Epidemiology Research at the Connors Center

Janet Rich-Edwards, ScD, MPH

Maternal and Child Health Research
Dr. Janet Rich-Edwards has developed a program in maternal and child health research, an area to which she brings considerable expertise. She has been an investigator in the national Nurses’ Health Studies for over 10 years. In these cohorts, she has examined predictors of adult chronic disease, and is currently leading investigations of the predictors of pregnancy and fertility based on occupation and physical and emotional abuse.  She investigates factors underlying the race-related mortality gap, and is a founding investigator of Project Viva, a prenatal and early childhood study in the Boston area. Dr. Rich-Edwards recently completed a five-year NIH R01 study on Violence, Genes and Cardiovascular Disease in Women, and has continued funding from the CDC to support work investigating the various interplays between shift work, reproductive health, and obesity.

Cardiovascular and reproductive health
Dr. Rich-Edwards is also a leading researcher in the emerging field investigating the links between cardiovascular and reproductive health. She is currently funded by the American Heart Association to help further elucidate how the commons complications of pregnancy, such as preeclampsia, preterm birth, gestational diabetes, and low birthweight, can increase a woman’s risk of developing cardiovascular disease. The exact mechanism behind this interaction is not known, though vascular dysfunction is likely involved. To this end, Dr. Rich-Edwards has obtained funding from the Society for Women’s Health Research for a study which utilizes arterial tonometry to investigate vascular function before, during, and after pregnancy, and seeing how this function might be different in the preeclamptic women. Finally, Dr. Rich-Edwards and Dr. Ellen Seely were recently awarded a PCORI contract to test the efficacy of a online lifestyle intervention in recently post-partum women whose developed preeclampsia during their pregnancy. The intervention seeks to help these high-risk population women learn how to manage and reduce their cardiovascular risk factors before they develop disease.

Global work and Vitamin D 
Dr. Rich-Edwards is also active in global health research. She received a two-year foundation grant funding a cohort study in Mongolia of the impact of vitamin D and milk consumption on childhood growth and development. This critical work improved vitamin D status among children drinking fortified milk, and Mongolia now offers Vitamin D fortified milk on shelves for the first time. She has recently obtained additional funding to complete a dosing study of Vitamin D in Mongolian pregnant women, a population where levels are often critically low.

Dr. Rich-Edwards is also greatly involved in the Brigham and Women’s, Harvard, and Boston communities. As Director of Developmental Epidemiology and research faculty in the Global Women’s Health Fellowship, she has mentored many trainees and postdoctoral fellows, many of whom have gone on to successful faculty positions. She is the co-director of the Reproductive, Perinatal, and Pediatric Epidemiology track at Harvard School of Public Health and teaches an advanced Reproductive Epidemiology seminar. Dr. Rich-Edwards is Co-Director of the science program of Academic Ventures at the Radcliffe Institute for Advance Study.

Selected Publications:

  1. Rich-Edwards JW, Fraser A, Lawlor DA, Catov JM. Pregnancy characteristics and women's future cardiovascular health: an underused opportunity to improve women's health? Epidemiologic Reviews. 2014;36(1):57-70.
  2. Ganmaa D, Holick MF, Rich-Edwards JW, Frazier LA, Davaalkham D, Ninjin B, Janes C, Hoover RN, Troisi R. Vitamin D deficiency in reproductive age Mongolian women: A cross sectional study. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2014 Jan; 139:1-6.
  3. Rich-Edwards JW, Mason S, Rexrode K, Spiegelman D, Hibert E, Kawachi I, Jun HJ, Wright RJ. Physical and sexual abuse in childhood as predictors of early onset cardiovascular events in women. Circulation 2012; 126: 920-7
  4. Mason S, Wright RJ, Hibert EN, Spiegelman D, Forman J, Rich-Edwards JW. Intimate partner violence and incidence of hypertension in women. Ann Epidemiol 2012;22:562-7.
  5. Ertel KA, James-Todd T, Kleinman K, Krieger N, Gillman M, Wright R, Rich-Edwards J. Racial discrimination and depressive symptoms among pregnant black and African American women in the United States. Annals of Epidemiology 2012; S1047-2797(12)00391-2.
  6. Camargo CA Jr, Ganmaa D, Frazier AL, Kirchberg FF, Stuart JJ, Kleinman K, Sumberzul N, Rich-Edwards JW. Randomized trial of vitamin D supplementation and acute respiratory infection in Mongolia. Pediatrics 2012 Sep; 130(3):e561-7.
  7. Rich-Edwards JW, McElrath TF, Karumanchi A, Seely EW. Breathing life into the lifecourse approach:  pregnancy history and cardiovascular disease in women. Hypertension 2010; 56:331-4.
  8. Rich-Edwards JW. Reproductive health as a sentinel of chronic disease in women. Women’s Health 2009;5:101-105.
  9. Stuebe AM, Michels KB, Willett WC, Manson JE, Rexrode R, Rich-Edwards JW. Duration of lactation and incidence of myocardial infarction in middle to late adulthood. Am J Ob Gyn 2009; 200(2):138e1-138e8.
  10. Stuebe AM, Rich-Edwards JW, Willett WC, Manson JE, Michels KB. Duration of lactation and incidence of type 2 diabetes. JAMA. 2005;294(20):2601-10
  11. Rich-Edwards JW, Stampfer MJ, Manson JE, Rosner B, Hankinson SE, Colditz GA, Willett WC, Hennekens CH. Birth weight and risk of cardiovascular disease in a cohort of women followed up since 1976. BMJ. 1997;315(7105):396-400

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