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Gender- and relationship-inclusive language in perinatal epidemiology: opportunities for increasing methodological and substantive precision

Tuesday May 21,2024
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM (EASTERN)

As non-normative family structures which have long existed become more societally visible, it is increasingly clear that experiences of the pregnancy and perinatal periods do not always occur within a simple model of two cisgender heterosexual parents raising their genetic children. Queer parents, transgender and gender non-conforming parents, and/or adoptive parents – and their children – may have gestational and neonatal periods that challenge traditional assumptions of reproductive and perinatal epidemiology: that gestational parents are women and mothers, that non-gestational parents are men and fathers, that “maternal” is a term specific to one parent in a household, and that primary caregivers during the neonatal period share genetic factors and/or gestational exposures in common with their infant children. Read more

"(C)2011 Photo by HCHO"
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2024 SPER Virtual Meeting

Tuesday, April 16th, 2024

Click HERE to Learn more about the SPER Virtual Meeting!


Symposium: Demystifying the Development of the SPER Program

November 28, 2023 | 12:00PM (Eastern)

Join us for an insightful webinar, where we unravel the intricacies of the SPER annual meeting program development, a collaborative effort involving dedicated members of the SPER community. We will navigate through various crucial aspects of program development, shedding light on what constitutes an exceptional abstract, abstract scoring, and the intricate process of assembling a captivating program. Our panel includes past members of the program committee, offering a wealth of knowledge and experience.

Izzuddin M Aris, PhD

Dr. Aris is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Population Medicine at the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute and Harvard Medical School. Read more

Collette N Ncube, DrPH, MS, MPH

Dr. Ncube is an Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at the Boston School of Public Health. Read more

Audrey Gaskins, ScD

Dr. Gaskins is an Associate Professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the Emory Rollins School of Public Health. Read more

Kristen Rappazzo, PhD, MPH

Dr. Rappazzo is a researcher at the EPA who works on projects investigating potential links between health outcomes—including birth defects, preterm birth, and mortality—and environmental exposures.

Stefanie N. Hinkle, PhD

Dr. Hinkle is an Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania. Read more

Symposium: Smokers, Breastfeeding, and Growth During Infancy

September 19, 2023 | 12:00PM (Eastern)

Whether breastmilk can potentially promote optimal growth among infants exposed to nicotine is a clinically significant question. Given that breastfeeding during infancy promotes optimal growth, it is reasonable to ask whether this benefit of breastfeeding extends to infants breastfed by smokers. However, in the decades since the American Academy of Pediatrics published its original guidelines for breastfeeding by smokers, and through their subsequent revisions, only three population-based studies have examined the synergy between the feeding method, maternal smoking, and growth during infancy.

Determining sequalae of breastfeeding by smokers, is complicated by the possibly obesogenic properties of smokers’ breastmilk. Thus, at least three interrelated questions emerge: 1) Do infants breastfed by smokers experience suboptimal growth? 2) Is any such suboptimal growth attributable to ingesting breastmilk of a smoker? 3) If so, what are clinical ramifications of ingesting breastmilk of a smoker on growth during infancy? We answer these questions and detail solutions for promoting smoking cessation among postpartum mothers.

Edmond D. Shenassa, University of Maryland, College Park

Shenassa, a professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics and Maternal and Child Health, investigates Developmental Origins of Health and Disease.

Xiazhong Wen, State University of New York at Buffalo.

Wen, an associate professor of Behavioral Medicine, investigates smoking prevention and cessation, pediatric obesity prevention, and cardio-metabolic conditions, focusing on maternal and child health,. 

Mary K. Shelley, University of Maryland, College Park.

Shelley is a data scientist investigating Developmental Origins of Health and Disease.

Andrew D. Williams, University of North Dakota

Williams, an assistant professor of population health, investigates structural inequalities and obstetric and pediatric health outcomes across the life span.

Thu Nguyen, University of Maryland, College Park

Nguyen, an associate professor of epidemiology and biostatistics, investigates modifiable social determinants of health among minority populations.

Webinar: Climate change and pregnancy and children's health

MAY 30, 2023 | 12:00 PM (Eastern Time)

Climate change is a global health crisis that is expected to have significant impacts on human health, while pregnant individuals and children are particularly vulnerable. Recent studies have suggested that extreme weather events, air pollution, and other climate-related factors may increase the risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes and childhood conditions. However, the field of air pollution, climate change, and children’s health is lacking robust evidence to inform air quality policy driven by EPA. In this webinar, existing evidence on climate change health effects on pregnancy and childhood will be presented and existing and new methods will be discussed. Possible ways to mitigate the health effects of climate change in the pregnant and pediatric populations will be analyzed with a particular focus on the role of clinicians and individuals.



