity to be considered for the position of Student Representative (2021-2022) at the Society for Pediatric and Perinatal Epidemiologic Research (SPER), and I would like to humbly encourage my colleagues to cast their vote in my support, as I look forward to being a very broad-reaching and impactful representative of the community of students and post-docs within SPER. I have had the great privilege to serve as a Member of the Digital Engagement Committee (DEC) of SPER since the first year of my PhD studies in 2019, and I have helped organized the session on ‘Improving health communication: now, more than ever before,’ which brought an excellent mix of an epidemiologist, a newspaper editor, and an economist to the discussion table.

I initially trained as a medical doctor at the University of Lagos in Nigeria (graduated in 2008), then worked for a few years as a physician before proceeding to a Master’s degree in International Healthcare Management, Economics, and Policy – with a specialization in Global Health and Development (graduated in 2012). In the past decade of my career, I have had the opportunity to serve as a Country Director of a non-governmental organization (NGO) in sub-Saharan Africa, managing maternal and child health projects in Uganda, Ghana and Nigeria; served as a resident Policy Leaders Fellow (post-doc) at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy; and progressed in my current PhD training, focused on perinatal, pediatric and reproductive epidemiological research. In all, I have made crucial submissions at several national, regional and global platforms, spread across New York, Lusaka, Addis Ababa, San Francisco, Cape Town, Washington DC, Dubai, Copenhagen, Casablanca, Geneva, Kano, Houston, Abuja, Florence, Kuala Lumpur, Milan, Philadelphia and New Delhi, to audiences as varied as the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), the African Union, the Global Philanthropy Forum, the World Health Organization, the Nigerian Government, the World Bank Group, and Girls Not Brides: the Global Partnership to End Child Marriage.

Read more