2018 Annual Meeting

Applying Epidemiology Across the Lifespan to Improve Health Care,
Inform Health Policy and Enhance Population Health




Monday Plenary

Location: University of Cincinnati, Medical Sciences Building (MSB), Kresge Auditorium


The Role of Epidemiology in Precision Public Health


Chair: Lilliam Ambroggio, PhD, Assistant Professor, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Department of Pediatrics, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine

Description:There is national focus on precision public health and its place within the field of epidemiology. This session will highlight the role of national programs within the field of precision public health.

Abstract: The primary tenets of precision public health are to provide the right intervention to the right population at the right time. To execute these tenets there is a focus on better identification of populations, better behavioral and biological assessments of health and development and implementation of policy targeted to specific populations. In this session we will discuss national programs, All of Us Research Program and The Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) Program that demonstrate the tenets behind precision public health. Discussion surrounding the integration of precision public health and precision medicine will end the session.

Brief Biography:

Lilliam Ambroggio, PhD, MPH, is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics in the Divisions of Hospital Medicine and Biostatistics and Epidemiology at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC) and the University of Cincinnati. Dr. Ambroggio’s her research program aims to improve outcomes for children with serious infections by developing methods to facilitate accurate diagnosis and implementing these methods into clinical practice. Her current research endeavors focus on the development and application of novel diagnostic tools to determine the etiology of community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) in children.


Donna K. Arnett, MSPH, PhD, Dean and Professor, College of Public Health, University of Kentucky “Precision Medicine and Precision Public Health”

Description: Using epidemiology to find innovative ways to integrate the tools and fruits of precision medicine with traditional public health strategies to enhance population health.

Abstract: Broadly understood, precision medicine seeks to integrate the bounty of an individual’s omic data (e.g., genomic, epigenomic, transcriptomic, proteomic, metabolomic) with data from his or her environment and lifestyle (i.e., behaviors) to tailor medical treatment to that individual. Precision medicine is poised to add to—not replace—traditional public health strategies.  Epidemiologists will play a central role in developing and implementing precision public health. This work will occur in three domains: (1) Discovering and validating new markers of health and disease: These discoveries will allow increased stratification of populations and finer subgroup granularity for subsequent hypothesis testing and validation of markers. (2) Monitoring population health: Traditional surveillance will be augmented by omic surveillance and mobile technologies to more accurately measure environmental exposures. (3) Preventing disease and maintaining health: Precision medicine’s “targeted interventions” are useful not only in the service of disease treatment but apply equally well to programs designed to maintain health and prevent disease. Those seeking to develop precision public health face a number of challenges, including designing and executing sufficiently powered studies and insuring that novel (and potentially costly) precision-medicine interventions do not preferentially serve only higher socioeconomic strata and lead to new healthcare disparities.

Brief Biography:

Donna Arnett, PhD, MSPH, is Dean of the College of Public Health and Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Kentucky. Dr. Arnett received a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of South Florida and practiced critical care nursing for a number of years before earning her Master of Public Health degree from USF and then a PhD in epidemiology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Arnett has received continuous NIH research funding for more than 24 years. Her work has focused primarily on the genomics and epigenomics of cardiovascular disease and related phenotypes. Throughout her career, Dr. Arnett has also been active in cardiovascular disease prevention and health promotion, culminating with her tenure as president of the American Heart Association during 2012-2013.


Valerie Maholmes, PhD, CAS, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, “The Enrollment of Children in the NIH All of Us Research Program:  Opportunities to Apply Epidemiology Across the Lifespan to Improve Population Health”

Description: This presentation will elaborate on life course research enabled through the NIH All of Us Research Program and will discuss the ways in which enrolling children in the All of Us Research Program can help improve population health across the lifespan.  

Abstract:The mission of the All of Us Research Program is to accelerate health research and medical breakthroughs, enabling individualized prevention, treatment, and care for all of us.  The overall objective of the program is to build a robust research resource that can facilitate the exploration of biological, clinical, social, and environmental contributors to health and disease.  The enrollment of children in the All of Us Research program has the potential to facilitate life course research to help understand the onset and progression of disease, but also inform preventive interventions and treatments tailored for a particular disease susceptibility.  