Blair Wylie
Columbia University, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center




Grace Chan
Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, Boston Children’s Hospital




Tarik Benmarhnia
University of California San Diego



Stefania Papatheodorou
Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health


Webinar: SPC Journal Club

MAY 16, 2023 | 12:00 PM (Eastern Time)

The Student/Post-Doc Committee (SPC) invites you to a discussion with Dr. Thwaites from University College London  on postpartum contraception after in vitro fertilization (IVF). She will be discussing her recently published work “Contraception after in vitro fertilization (IVF): a qualitative study of the views of women who have had spontaneous pregnancies after successful IVF” published in Reproductive Health. There are many different reasons why women can have problems getting pregnant, and in a quarter of cases the cause is never found. Globally, over 8 million babies have been born using IVF. Some women, who have babies using IVF, get pregnant again afterward without fertility treatment. Getting pregnant again quickly, or when a woman isn’t ready, can have health consequences for the mother and the baby. Dr. Thwaites work aims to understand what contraception women need after IVF to plan and space their future pregnancies.



Annette Thwaites 
University College London



Menolly Kaufman, PhD MPH 
Center for Health Systems Effectiveness, Oregon Health & Science University



Bethany Rand, MS PhD Candidate
University of Tennessee Knoxville




Sara Stephens, PhD student
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

Use of Acetaminophen during pregnancy and neurodevelopmental issues among offspring. Should we be worried? What are the policy and clinical implications?

April 18, 2023 | 12:00pm  – 1:30pm (Eastern Time)

Over the past decade, there have been 25 prospective studies and the large majority have shown an association between acetaminophen use during pregnancy and a variety of neurodevelopmental issues among offspring that include attention deficit and autism spectrum disorders. A recent Consensus Statement published in Nature Reviews Endocrinology was supported by 91 scientists and summarized the findings concluding that acetaminophen use during pregnancy should be used “cautiously at the lowest effective dose for the shortest possible time”.  There has been limited support by professional societies and governmental agencies to align with this decision suggesting the evidence may not be sufficient to warn mothers and clinical providers about this risk. The purpose of this symposium will be to review the epidemiological and biological evidence that supports this association, the limitations present in the existing research, and the conflict between wanting to ensure causality without continuing to bring harm to those exposed while doing so.


Bernard Harlow Professor, Boston University, School of Public Health

Bernard Harlow Professor, Boston University, School of Public Health


“Overview of Seminar, Policy and Societal Implications”


Read more


David Kristensen, Professor of Molecular Physiology, University of Copenhagen

David Kristensen, Professor of Molecular Physiology, University of Copenhagen

“Biological rationale for the association between acetaminophen and neurodevelopmental disorders”


Read more


Mollie E Wood, Assistant Professor

Mollie E Wood, Assistant Professor


“Understanding potential bias in epidemiologic studies of prenatal acetaminophen using a target trial framework”


Read more


Rebecca Burch, MDUniversity of Vermont Larner College of Medicine.

Rebecca Burch, MDUniversity of Vermont Larner College of Medicine.

“Clinical Implications”


Read more


Zeyan Liew, Assistant Professor, Yale University School of Public Health

Zeyan Liew, Assistant Professor, Yale University School of Public Health

“Epidemiological studies of APAP exposure and child neurodevelopment”



Read more

Webinar: SPER Student & Post-Doc Research Talks

February 28, 2023 | 12:00 PM – 1:00PM (Eastern Time)

The SPER Student & Post-Doc Committee (SPC) invites you to four rapid talks from trainees in pediatric and perinatal epidemiology. Join us on February 28 at noon (eastern time) to hear novel research presentations that will not be represented at the 2023 annual meeting this June in Portland.


Lauren Tailor, University of Toronto
“Validating aspirin (ASA) use for preeclampsia prevention: a chart validation study”



Sara Stephens, University of Texas
“Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Pediatric Cardiac Arrest: A Population-Based Study of Houston, Texas”


Olivia Halabicky, University of Michigan
“Early Life Lead Exposure and Adolescent Biological Aging”


Julia Wilson-Peltier, University of North Dakota
“Examining systemic maternal child health inequities through an Indigenous lens using the social-ecological model”



Menolly Kaufman, PhD MPH 
Center for Health Systems Effectiveness, Oregon Health & Science University

Webinar: SPER Open Listening Session

February 7, 2023 | 3:00 PM – 4:30PM (Eastern Time)

Please join the SPER Equity Advisory Board for an Open Listening Session. We would love to hear feedback, questions, or suggestions on any topic related to equity, inclusion, and diversity related to SPER. This will be a listening session, with all voices welcome – please join us if you are current, past, or potential SPER member. We will establish ground rules for respectful conversation at the beginning of the meeting.  

