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International Health

September 17, 2018

Joanne Katz receives NICHD funding to investigate risk factors for adverse birth outcomes in rural Nepal

KatzDr. Joanne Katz, a professor and associate chair of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, received an $822,000 grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (Grant # R01HD092411) to investigate risk factors for adverse birth outcomes in rural Nepal. Her research will identify and prioritize the risk factors that potentially can be modified though public health interventions. The results will help governments and organizations design more effective programs and help reduce health disparities in low-resource environments by identifying the most effective interventions for poor and rural populations.

Katz and her research team will conduct an analysis of 45,000 pregnancies among married women of reproductive age from four population-based randomized controlled trials conducted in the southern plains of rural Nepal between 2010 and 2016. They will identify and prioritize modifiable risk factors for stillbirths, preterm and/or small-for-gestational age birth, and early and late neonatal mortality using detailed monthly data from late first trimester through labor and delivery. The results will provide crucial evidence to support design choices for intervention studies in rural Nepal and comparable settings around the world.

Katz is an epidemiologist and biostatistician who has devoted her career to the reduction of mortality and morbidity in vulnerable and disadvantaged populations in the US and abroad. Her research focuses on macro- and micronutrient deficiencies, maternal, neonatal and child health, and ophthalmic epidemiology and blindness prevention. In 2016 she was inducted into the Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame for her extraordinary contributions to the field of public health globally and to the health and vision of underserved Maryland and Baltimore City children and the elderly.

Co-investigators on the grant include Drs. Robert Black, Luke Mullany, James Tielsch, and Scott Zeger.