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Welcome to the Division of Epidemiology at UC San Diego

Our division has a long history of conducting clinical research that has had a major worldwide impact in identifying important risk factors for common health problems including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis. Our faculty expertise ranges across a lifespan from those with specialization in peri-natal epidemiology to those who focus on age-related issues.


Dr. Elizabeth Barrett-Connor was awarded the Endocrine Society’s 2018 Fred Conrad Koch Lifetime Achievement Award

The Society’s highest honor, this annual award recognizes lifetime achievements and exceptional contributions to the field of endocrinology. As a Distinguished Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine and Department of Internal Medicine, Barrett-Connor is the first to show that fasting glucose is a heart disease risk factor, that isolated post challenge hyperglycemia is more common and a stronger heart disease risk factor than fasting hyperglycemia, and that proinsulin is a stronger heart disease risk factor than serum insulin. 2018

Society for Epidemiologic Research (SER) 2018 Annual Meeting

Public Health JDP student Chelsea Obrochta won best poster award: Ethnic Disparities in the Receipt of Guideline Concordant Treatment in Colorectal Cancer Patients, with Causal Mediation Analysis

Tarik Benmarhnia, PhD, Heather Pines, MPH, PhD
Oral Presentation
Teaching reproducibility in epidemiology: A new course for future epidemiologists

Caroline Thompson, PhD
Oral Presentation
The balanced case-crossover design

Sara McElroy, Public Health JDP student
Oral Presentation
Decomposition of maternal education and wealth inequalities in child mortality and access to safe water and sanitation and hygiene in Ethiopia

Paige Sheridan, Public Health JDP student
Oral Presentation
Air pollution and preterm birth in California: assessment of critical exposure windows

Sindana D. Ilango, Public Health JDP student
The role of cardiovascular disease in the relationship between chronic exposure to air pollution and dementia

Chelsea Obrochta
Best Poster Awardee, Chelsea Obrochta 

New Centers

Women's Health Center of Excellence

The Department of Family Medicine and Public Health has launched a new Center of Excellence in Women's Health.  The Department has been fortunate to recruit an outstanding leader for this center, Dr. Andrea La Croix, one of the principal investigators of the Women’s Health Initiative Study and former Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Washington and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Andrea has become a new member of the Division of Epidemiology.

The Center of Excellence’s mission is broad and includes mandates to improve women’s health across a lifespan ranging from reproductive and gynecologic issues to chronic diseases of aging. Of particular interest will be to study conditions where there are significant biological differences between the sexes in rates of susceptibility, symptoms and response to treatment.

Women's Health Center of Excellence Meetings: 


"Top Stories in Women's Health During 2019"

Cynthia Stuenkel, MD

Christina Chambers, PhD

Andrea LaCroix, PhD

11:30 AM – 1:00 PM
BRF 2-2A03


"Muscles and Mechanisms of Functional Decline in Older Adults: An Informal Discussion with Dr. Cummings"

Steven R. Cummings, MD

11:30 AM – 1:00 PM
MET 209


"Hot Topics in Healthy Aging, Where do we go from here? An Informal Discussion with Dr. Kritchevsky"

Stephen B. Kritchevsky, PhD

11:30 AM – 1:00 PM

​Featured Program

Rancho Bernardo Study

History: In 1971, the community of Rancho Bernardo was less than a decade old, had about 10,000 residents and 6,629 were older than 30 years of age and agreed to participate in a project named the Rancho Bernardo Heart and Chronic Disease Study. More than 40 years later, there are about 1,800 participants who continue to be followed by annual mailed questionnaires.

Featured Individual

ruth-thumb.jpgRuth M. Heifetz is a Senior Lecturer at in the Division of Epidemiology in the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health. In addition to teaching at UCSD's School of Medicine, she is a founding member of Environmental Health Coalition. Besides being a physician, she is a humanitarian. Ruth was inducted into the San Diego County’s Hall of Fame of the Women’s History Museum in 2005 as a trailblazer for occupational health and environmental justice. For more than 30 years, she has fought for the health of families exposed to toxic materials in their communities and workplaces. Preventing harm has always been her priority, from promoting pesticide reduction policies to fighting for the cleanup of San Diego Bay to educating women about the impacts of toxic chemicals.