Webinar: "Hypothetical interventions to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in phthalate exposure and the impact on preterm birth."

November 15, 2022 | 1:00 PM – 2PM (Eastern time)

The Pooled Phthalate and Preterm Birth Study is a collaboration between 16 U.S. cohorts to better understand the relationship between phthalates and preterm birth. In this webinar, we will describe the group’s work using this unique resource to understand the potential benefits of hypothetical interventions to reduce phthalate exposures during pregnancy. We will take an in-depth look at the critical role that racial and ethnic disparities in phthalate exposure may play on preterm birth in the U.S.


Barrett Welch


Kelly Ferguson


Ami Zota

Webinar: "Reproductive Health Research Post-Dobbs Decision"

October 18, 2022 | 1:00 PM – 2PM (Eastern time)

This will be a panel discussion that addresses questions such as:

  • How are reproductive health data collected through research potentially legal evidence?
  • What level of security and privacy can researchers give to their participants, whether the data are collected through a targeted research study or a menstrual cycle tracking app?
  • How will IRBs assess risk/benefits of research participation in this context?
  • How is clinical practice changing and what are the implications for data collection?

 If you would like to add to this list, click here ( to submit a question for the panel in advance.


Lisa C. Ikemoto


Elina Berglund Scherwitzl


Luke Gelinas


Kate Shaw


Sonia Grandi


Luther-King Fasehun

Webinar: "Describing Prenatal Exposures, and Evaluating Maternal and Infant Outcomes in Sentinel"

September 13, 2022 | 12:00PM – 1:00PM (EASTERN TIME)

Identifying and describing pregnancies in claims-based data sources presents logistical and inferential challenges. Read more


Jennifer Lyons


Mayura Shinde


Susan E. Andrade

Webinar: “The imperative for including pregnant women in vaccine trials: successes, challenges, and future avenues for vaccine trials in Africa ”

May 10, 2022, 10:00AM – 11:45AM (EASTERN TIME)


Kristin Wall, PhD, Department of Epidemiology, Emory University, USA

Overview of the history, rationale, and prior work in vaccine studies for pregnant populations 

Etienne Karita, MD, Center for Family Health Research, Rwanda

Evaluating safety and immunogenicity of an Ebola vaccine for pregnant women: considerations for trial design 

Sara Healy, MD, MPH, NIH/ National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), Laboratory of Malaria Immunology and Vaccinology, USA

Advancements toward development and testing a malaria vaccine for pregnant women in Africa: a path for a more inclusive vaccine R&D agenda 

Sonali Kochhar, MD, University of Washington, USA, Global Healthcare Consulting, India

Lessons learned from COVID-19 vaccines for pregnant women: Safety, efficacy, and effectiveness assessments 

Carleigh Krubiner, PhD, Center for Global Development, USA

Ethical issues with vaccine studies during pregnancy in Africa: COVID-19, Ebola, malaria, and other infections  

Jodie Dionne, MD, MSPH, Department of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), USA

A call to action to include pregnant persons in vaccine studies 

Recommended Readings:

  • Gomes et al. Protected to death: systematic exclusion of pregnant women from Ebola virus disease trials. Reprod Health.2017; 14(Suppl 3): 172.
  • Healy et al. Malaria vaccine trials in pregnant women: An imperative without precedent. Vaccine 2019. 37(6): 763-770.
  • Krubiner et al. Pregnant women & vaccines against emerging epidemic threats: Ethics guidance for preparedness, research, and response. Vaccine 2021. 39: 85-120.
  • Kochhar S, et al. Introduction of New Vaccines for Immunization in Pregnancy- Programmatic, Regulatory and Safety Considerations. Vaccine 2019, 37:25, 3267-3277. 
  • Kochhar S, et al. Immunization in pregnancy clinical research in low- and middle-income countries – Study design, regulatory and safety considerations. Vaccine. 2017;35(48 Pt A):6575-6581. 
  • Relevant Op-Eds:


Journal Club: “Chlamydia trachomatis Is Associated With Medically Indicated Preterm Birth and Preeclampsia in Young Pregnant Women”

April 20, 2022, 12:00PM – 1:00PM (EASTERN TIME)

Dr. Ashley Hill is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health at the University of Pittsburgh. Her research focuses on reproductive epidemiology, health disparities and the co-occurrence of social, environmental and biological factors that contribute to sexually transmitted infections and adverse pregnancy outcomes.

This event is sponsored by the SPER Student Committee and SER-SPC.

