For almost 20 years, our research team has conducted epidemiologic studies of prenatal exposures to air pollution assessing its influence on adverse pregnancy outcomes and subsequent child development and health. The relatively short period during which the fetus develops in utero provides unique opportunities to study the influence of exposures that vary not only spatially but also over time (i.e. seasonally). The availability of complete birth registration data and dense ambient air monitoring system for criteria pollutants and air toxics provides unique opportunities and methodologic challenges for epidemiologic studies. This talk will present results from our studies of children born in California in the past 20 years in terms of the challenges presented by different exposure assessment methods (air monitoring data, land use regression modeling, personal monitoring) and multiple co-exposures, multiple adverse outcomes (birth defects, preterm births, low weight, ultrasound measures of fetal growth, and autism) and data sources (birth records, Dept. of Development Services records, investigator initiated surveys).
Speaker Biography - Beate Ritz, MD, PhD
Beate Ritz, MD, PhD
Professor and Chair, Department of Epidemiology, Fielding School of Public Health, UCLA
Dr. Beate Ritz joined the faculty of the School of Public Health at UCLA in 1995 and is currently Professor and Chair of the Epidemiology Department and holds co-appointments in the Environmental Health department at the UCLA School of Public Health and in Neurology, UCLA School of Medicine; she is a member of the Center for Occupational and Environmental Health (COEH), the Southern California Environmental Health Science Center (SCEHSC), and co-directs the NIEHS-funded UCLA Center for Gene-Environment Studies of Parkinson’s disease. She received her MD and a PhD in Medical Sociology from the University of Hamburg Germany in 1983 and 1987; she was a research fellow and resident at the Psychiatric University-Hospital in Hamburg from 1987-1989, and received doctoral training and a PhD degree in Epidemiology in 1995 from UCLA.
Her research focuses on the health effects of occupational and environmental toxins such as pesticides, ionizing radiation, and air pollution on chronic diseases including neurodegenerative disorders (Parkinson’s disease), cancers, and adverse birth outcomes and asthma. She previously investigated the causes of cancer in chemical toxin and radiation exposed workers and assessed the impact of ergonomic work-place factors on musculo-skeletal disorders. For the past decade, she studied the effects of air pollution on adverse birth outcomes as well as asthma in children in Southern California. In 2006, she received the Robert M Zweig Memorial award for outstanding achievement in air quality and medicine from the South Coast Air Quality Management District. She also spend the past 15 years investigating the long-term effects of pesticide exposures on Parkinson’s disease and cancers and is currently conducting a project to implement a Parkinson’s disease registry required by a new law in California.
In her research she uses geographic information system (GIS) modeling of environmental exposures including pesticide use and traffic related air pollution in California and investigates links between genetic susceptibility factors and environmental exposures in populations. She is directing and collaborating in a large number of federally (NIH, DOD), state (California Air Resources Board), and foundation (Michael J Fox Foundation) funded research projects.
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