Toward that end, this presentation will address how the Program proposes to enroll children to:  (a) enable science to disentangle the complex relationships that shape outcomes in childhood and subsequently into adulthood, (b) widen the lens on disease prevention and optimizing health across the lifespan, (c) utilize a family-based approach for enrolling children to help understand the complex relationships among genetics and the social and physical environments on pediatric health, (d) to enroll multiple individuals from the same family with known relationships to assess family functioning, family aggregation of disease and also transmission of health and disease to new families and (e) to help fill major gaps in our knowledge base by addressing a range of key questions about diseases that manifest in childhood, as well as the childhood antecedents of adult diseases.  

Brief Biography:

Valerie Maholmes, PhD, CAS, is the Chief of the newly formed Pediatric Trauma and Critical Illness Branch at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) at the National Institutes of Health. The Branch was established to encourage collaborative inquiry in basic, clinical, and translational research to promote discoveries, new treatment paradigms, and interventions that improve the quality of life for children and families who have experienced all forms trauma, life-threatening injury, or critical illness.  In her capacity as Branch Chief, Dr. Maholmes sets the vision and priorities for research that addresses the continuum of psychosocial, behavioral, biological, and physiological influences that affect child health outcomes in trauma, injury, and acute care. 

Before joining the NICHD, Dr. Maholmes was a faculty member at the Yale Child Study Center in the Yale School of Medicine and was named the Irving B. Harris Assistant Professor of Child Psychiatry in 1999.  In 2003, she was awarded the prestigious Science Policy Fellowship sponsored by the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) and the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences (AAAS). She earned a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Howard University and a sixth-year degree in School Psychology from Fairfield University.

Dr. Maholmes is the author of numerous peer reviewed journal articles, book chapters and edited book volumes.  Notably, Dr. Maholmes edited a text titled Applied Research in Child and Adolescent Development: A Practical Guide (Taylor and Francis, Psychology Press, 2010) which was based on an NICHD research training institute on child and adolescent development.  She also co-edited a comprehensive volume based on the NICHD supported Science and Ecology of Early Development (SEED) initiative which examined the impact of poverty on children’s development. This volume titled the Oxford Handbook of Child Development and Poverty was published by Oxford University Press in April 2012.  


Matthew Gillman, MD, SM, National Institute for Child Health and Human Development, “The Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) Program”

Description: The NIH Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) program supports observational and intervention studies to address crucial questions about effects of a broad range of early environmental exposures on child health and development.

Abstract: ECHO prioritizes five pediatric health outcome areas: pre, peri, and early postnatal outcomes, upper and lower airway conditions, obesity and its cardiometabolic consequences, the several domains of neurodevelopment, and positive child health. Together, ECHO’s observational cohorts, with an anticipated combined sample size exceeding 50,000 children from diverse populations across the United States, will leverage existing and new data from primary and secondary sources and biosamples. Amalgamating data from all of these studies into an ECHO-wide Cohort of that size allows investigation not only of less common early determinants and outcomes, but also how associations differ across sociodemographic, geographic, or other subgroups, a prerequisite for precision prevention. This data platform will initially be accessible to ECHO investigators and soon thereafter a national research resource available to the broader scientific community. On equal footing to the ECHO cohorts is the IDeA States Pediatric Clinical Trials Network, a component of ECHO that aims to enhance access to clinical trials among rural and medically underserved children. In both the observational and intervention components of ECHO, an essential objective is to maintain focus on solution-oriented research questions, that is, questions that drive programs, policies, and practices. In so doing, ECHO is poised to enhance the health of children for generations to come.

Brief Biography:

Matthew W. Gillman, MD, SM, joined the National Institutes of Health in 2016 as the inaugural director of the Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) Program.  Dr. Gillman came to NIH from Harvard Medical School, where he was a professor of population medicine and director of the Obesity Prevention Program, and Harvard School of Public Health, where he was a professor of nutrition. With background in the fields of internal medicine, pediatrics, and epidemiology, he has led cohort studies and randomized controlled trials and published widely in prevention of chronic disease across the life course.  Dr. Gillman won mentoring awards at Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health, and has served in several national and international leadership positions, including on the United States Preventive Services Task Force and for the International Society for Developmental Origins of Health and Disease, from which he won the David Barker Medal in 2017. His clinical experience includes primary care for children and adults, and preventive cardiology among children.

Go back to the Agenda