“Quantitative Bias Analysis: A fireside chat with Candice Johnson and Matthew Fox”

February 22, 2022, 12:00PM – 1:00PM (EASTERN TIME)

Settle down with a warm beverage and listen to our presenters discuss questions like: should quantitative bias analysis be required in (most?) epi studies? Should journals require it? Should peer reviewers ask for it? Should SPER emphasize it as a professional society? In what situations does it absolutely make a difference? This power point-free discussion will be open to questions from the audience.


Matthew Fox
Boston University


Candice Johnson
Assistant Professor
Duke University

“Careers & Networking Session for SPER Students & Post-Docs”

January 18, 2022, 12:00PM – 1:00PM (EASTERN TIME)

Most trainees (students and post-docs) in the fields of reproductive, perinatal, and pediatric epidemiology are usually excited about the variety of career opportunities available to them upon the completion of their training. However, very few have had the opportunity to discuss those career opportunities with a vast array of experts practicing in a variety of fields, at the same time. For some trainees, they struggle to find experts in the fields they are curious and/or excited about, who they can connect with, and who share similar academic and/or social backgrounds as them. In this Careers & Networking Session, SPER’s Students & Post-Doc Committee provides a rare opportunity for students and post-docs to meet a vast range of experts applying their epidemiology training to various aspects of women’s and children’s health. All are welcome to register to attend, regardless of SPER membership.


Justin Graves, MPH
Senior Technical Advisor
Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI)


Irene Headen, PhD, MS
Assistant Professor at Drexel University Dornsife School of Public Health


Zhiwen Liu, MD, MS, PhD
Director of Real World Research
The Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson


Purnima Madhivanan, MBBS, MPH, PhD
Associate Professor at Mel & Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health at the University of Arizona


Baker N. Maggwa, MD, MS
Senior Fellow/Advisor, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)


Luther-King O. Fasehun, MD, MSc
Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics,
Temple University

“How to peer review: an open Q & A with journal editors”

November 16, 2021, 12:00PM – 1:00PM (EASTERN TIME)


The peer review process can seem like a black box. As a reviewer, you may receive an invitation, give a review and even see the decision without getting any feedback on the utility of the review you provided. Are there components you absolutely should or should not include in your peer review? This panel includes editors from three top epidemiology journals. They will give their perspectives on how to give the most useful peer review, and address other issues in the peer review process including fairness, equity, and inclusion. Almost half of this webinar will be dedicated to YOUR questions and discussion, please come and share your questions about the peer review process.  


Sunni Mumford
University of Pennsylvania


Jonathan Snowden
Oregon Health & Science
Portland State University


Jennifer Zeitlin

Virtual Speed-Networking

June 17, 2021 – 3:00pm – 4:00pm (Eastern Time)

Network and connect virtually with your SPER experts and colleagues  at this speed-networking event! Join us in small group virtual breakout rooms as we connect with leaders in the field. You’ll have the opportunity to ask questions and hear advice from mentors at various career levels, as they discuss their career and professional development experiences.


Lisa Bodnar
University of Pittsburgh


Erika Braithwaite
Precision Analytics


Theresa Chapple-McGruder
Oak Park Department of Public health


Dominque Heinke
Center for Birth Defects research and Prevention, Massachusetts Department of Public Health


Penelope Howards
Emory University


Anne Marie Jukic
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences


Sunni Mumford
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development


Laura Schummers
University of British Columbia


Peter Tennant
University of Leeds, UK

Creating an online presence

May 25, 2021 – 12:00pm – 1:00pm (Eastern Time)

Our world is becoming more virtual, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, when physical presence is restricted. As epidemiologists, online platforms such as LinkedIn, Google scholar, and other social media e.g. twitter, may present an opportunity for us to share our work and ideas. However, how can we establish a strong presence online and use it to communicate effectively? Our panel of speakers will discuss and share their personal experiences on creating an online presence as epidemiologists.


Matthew Fox,
Boston University
Read more


Theresa Chapple-McGruder
Read more


Eleanor Murray,
Boston University
Read more


Ugochinyere Vivian Ukah,
McGill University
Read more

The role of wealth accumulation in Black-White preterm delivery disparities: a causal mediation analysis approach

May 18, 2021 – 1:00pm (Eastern Time)


Collette Ncube
Assistant Professor, Department of Health Sciences
Northeastern University


Jessie Buckley
Associate Professor
Department of Environmental Health & Engineering
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

The U.S. has the highest rate of preterm birth of all industrialized nations, as well as striking racial/ethnic disparities. I adopt the perspective that a racial group is defined through the social construction of race in the context of a hierarchical, racialized historical and contemporary context. The U.S. racial classification system is powerful and can define generational experiences of advantage or disadvantage for those groups, shaping multiple aspects of their lived experience. During this talk we will discuss the design and findings of our recent study estimating the potential effect of Child Development Accounts (an intervention to change the distribution of family wealth) on racial disparities in preterm delivery. Additionally, we will discuss opportunities and challenges to examining structural racism in epidemiology studies.

