Janet Rich-Edwards, ScD, MPH, is Director of Developmental Epidemiology at the Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender Biology at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH), Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School (HMS) and Associate Professor of Epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Dr. Rich-Edwards is leading the development of a family cohort/population database of sociodemographic information, medical history and biologic samples based on the 9,000 births at BWH each year, which will serve as an important resource for scientists across BWH and HMS. Her research focuses on determinants of women’s reproductive health across the lifecourse, as well as prenatal and childhood factors that affect the risk of developing chronic disease in adulthood.
Dr. Janet Rich-Edwards also continues to develop a program in epidemiology research related to maternal and child health, an area to which she brings considerable expertise and grant funding. She is an investigator in the national Nurses’ Health Studies, where 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 has been funded for a five-year NIH R01 study on Violence, Genes and Cardiovascular Disease in Women, and a four-year CDC/NIOSH contract to launch a new Nurses’ Health Study cohort, all of which are ongoing.
Additionally, Dr. Rich-Edwards received a two-year foundation grant to start a cohort study in Mongolia of the impact of vitamin D and milk consumption on childhood growth and development. This international work studying the impact of Vitamin D showed dramatic growth, raised growth hormone levels, and improved vitamin D status among children drinking fortified milk. Dr. Rich-Edwards launched a controlled intervention trial to examine the impact of vitamin D supplements and fortified milk on several aspects of child health. The goal is to produce actionable research for the Mongolian Ministries of Health and Education to inform school lunch programs and national nutrition policy, which links with the division’s initiative in Global Women’s Health.
Finally, Dr. Rich-Edwards continues to lead efforts to develop the next stage of research to explore the ways in which facets of women’s reproductive health may serve as indicators for a woman’s future risk of cardiovascular disease. Convening a two-day exploratory seminar at Radcliffe with nationally-renowned leaders in the field, this group is exploring evidence that physiologic stress of pregnancy seems to reveal sub-clinical cardiovascular risk factors.
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