Suggested readings

Bailey ZD, Krieger N, Agénor M, Graves J, Linos N, Bassett MT. Structural racism and health inequities in the USA: evidence and interventions. Lancet. 2017 Apr 8;389(10077):1453-1463.

VanderWeele, Tyler J.; Robinson, Whitney R. On the Causal Interpretation of Race in Regressions Adjusting for Confounding and Mediating Variables, Epidemiology: July 2014 – Volume 25 – Issue 4 – p 473-484

New insights into environmental exposures and uterine leiomyomata

May 11, 2021 – 12:00pm-1:30pm (Eastern Time)


Ami Zota


Anna Pollack


Amelia Wesselink


Birgit Claus Henn


Traci N. Bethea

Identifying cardiovascular severe maternal morbidity in epidemiologic studies

April 21, 2021 – 12:00pm-1:00pm (Eastern Time)


Isabelle Malhamé
Assistant Professor, McGill University
Physician, Obstetric Medicine and General Internal Medicine
Department of Medicine
McGill University Health Centre

This event is co-sponsored by the Society of Epidemiologic Research (SER).

Obesity in Pregnancy

December 8, 2020 – 12:30pm-1:30pm (Eastern Time)

This session will explore the implications of maternal body mass index or obesity on pregnancy and offspring health. The presentations were selected from abstracts submitted to the SPER 2020 annual meeting.

Session Chair:

Elizabeth Widen
University of Texas at Austin


Taniqua Ingol
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
“Maternal Weight Trajectories from Pre-Pregnancy through Postpartum and Childhood Obesity Risk: A Latent Class Analysis Using a Large US Pregnancy Cohort”

Kimberly Glazer, PhD, MPH
“Term labor induction and cesarean delivery among obese women: Generalizability of evidence from low-risk populations”

Amy Nichols, MS, RD
University of Texas at Austin
“Increasing Prepregnancy Obesity Class in Twin Pregnancy is Associated with Decreased Gestational Weight Gain”

Ke Pan, MPH
Tulane University
“BMI-associated metabolic profiles and pathways in the 1st trimester serum”

Speed Poster Session - Obstetric Health

December 4, 2020 – 12pm-1pm (Eastern Time)

Susannah Leisher
“Prenatal exposure to maternal stress and leukocyte telomere length in newborns”

Erin Hetherington
“Birth outcomes and pregnancy complications after the 2013 Calgary flood: a difference in difference analysis”

Ellen Caniglia
“Policies mandating priority access to opioid use disorder treatment during pregnancy and buprenorphine prescriptions to women of childbearing age in the United States”

Mekhala Dissanayake
“Postpartum hospital encounters and complications among women with hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, California 2008-2012”

Diane Putnick
“Trajectories of depressive symptoms from four months to three years postpartum: Relations with demographic and perinatal factors”

Social and structural determinants of pregnancy health

December 2, 2020 – 2pm-3pm Eastern Time

The goal of this session is to explore the impact of social and structural factors on pregnancy health. The presentations were selected from abstracts submitted to the SPER 2020 annual meeting.

Session Chair:

Anne Marie Jukic


Brittany Rosen
University of Massachusetts
“The Association Between Neighborhood Poverty and Adverse Birth Outcomes in Hispanic Women”

Jaime Slaughter-Acey
University of Minnesota
“Ignoring the Cost of Color on Black Maternal Health: The Influence of Skin Color, Gendered Skin Tone Bias and Prepregnancy Body Mass Index.”

Liying Zhang
Wayne State University
“Intimate Partner Violence, Perceived Stress, and Substance Use among Pregnant Black Women”

Irene Headen
Drexel University
“Housing type and preconception health care utilization: Baseline associations prior to public housing redevelopment in San Francisco”

Stillbirths Count: Parent, provider, and epidemiological perspectives on stillbirth research

December 1, 2020 – 12:00pm-1:30pm (Eastern Time)

Stillbirth is a devastating and all-too-common outcome of pregnancy; worldwide around 2 million families lose a baby before birth, including 23,000 in the US, each year. Families often experience isolation and a lack of support, leading to substantial mental health burdens in the time following the stillbirth and in subsequent pregnancies. Despite the enormous burden of stillbirth, which falls disproportionately on Black families, the investment in research to identify causes and best care practices has only recently started to increase; large knowledge gaps remain. 

In the first part of this symposium, we will provide an overview of stillbirth and current research efforts to better understand the causes of stillbirth in the US. We will then discuss the challenges of stillbirth epidemiology. Next, parents will share their experience with stillbirth.

Following presentations (20 minutes) on these topics, we will have a 60-minute moderated panel discussion on the current state of stillbirth care, research, and policy, including the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on stillbirth risk and care, followed by an audience Q&A. 

Suggested Readings:

Stillbirth is more common than you think — and we’re doing little about it. Sarah Muthler, Washington Post.

Pruitt SM, Hoyert DL, Anderson KN, et al. Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Fetal Deaths — United States, 2015–2017. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2020;69:1277–1282. DOI:


Jodi Abbott, MD
Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialist
Boston Medical Center and Associate Professor
Read more

Lauren Christensen-Lindquist, PhD
Assistant Professor
Emory Rollins School of Public Health

Wes Duke, MD, MPH
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Medical Officer
National Center for Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities

Ruth Fretts, MD
Atrius Health and Assistant Professor
Harvard Medical School

Nneka Hall
Quietly United Together in Loss Campaign; Infant Loss Advocate
Read more

Dominique Heinke, ScD
Postdoctoral Fellow
Massachusetts Department of Public Health

Wendy Nembhard, PhD 
Professor and Chair
Department of Epidemiology and Director
Arkansas Center for Birth Read more


Sarah Muthler, MPH
Program Coordinator
North Carolina Division of Public Health
Read more

Mahsa Yazdy, PhD, Director
Center for Birth Defects Research and Prevention
Massachusetts Department of Public Health

Speed Poster Session - Pregnancy Health and Development

November 20, 2020 – 1pm-2pm (Eastern Time)

Ginna Doss
“Comparing Methods to Estimate Gestational Age and Assessing Predictors of Embryonic Growth in the Time to Conceive (TTC) Study”

Kathryn Wagner
“The Impact of a Lifestyle Intervention on Physical Activity among Latinas with a History of Abnormal Glucose Tolerance in Pregnancy: Estudio PARTO”

Jennifer Yland
“A prospective study of preconception asthma and spontaneous abortion”

Andrew Williams
“Joint effects of ethnic enclave residence and air pollution exposure on risk of gestational diabetes mellitus among Asian/Pacific Islander women in the United States”

Colleen Reynolds
“Unintended pregnancy among racial/ethnic and sexual minority college women: An application of a quantitative intersectional analysis”

Cesarean birth and maternal morbidity among Black women and White women after implementation of a blended payment policy

November 18, 2020 – 12pm-1pm (Eastern Time)

Jonathan M Snowden
Associate Professor
School of Public Health, Oregon Health & Science University/Portland State University
Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Oregon Health & Science University
Cesarean birth and maternal morbidity among Black women and White women after implementation of a blended payment policy

Sarah Osmundson, MD MS
Assistant Professor
Maternal-Fetal Medicine
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Cesarean Delivery Rates and Costs of Childbirth in a State Medicaid Program After Implementation of a Blended Payment Policy

Infectious Diseases and Pregnancy: old and new

November 17, 2020 – 1pm-2pm (Eastern Time)

Catherine L. Haggerty, MPH, PhD
Associate Professor, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh

Brandie DePaoli Taylor, MPH, PhD
Associate Professor, College of Public Health, Temple University


Deshayne Fell, PhD
Associate Professor
School of Epidemiology and Public Health
University of Ottawa Scientist
CHEO Research Institute

Ashley V. Hill, MPH, DrPH
Postdoctoral Scholar
Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Health
UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh

Annette Regan, PhD
Assistant Professor
School of Nursing and Health Professionals
University of San Francisco

Pregnancy-induced physiological changes can make pregnant women more susceptible to severe complications due to infections compared to non-pregnant populations. Furthermore, infections disrupt the receptive immunological state at the maternal-fetal interface. For example, viral infections can prime innate immune receptors leading to an excessive influx of pro-inflammatory cytokines in response to pathogenic and non-pathogenic bacteria in the genital tract. Read more

Register for the 2020 Advanced Methods Workshop

November 10, 2020 – 12pm-2pm (Eastern Time)

“Semi-competing risks: Accounting for death as a competing risk in public health research when the the outcome of interest is non-terminal.”

The workshop will provide an overview of semi-competing risks data analysis. Briefly, semi-competing risks corresponds to the setting where primary interest lies in some non-terminal event, the occurrence of which is subject to a terminal event. Although not as well-known as standard competing risks, semi-competing risks arise in any study of any event that is not mortality but where the force of mortality is strong. Read more

Sebastien Haneuse, PhD
Assistant Professor of Biostatistics
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Harrison Reeder
PhD Student
Biostatistics Department
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Speed Poster Session - Maternal Health

November 12, 2020 – 1pm-2pm (Eastern Time)

William Gardner
“Global, Regional, and National Coverage of Maternal Care Interventions: An Analysis from the 2019 Global Burden of Disease Study”

Laura Schummers
“Travel time to delivery facility and adverse maternal and perinatal outcomes”

Susitha Wanigaratne
“Severe maternal morbidity among asylum seekers in Ontario, Canada: a population-based study”

Diane Korb
“Risk of severe maternal morbidity in women with twin pregnancy according to the mode of conception”

Marit L. Bovbjerg
“Risk of perineal trauma by maternal birth position: a comparison of data from the US and the Republic of Ireland (RoI) for birth years 2012-2016”

Isabel Morgan
“Social Determinants of Health and Prevalence of Postpartum Visit Attendance – Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System, 2010-2017”

Speed Poster Session - Pediatric Health

November 12, 2020 – 2pm-3pm (Eastern Time)

Deshayne Fell
“Obstetric, perinatal and early childhood health outcomes following pertussis immunization during pregnancy in Ontario, Canada”

Izzuddin Aris
“Childhood Patterns of Overweight and Wheeze and Subsequent Risk of Current Asthma and Obesity in Adolescence: A comparison of Latent Class Growth Models and Inverse Probability Weighting of Marginal Structural Models.”

Julie Petersen
“Support for Nutritional Depletion in the Relation between Short Interpregnancy Intervals and Increased Birth Defect Risk”

Hannah E. Laue
“Prospective associations of the infant gut microbiome and microbial function with social behaviors related to autism at age three years”

Kristin Sznajder
“Prenatal Stress is Associated with Sleep and Attention Problems at 36 Months”

Speed Poster Session - Methods and Design

November 4, 2020 – 3pm-4pm (Eastern Time)

Lauren Rossen
“Rural-urban differences in maternal mortality trends in the US, 1999-2017: Accounting for the impact of the pregnancy checkbox”

Safyer McKenzie-Sampson
“Maternal nativity and risk of adverse perinatal outcomes in Black Women”

Michelle Dimitris
“Increased Risk of Gestational Diabetes in Twin Pregnancies is Not Primarily Mediated by Gestational Weight Gain”

Eugene Wong
“Residual Dried Blood Spots for Epidemiologic Studies of Birth Defects: Participation and Research Implications”

Megan Harvey
“Predictors of Postpartum Loss to Follow-up among At-Risk Latinas enrolled in a Pregnancy Lifestyle Intervention”

September 10, 2020 – 12pm-1pm (Eastern Time)
“Improving health communication: now, more than ever before”

Lee Badgett, PhD
Department of Economics
University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Author of The Public Professor: How to Use Your Research to Change the World

Julia Marcus, PhD MPH
Assistant Professor
Department of Population Medicine
Harvard Medical School

Charlotte Sutton
Asst. Managing Editor for Business
Health and Built Environment
The Philadelphia Inquirer


Luther-King Fasehun, MD, MSc
Sonia Grandi, PhD

The evolving COVID-19 pandemic and its accompanied unique vulnerabilities for mothers and children presents an opportunity to reexamine the important issue of health communication. How should we, as epidemiologists, better communicate our science to a mosaic of audience types? As stakeholders in pediatric and perinatal health, what are the important issues to be aware of and how can we improve the feedback loop of health communication. Our panel of speakers will explore these issues and present their personal experiences in health communication.

May 12, 2020 – 12pm Eastern Time

Online Journal Club

#SPER_ONLINE presents: “Father matters: Paternal effects on reproductive, perinatal, and pediatric outcomes”



Dr. Jens Peter Bonde, Professor
Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, University of Aarhus, Denmark


Dr. Sunni Mumford, Earl Stadtman Investigator, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, United States


Dr. Bola Grace, Research Fellow
Institute for Women’s Health, Faculty of Population Health Sciences, University College London, London, United Kingdom


Dr. Lauren Wise, Professor,
Department of Epidemiology, Boston University, United States

Please join us for a one-hour SPER webinar entitled “Father matters: Paternal influences on reproductive, perinatal, and pediatric outcomes.” The webinar will feature three expert panelists who will summarize the scientific evidence on the extent to which paternal exposures affect reproductive and offspring health outcomes. The panelists will also discuss ideas for increasing male engagement and participation in epidemiologic studies on reproductive health. Specifically, Dr. Jens Peter Bonde will present on “Paternal environmental exposure and offspring health,” Dr. Sunni Mumford will speak on “Paternal exposures and reproductive outcomes,” and Dr. Bola Grace will speak on “Male participation in reproductive health research: how can we better engage men in our studies?” The webinar will be moderated by Dr. Lauren Wise. Each speaker will present for about 12-15 minutes, and the final 15-20 minutes will be devoted to discussing challenges and controversies in the field, including recommendations for future research.

April 15, 2020 – 12pm EDT

Online Journal Club

“Estimating the obstetric co‐morbidity burden using administrative data: The impact of the pregnancy‐related assessment window”

This event is co-sponsored by the Society for Epidemiologic research.

February 25, 2020 – 12pm EDT

A Tweet is worth a thousand words: using Twitter for epidemiologic research, a joint webinar from two research groups

Part 1: Twitter-derived measures of sentiment towards minorities and birth outcomes.

Quynh Nguyen, PhD, MSPH is an Assistant Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of Maryland School of Public Health. Twitter handle: @quynhcnguyen

Interpersonal and structural racial bias are leading explanations for the continuing racial disparities in birth outcomes but research to confirm the role of racism has been hampered by challenges in both measuring racial bias and evaluating its impact. We use Twitter data to characterize area-level racial hostility and examine the associations with birth weight and preterm birth. In this webinar, we cover Twitter data collection and processing, sentiment analysis, and use of machine learning to classify tweets for racist content. Use of nontraditional data sources like Twitter has the potential to lead to greater tracking of area-level racial bias and to provide essential information needed to develop interventions to reduce the impact of racial bias on health.

Part 2: Discussions of Miscarriage and Preterm Birth on Twitter.

Nina Cesare is a Postdoctoral Associate at Boston University School of Public Health. Twitter handle: @nlcesare

Studies suggest that there is a trend towards expressing disenfranchised grief on social media. However, no large studies have investigated trends and discussions around miscarriages and preterm births on Twitter. Our presentation will review findings from a study analyzing disclosure of miscarriage and preterm birth on Twitter. First, we will show that there are multiple conversation topics related to miscarriages and preterm births. Second, we demonstrate that specific events usually drive surges in discussions. Lastly, in addition to grief, we illustrate that women who have experienced a miscarriage may use social media to share feelings towards insensitive comments by clinicians, friends and family; healthcare costs; legislatures affecting women’s health etc. Our findings are intended to inform both researchers utilizing digital data for healthcare experience research, as well as clinicians seeking to guide conversations about miscarriage and preterm birth and improve patient care.

December 11, 2019 – 12:00-1:00pm EDT
Dr. Jeanette A Stingone

Incorporating machine learning approaches into perinatal and pediatric epidemiology: opportunities and challenges

The use of machine learning, broadly defined as analytic techniques that fit models algorithmically by adapting to patterns in data, is growing in use across many areas within public health and epidemiology. This talk will provide attendees with broad exposure to the elements of machine learning and its practical applications within perinatal and pediatric epidemiology. The talk will include discussion of technical aspects of machine learning, as well as important ethical and scientific considerations of using data-driven methods for epidemiologic research. A number of examples from the scientific literature will be presented and a general listing of resources for additional information and training will be provided.

Jeanette A Stingone PhD MPH
Assistant Professor, Department of Epidemiology
Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University

Dr. Jeanette Stingone is an environmental epidemiologist with a focus on perinatal and pediatric health. She received her BS in Biomedical Engineering from Boston University, an MPH from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and a PhD in Epidemiology from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Now an Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, she conducts research that couples data science techniques with epidemiologic methods to address research questions in children’s environmental health. Supported by an NIEHS-funded career development award, her current research seeks to uncover the combinations of air pollutants associated with adverse child health outcomes within high dimensional public health data. Read more

Recommended Readings:

It is recommended to read the overview by Bi et al and then skimming the others, as Dr. Stingone will refer to these in the talk when providing examples.

1.  Overview of ML approaches: Bi Q, Goodman KE, Kaminsky J, Lessler J. What is machine learning? A Primer for the epidemiologist. AJE 2019; [epub ahead of print]

2.  Examples of implementation:

a.   Pan I, Nolan LB, Brown RR, Khan R et al Machine learning for social services: a study of prenatal case management in Illinois. AJPH 2017; 107:938-944.

b.   Chiavegatto Filho ADP, Dos Santos HG, do Nasciemento CF, Massa K, Kawachi I Overachieving municipalities in public health: a machine learning approach. Epidemiology 2018; 29:836-840.

c.   Das LT, Abramson EL, Stone AE, Kondrich JE, Kern LM, Grinspan ZM. Predicting frequent emergency department visits among children with asthma using HER data. Pediatr Pulmonol 2017; 52:880-890.